|Philip dressed as badger|
As many will know the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust runs a badger vaccination programme within the district in a bid to tackle the spread of bovine TB. The motion was to request that the authority matches funding of up to £12,500 for the programme to continue. See SNJ report here.
I have met farmers and vets over the years and understand the distress that the continuing problem of TB in cattle is causing to farmers. However the cull is just plain nonsense as many councillors argued on the evening. The Randomised Badger-Culling Trial concluded, the focus of funding and research should be cattle-based measures to control TB, and funding for badger vaccination trials. A cull is cruel, unethical and unscientific. Greens have been totally against it – indeed Natalie Bennett, the Green Party leader has been on badger patrols in cull areas looking for wounded and dead badgers.
In the past I have in the past dressed as a badger on Stroud High Street to collect signatures for a petition to stop a cull. You therefore might think I would leap to support this motion – I didn’t leap. Is it really the business of this District council to be supporting such measures?
Well after thought I concluded that it is. We talk lots in this Council about regeneration and wanting to support local businesses - and indeed have done in a huge variety of ways like the Buy Local scheme to support for food projects. Well here is an opportunity to support our local farmers. At the meeting this was a point well made by other councillors.
In the end 22 councillors supported it, while 15 councillors voted against it and one abstained. I understand some of the reservations by other councillors about the role of the district in this but did not understand the repeated argument from those opposing that this was some how through the back-door and not part of the councillors procedures - one of the reasons Paul Denney bought this to Council as a motion was so that it could be debated openly.
Stroud District Council was the first council in the country to ban culling on their land - it is great we are now taking a lead on this.