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Amber Rudd MP Fails to Oppose Badger Cull

The Conservative MP for Hastings and Rye, Amber Rudd, who is my Parliamentary representative, writes to me in support of the government’s badger cull.

In response to a telephone call to her Hastings office yesterday morning, I asked for an emailed statement as soon as possible on Ms Rudd’s personal position on the badger cull in advance of tomorrow’s Commons debate. I said I would share her response.

Click on the link below to read the letter.

Amber Rudd Corres Badger cull debate 3 June 2013

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  1. Rachael
    June 4th, 2013 at 13:59 | #1

    Hi Kim,

    I was at the anti-cull march in London on Saturday (3,000-4,000 people trying to make our voices heard and, seemingly being ignored). I have written to my MP, Lynne Featherstone who responded with the following:

    Thank you very much for getting in touch with me regarding the trials of badger culls scheduled to take place in Gloucestershire and Somerset. There are strong views on both sides of this debate.

    A cull is never a desirable option – but in the past it has proved necessary to prevent the spread of dangerous diseases like Foot and Mouth. In light of the spread of bovine TB (bTB), the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) has again felt it necessary to consider a cull. These decisions are never taken lightly, and are always subject to evidence and strong assurances that such action is necessary.

    Initially, Defra had planned a cull in October. That was postponed, as the Department discovered that the farmer-led companies performing the trials were not resourced enough to provide reliable scientific data. We must not cull badgers unnecessarily, and I’m glad that Defra took decisive action to postpone.

    Since then, Defra have gathered more evidence and expert advice. They are sure that badgers spread bTB to cattle, and are confident that culling badgers reduces the level of infection in cattle herds – the Randomised Badger Culling Trial showed that culling reduces incidences of bTB by 31.5%.

    They have therefore taken the difficult decision to hold more trials this month on selected test areas. After this, a panel of independent experts will evaluate the impact of the culls before reporting back to the Government.

    Only then will a decision be made on rolling out trials more widely. In the meantime, the Government remains committed to developing an effective vaccine. Unfortunately, no such vaccine currently exists.

    This is a divisive issue. Some people are calling for a mass cull of badgers, and others call for no cull at all. Defra is taking the approach of trailing culls and closely monitoring the results, in order to find the best way to deal with the dangerous problem of bTB. With all things considered, and in light of the current evidence, I do feel this approach is a measured one.

    Thank you for getting in touch with me about this. I will be sure to pass your views on to the Secretary of State at Defra, and keep you updated with any developments.

    Kind regards,

    Lynne Featherstone
    Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green

    I have responded with more information and data but I’m not very hopeful of changing her mind. The whole thing distresses me utterly (I’m following the sabs on twitter and everytime there’s an alert I feel sick). The killing of one animal in order to ensure that the maximum number of another animal can be killed/exploited. What kind of world do we live in? There are massively more cattle deaths from mastitis, lameness and infertility (into the hundreds of thousands) and these can be decreased simply by better animal husbandry and more investment in animal welfare. If the farmers want to stop their precious herd from dying unnecessarily sort out these things first! Instead they ignore this and go for something which has actually decreased in the past year (Defra’s figures) and involves the maximum amount of violence. How does this make sense?

    Only positive in all of this – after 20 years as a vegetarian and the past 12 as a vegan I have finally discovered my strength. I will not quietly live my vegan life while letting these atrocities carry on unchecked. Now – I’m going to start fighting for those that cannot fight for themselves.

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