Bill Wiggin MP spoke yesterday in the Westminster Hall debate on badger culling. Bill spoke in support of the Governments policy to combat bovine TB as well as protecting healthy badger populations by culling infected badgers.
Bill Wiggin (North Herefordshire) (Con): “I enjoyed listening to the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (Dr Monaghan), but he is about five years behind the times. To suggest that culling does not work and vaccination would be a substitute is unfair and unfortunate, given the evidence provided by my hon. Friend the Member for Totnes (Dr Wollaston).
The reason why we are all here is that bovine TB is caused by a species-jumping bacterium, and it affects people. That is why this is such an important subject, and it is no good saying that it is all about badgers. The Government’s record on it is superb. By identifying the edge areas, they have made it clear that a huge part of our country has badgers with no infection. There is a clear, healthy population of badgers, and they need to be protected from the badgers in my constituency, which have a high incidence of infection. If we lose sight of that, we do no favours to the people who love badgers or to the badgers that are not infected. We all know the reason why TB is a horrible disease, because the hon. Member for South Antrim (Danny Kinahan), with his Chital deer, reminded us. These animals are our pets that we care about and that we like to see, and they need to be protected. By doing nothing we are being irresponsible and letting down both healthy badgers and the people whose livelihoods depend on cattle farming.
I have nothing but praise for my hon. Friend the Minister; he is doing what is right by protecting healthy badgers. We need to continue to look at the evidence, and I hope that the pilot schemes will start to publish successful evidence soon. During the recess I read that the incidence of outbreaks in Wales and in the edge areas where vaccines are being trialled has actually gone up, which is a disaster for those of us who want vaccines to work, but in among that gloom is a little sparkle of hope to all of those who voted to leave the EU, because when we are out we will potentially be allowed to vaccinate our cattle, which is illegal in the EU at the moment.”
North Herefordshire MP Bill Wiggin, a reliable supporter of farming spoke for those people whose livelihoods depend on cattle farming. “As a Hereford cattle breeder I go through the same fears every time my herd is tested. The roll out of the cull is crucial to protect all uninflected animals – both cattle and badgers.”