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Backbench Business — Badger Cull

Part of Royal Assent – in the House of Commons at 4:45 pm on 13th March 2014.

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Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 4:45 pm, 13th March 2014

I will not give way. I want to carry on and make this point, because there were lots of issues raised. If Members do not accept that international comparisons are relevant, I say: look at the historical comparisons. We got on top of TB in the 1960s and ’70s by pursuing a badger cull strategy. Early attempts through measures such as the clean ring strategy pursued by Dunnet in the late ’80s had some success. The RBCTs that the previous Government ran also showed a 16% reduction in the disease.

I want to say a little about vaccination, because we recognise that it can provide some benefits. It can pass on some immunity to cubs, and can cause less disturbance to the badger population, but there are difficulties with it. The badgers have to be successfully trapped and vaccinated; St IvesAndrew George has talked to me about this—has managed to catch only seven in the past year. We should recognise that no vaccine is 100% effective; the evidence is that it is roughly 60% effective.