I must admit that I have not had the inspiration to blog in recent months.
However, I have just seen the good news that the Welsh Assembly's Environment Minister, John Griffiths has decided that the proposed badger cull will now NOT go ahead and that a five-year vaccination programme will start in the intensive action area - the TB hotspot in north Pembrokeshire where the cull was due to take place.
I see that the Minister is already under attack and Elin Jones, the former Plaid Minister who support the cull when she was Rural Affairs Minister is reported as saying "Farmers will now have to decide how best to protect their cattle and I for one would not blame them for anything they do.". I take it to infer that if farmers take independent action and kill badgers, she wouldn't blame them. That of course, would be illegal and a responsible politician should not be encouraging any possible breaking of the law.
Mr Griffiths was quoted as saying "At present I am not satisfied that a cull of badgers would be necessary to bring about a substantial reduction in cases of TB in cattle". I would like to make it clear that I am TOTALLY understanding of the farmer's plight and TOTALLY share their concern at the effect Bovine TB has on their cattle and livelyhood , but I have come to the same conclusion as the Minister, that a cull will not eradicate bovine TB. The Irish Republic have had culls for several years and not resolved the problem.
Labour has dithered for for a long time over what action should be taken. Whilst Plaid and the Conservatives have tended to favour a cull.
The shame of the whole saga is that its meant years have been wasted and the vaccination programme could have been started years ago. Now please get on with it. It will also mean that the testing of cattle will still have to continue, but the large scale slaughter of all the badgers will not necessarily have eradicated Bovine TB. We will have to accept that it will continue and we will have to take measures to keep it to a minimum.
Finally, what right does man have to kill all badgers on the basis that a domesticated animal (cattle) has more rights than an animal that lives in the wild?
In conclusion, I now hope that Ministers will get on with the vaccination programme and that in time, results will show that Bovine TB is finally under control. I am on the side of the farmers, but also support the rights of the badgers.