The Tenant Farmers Association has condemned DEFRA’s refusal to sanction a badger cull as a snub to hard-working farm families who will be devastated by the government’s lack of concern for their future.
TFA national chairman, Greg Bliss said “The decision not to tackle the problem of TB in badgers appears to have been made as a spineless attempt to stop an unpopular government’s ratings from declining further in the eyes of the public.
“However, in so doing, this government, as in so many other ways, has turned its back on hard-working families. I represent those in the farming community who do not own the land they farm or the houses they live in.
“Their livelihood is tied up in their livestock and it seems to us that the government cares not a jot if they lose this livelihood because they lose their animals to TB”.
Mr Bliss said the Kreb’s trial concluded that infected badgers are a significant contributor to the spread of bovine TB and that this contribution can be significantly diminished through a widespread, long term and intensive cull of infected badgers.
“The message from the scientific research is unpalatable but it cannot be ignored. The farming community wants healthy badgers and healthy cattle and therefore we cannot allow the disease of TB to remain endemic in our countryside.
“We elect governments to make difficult decisions based on sound science. On this occasion, the government is simply covering its own back by ducking the issue,” said Mr Bliss.
Speaking at the Great Yorkshire Show, Mr Bliss said the government’s decision showed its ambivalence towards the suffering of farming families.
DEFRA said that it wanted to see a greater degree of cost sharing as a means to improve animal health and welfare delivery in Great Britain.
However, it was clear to the TFA that the government’s drive to pass further costs onto the industry were a legacy of its poor management of the 2001 foot and mouth disease outbreak and its inability to deal sensibly with the curse of bovine TB.
“Trust between the Government and industry has gone and the TFA has no choice but to disengage from this process and we will be consulting our members on what action we should be taking next,” said Mr Bliss.