Bill has delivered a speech defending the Government’s policy of introducing a pilot scheme to cull badgers and championing vaccination as a viable tool in the fight against bovine TB.

Speaking on Thursday 25th October he emphasised that ‘the status quo is not working’. Rising numbers of reactors represented a tragedy for farmers, cattle and wildlife alike.

Any cull however should ‘be done to a level that commands scientific respect, within hard boundaries and in a specifically large area’.

Bill also went on to suggest that, despite EU directive 78/52/EEC article 13  – which currently prohibits cattle vaccination, the Government should be seeking permission to trial vaccination in areas that have not been selected for other pilots.

The debate took place following a request from Parliament’s Backbench Business Committee.

Earlier in the week Environment Secretary Owen Paterson announced that the NFU had asked him to postpone two planned pilot culls until summer 2013.

DEFRA was acting in response to a letter from the organisation’s president, Peter Kendall, stating that farmers could no longer be confident of removing the required minimum 70 per cent of badgers from West Somerset and West Gloucestershire within the current timeframe.