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Backbench Business — Badger Cull

Part of Royal Assent – in the House of Commons at 1:45 pm on 13th March 2014.

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Photo of Bill Wiggin Bill Wiggin Conservative, North Herefordshire 1:45 pm, 13th March 2014

I am grateful to you for your judgment, Madam Deputy Speaker. Unlike the shadow Minister, I do not have access to the Secretary of State’s desk. Even if he has the report, I have not seen it and neither have my hon. Friends. Even if it is available today, we should have read it before we had the debate.

Let me return to the core of the debate, which is science and whether the Government have paid sufficient attention to the scientific detail and acted accordingly. It is wrong in every way to base an argument on a leaked report before its conclusions are in the public domain. Whatever our view, particularly if we are unsure about badger culling, we should take some comfort in knowing that before the Government roll out the policy across the country they test it with pilot schemes. Further comfort should be taken from the fact that they ensure that effectiveness and humaneness are the key factors that are tested.

We might find it hard to know without references from scientists whether a badger dies quickly or slowly when hit by a bullet. We might want to know whether the number of badgers culled is sufficient to prevent the spread of bovine TB. We cannot know these things unless the experts have published their reports, yet we are discussing the issue without the report. I can see the shadow Minister, Huw Irranca-Davies, waving bits of paper at me, but I want the constituents we all represent to have the same information as everybody in this House when we comment on this.