Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has argued there is "no absolute right" when being given scientific advice, and that it is the politician's job to "make the call".
The minister, who has sanctioned badger culling in the South West amid criticism it is "anti-science", said he drew on his experience from living in the countryside and being "bombarded" by advice.
This week, Sir David Attenborough entered the debate surrounding the cull, accusing the Government of "ignoring science" by extending the badger cull in Gloucestershire by eight weeks. It is one of two pilots that will determine whether culling to eradicate bovine TB destroying farming in the region is extended.
But speaking to The House magazine, Parliament's in-house publication, the Shropshire MP said: "Ultimately you have to make the call, but I see myself as someone who has lived in the countryside all his life and you are constantly in the countryside bombarded with scientific advice.
"So if you ever had anything to do with animals, you had conflicting veterinary advice and ultimately you have to make the decision: is that vet right or is the other vet right?
"So I'm used to, completely accustomed to, dealing with scientific advice but ultimately you have to make a political decision. There is no absolute right in a scientific decision. We have some good advisers here who I respect enormously, but obviously I have got my own sources outside, my own experience which I have to draw on."
Labour rejected culling on the basis of a ten-year study that concluded it was "unlikely to contribute effectively" to tackling the disease. But the coalition used the same study to justify culling on the basis it could lead to a reduction in the rates of TB in cattle of 16 per cent.
Mr Paterson also underlined how the rural economy is his top priority – with the environment second. His comments come amid criticism for downgrading the role of the farming minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
He said: "Exports are a key part of our first priority here, which is to grow the rural economy. Our second priority is to improve the environment, and the other two are to protect the country from animal disease and protect the country from plant disease."
The minister added that consumers no longer care about the issue of genetically modified crops, and that they would cut costs for hard-pressed shoppers.
"If an animal, a chicken or a pig has eaten GM material, you can't tell. The fact that the public didn't react to that was very interesting," he said.
GM foods is one of the central lines of inquiry of a study by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee into food security within the UK and abroad.