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Backbench Business — Badger Cull

Part of Royal Assent – in the House of Commons at 1:12 pm on 13th March 2014.

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Photo of Angela Smith Angela Smith Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons 1:12 pm, 13th March 2014

Of course I will, Madam Deputy Speaker.

It must be remembered that cattle testing and movement is an important part of all this. Vaccination, cattle movement and testing, and biosecurity make up the package of measures that we need in order to move forward. I am sure that other Members will refer to some of the details.

In concluding, I want to refer to the Bow Group report, an excellent piece of work from the right of the political spectrum. We have the spectacle of a Labour MP recommending a Tory report, but it is an excellent report—thorough, sensible, and evidence-based. It has a number of recommendations, all of which are sensible. I want to focus quickly on three key recommendations. The report recommends that farmers no longer be allowed to move their herds from one of their farms to another without pre-movement testing. That is an important point, because currently they are allowed to do so. They should not be allowed to move their herds to agricultural shows or common land without pre-movement testing.

The report recommends more testing and increased use of the gamma interferon test, alongside the currently used test. I understand that the Government have moved on all this, but the report makes it clear that more needs to be done. Importantly, it recommends field trials of cattle vaccine, as recommended by the European Commissioner only last November, but so far we have heard nothing from DEFRA on when it will move ahead with that.

The Commons has an opportunity today to move on the issue and forge a new consensus. We should build on initiatives already taken by DEFRA on cattle movement and testing, and on biosecurity; and we should carry out vaccination on a comprehensive scale, and drop the culling.