Former farm minister Jim Paice remains under special security arrangements because of the controversy surrounding the government’s badger culling policy.
Threats from animal rights extremists mean Sir Jim continues to be on a list of government ministers and civil servants subject to special protection – despite leaving office in early September, he told the House of Commons last Thursday (25 October).
He told MPs: “Ministers and officials are all under special security arrangements because of the threats from a small minority of opponents. None of us wants any of that. If there were a better way, we would adopt it.”
The government had little choice but to proceed with a cull if it was to address the issue of disease in badgers, said Sir Jim.
“There are only two ways of proceeding. Either we vaccinate them – I shall come back to that – or we have to cull them.
“No minister from any political party wanted to court the unpopularity – or face the security challenge – of pressing ahead with a badger cull.
“To pretend that we are somehow not interested in vaccines is, I have to say, absurd.”
A licensed injectable badger vaccine was available and the government was making some money available where people wanted to use it, said Sir Jim. But the costs of rolling it out on a national scale were so incredible that it was wrong to suggest it as a panacea.
Keep up with the latest on the badger cull