I am disappointed that the Minister did not give way at the end. I think it is very unfair to characterise the situation as being the fault of the previous Labour Government. Let us remember that it was the previous Labour Government who—rather controversially—actually backed the randomised badger cull tests from which the conclusion was drawn that the way to tackle bovine TB was not through a badger cull.
I repeat that the body of evidence from the scientists involved in the randomised badger cull tests showed that carrying on with the badger cull could have made matters worse. We have seen over the last five years of this horrific cull, which continues, that, even putting the appalling cruelty to one side, it is simply not working. It is all very well for the Minister to get up and say that various peer-reviewed reports have implied that it has worked, but the evidence speaks for itself. How can the Minister stand there and say that it has worked when the proportion of TB in cattle herds is virtually the same as at the start of the cull, and when it has even spread to other areas?
The Government are looking in the wrong direction. I heard what the Minister said, but I implore him to go back and look again at pursuing a different route, at the cattle movements, at the fraud that takes place, at biosecurity and at doing proper testing and supporting farmers in doing so, rather than expecting them to stump up for the bill. This is an appalling state of affairs. I repeat that there is no scientific evidence to support the Government’s position. Public opinion is overwhelmingly opposed to the badger cull, which does not serve the farming community in any way, shape or form and certainly does not serve the interests of wildlife in our country. I hope that the Minister will reflect on the comments made and adopt a more sensible and humane approach to the bovine TB situation in this country.
Question put and agreed to.
That this House
has considered the badger cull.