26 October 2012
The Government suffered an embarrassing defeat last night over its controversial plans to cull badgers as MPs voted for the policy to be scrapped in a debate led by Green MP.
Green Party Animal Spokesperson Caroline Allen supporting the lobby of Parliament
before the vote (Image: Caroline Allen)
Green MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas had tabled a motion calling on the Government to "stop the cull and implement a more sustainable and humane solution" of vaccinating against TB, and improved testing for the disease.
MPs from all three main parties signed up to it, and a six-hour debate was granted by the Backbench Business Committee after more than 160,000 people put their names to an e-petition.
On the day before the vote, Green Party members joined the League Against Cruel Sports and other animal rights groups in a lobby of Parliament. Campaigners, sporting badger masks and supported on their way to Parliament by the "Artful Badgers" dance group, went to their MPs to encourage as many as possible to vote to stop the cull.
In the final non-binding vote yesterday, the majority of MPs backed the motion, with 147 voting for and only 28 against.
The Government confirmed last July that it would introduce a major cull of British badgers in an attempt to control the spread of bovine TB in cattle – despite a weight of scientific evidence exposing the method as ineffective.
It announced on Tuesday that it planned to delay the cull pilot until 2013.
Caroline Lucas MP said:
"This is a fantastic result for all of those who have campaigned tirelessly against the Government’s ill-judged, unscientific and deeply unpopular badger cull policy.
“Bovine TB is an incredibly serious problem which causes real hardship and distress for farmers, so it’s crucial that Ministers put in place the most effective evidence-based policy to tackle it.
“Scientists are queuing up to state categorically that badger culling is not the solution. We don't need any more trials or pilots when such a wealth of evidence already exists.
“The message to the Government from MPs and from the public is now clear: a postponement of the badger cull isn’t enough – this discredited policy must be stopped for good.
“Rather than cruel and ineffective mass culling, restrictions on cattle movement and contact between badgers and cattle should be given high priority, in addition to far greater efforts to introduce a vaccination programme and improve testing.”