On Tuesday Tracey Crouch raised the following point (annotated whilst watching I-player)
As a member on this side of the house who is against the cull can I welcome the Secretary of State's announcement today but I have to say Mr Speaker it was upsetting to see members opposite laughing throughout the Secretary of state's announcement when Bovine TB has such a devestating effect on our farmers. However will the Secretary of state accept that the proposed cull will reduce BTB by 16% and if anything spread and increas the disease across the UK and will he instead reconsider his decission to start the cull next year and instead focus all of his efforts on developing and approving a cattle vacination as soon as possible?
The response was a bit of a brush off but I will disect that afterwards. (Copied from Hansard)
I am glad I have a few months to try and swing my hon. Friend round to my point of view, and I am sorry that she does not support it at the moment. I would not dismiss a 16% reduction in bovine TB in the light of a horrendous annual increase—we are looking at a 25% increase in the disease in the outlying areas. My hon. Friend, and Opposition Members, keep sniffing at the figure of 16% but, as one member of the farming community said, they would not sniff at a wage increase of 16% and it is a significant number. The Government believe that we will arrest the dramatic increase in the disease, and start to bring it down.
So what is he saying?
Basically sticking to his guns and dismissing what Tracey and indeed opposition MPs were saying against the cull.
The debate continued Thursday with Tracey again coming out against the Cull. Her final comment hits the nail firmly on the head;
Reactive culling does not work. It will spread the disease—evidence suggests that it may even increase the incidence of the disease. So it is clear that the Government need to listen to the scientists and rethink their strategy.
Her point, again very well made. There does appear to be holes in the debate and that in my opinion should not have got this far.
There is always that odd dycotomy of people who think that the city folk do not understand the Countryside or the rural ways or that they get attached to fuzzy creatures being cute but this is not the case. As a former rural lad, (I grew up in Marden just off the Weald - I did notice Helen Grant, Maidstone & Weald's MP, who lives in the same village, was absent on Tuesday) I never understood the pros of fox hunting or reactive culling. On top of that are the statistics which are in Tracey's section of Hansard. If the majority of the disease is being spread from cattle to cattle and contracted from lots of other wildlife how can you just target the badger population? Citing other examples from around the world where similar measure had been tried and failed also showed the futility of the measure. It was clearly a knee jerk reaction that was short-termist and clearly the money would be better spent on vaccination and further research. After all, this isn't the dark ages.
Just like the 155 Bus route this is a shining example of campaigners and activists changing representatives mind's, in the case of Tracey, and have an impact on national Politics.
This is what Politics should be about and am genuinely pleased.