It took political courage to launch the pilot cull of badgers in Somerset and Gloucestershire in an effort to reduce the incidence of bovine TB in domestic cattle.
The Conservatives pledged before the last election to take such action and, having come to power – with coalition partners – they kept their promise.
It is worth recalling, even with both culls missing their Government-imposed targets and the policy now clearly in disarray, that the previous Labour administration showed no such courage on this pressing rural issue.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and his recently installed Farming Minister, George Eustice, might like to hold onto that fact as they contemplate the fall-out from yesterday's well attended and often passionate debate on the badger cull in Westminster Hall.
It is undeniable, however, that even Tory MPs, traditional supporters of farming and the countryside and allies of livestock farmers who have been fighting for a proper policy to tackle bovine TB in the wild, are beginning to lose faith with the cull.
As Mr Paterson works out how to proceed, with a likely extension of the cull in new areas expected in February or March, he will have to reflect on that and, surely, conclude that there needs to be a radical change of direction.
The shortcomings of what has gone on so far were set out earlier this week by Lord Krebs. He instigated the Randomised Badger Culling Trials in the 1990s and now believes tougher measures to keep badgers and cattle apart would be more effective than culling to bring bovine TB under control. Yet tough measures are already in place and, with the announcement recently from Defra of further tightening of cattle movements, they are about to get tougher.
Where Lord Krebs was right, however, was in highlighting how little Defra appeared to know, before the shooting started, about badger numbers in each pilot zone.
If that is the case then while the cull has been an undoubted PR disaster it may not have been the catastrophe for controlling the disease some have almost gleefully suggested. Analysing the data, considering new ways of controlling badgers, to include more cage trapping, vaccination and maybe even gassing, where appropriate, could make the difference.
What must not happen, despite the wobble shown by some MPs, is a full scale retreat on tackling this disease, both on the farm and in the wild.