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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

We would love to know. We would love to know what the Government think of the report, but we have not seen it yet.

I have always preferred vaccination, and I believe that it should be targeted at healthy badger populations where the chance of a badger being infected is low but likely to increase due to their proximity to infected populations. This means vaccinating healthy badgers working inwards, geographically, towards the centre of infection. Professor Woodruff gives an excellent speech on the benefits of an immune population and how we can achieve that. This should also apply to cattle, and I am more than willing to do everything possible to help the Government achieve cattle vaccination.

There are endless arguments to suggest that vaccination is better than culling. I am more than willing to accept those arguments, but they cannot apply unless they apply to both species. We need to redouble our efforts to prevent damage to our export markets from vaccinating cattle. It is not widely known that meat from infected cows showing less than one lesion already makes its way into the food chain. It is also the case that milk from an infected cow is safe to drink after it has been pasteurised. Therefore, there is no reason why pasteurised milk and vet-inspected meat should not be available for export from vaccinated cattle. I think the House may find that it already is.

After the pathetic European response to the horsemeat scandal, I do not believe that the European Union has a strong case to ban our exports. The response from the European Commission is unhelpful and is another reason why, if for no other, we should leave the EU. I hope the Secretary of State will join me in campaigning to leave the European Union and one of the benefits will be that we can vaccinate our cattle.

If we are going to base our decisions on science, we should ensure that the scientists have been heard.