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Somerset-based farming minister pledges commitment to badger cull

By mmanning  |  Posted: December 05, 2012

David_Heath_Minister (246x223)

Somerset MP David Heath

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MINISTER of state for food and farming, David Heath MP, has reiterated the government's commitment to controlling bovine TB by introducing pilot badger culls in 2013.

The Somerton and Frome MP made the pledge at the annual open meeting of Somerset NFU on Monday evening.

"I promise you it is our very clear intention to do these trials next summer," he said.

The minister said that vaccination for either badgers or cattle was not a viable option for controlling bovine TB, and is illegal in the case of the latter.

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Mr Heath, who said he did not have all the answers and had to listen to those who were doing the farming, added that although there were a lot of threats and difficulties facing farmers, overall he was optimistic for their future.

He also said the country needed a "food strategy" and that if people couldn't be fed, the government was failing.

"I haven't got a magic wand, and all I can do is my best as your minister," he said.

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  • stormkettle  |  December 05 2012, 10:45PM

    Mr Heath should note that culling over 70% of a badger population would be a highly questionable policy to achieve a healthy and viable badger population.

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  • eyeopener  |  December 05 2012, 10:26PM

    lol - well this isnt a formal report. If I'm nattering direct to you then I tend to chat in a much less formal style. I always missed words out when writing essays at school because I tend to think faster than I can write or type. I find it even harder in these columns because you have to compose and type in such a restricted window. I often compose longer comments in MS Word so that I can see the entire document and metaphorically track where I have been, and where I am going. The only problem is that once you have copied and pasted the text across, you have to run down it in the THIS IS site to check the punctuation as the National ASCII codes used are different leasing to " looking like a ? I'm off to bed now, but If you are able to extract any refund from my old school, I'll split it with you! Nite :)))

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  • 2ladybugs  |  December 05 2012, 10:11PM

    Oh dear that should be "did you say you attended" :)))

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  • 2ladybugs  |  December 05 2012, 10:10PM

    What type of school did you say you went to????? I would ask for a refund if I were you. Your grammar is ever so slightly dodgy. Still never mind, you obviously don't have to write many reports and I doubt many people will be reading these pages :))

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  • eyeopener  |  December 05 2012, 10:01PM

    "Like you, I'm really short of answers " Oh dear typos strike again... I meant to say "Like you, I'm rarely short of answers

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  • eyeopener  |  December 05 2012, 10:00PM

    @2ladybugs Incidentally "your not a Minister" and "your NEVER short of answers" should be you're or you are." I'll forgive you the typos.... after all there are few more prone to them than I, and your right. Like you, I'm really short of answers because I take the trouble to look for them. But if you and I were ministers...... The electorate can breath easy 'coz we are not..... we would at least do our home work before marching into an NFU meeting and making bold promises.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  December 05 2012, 8:18PM

    Cattle TB vaccination still 'at least six years away' - Kendall 5 December 2012 | By Alistair Driver A BOVINE TB vaccine for cattle is unlikely to be available for at least six years, if at all, according to NFU president Peter Kendall, who has discussed the issue in Brussels this week. Mr Kendall met officials from the European Commission's health directorate, DG Sanco, in Brussels, on Tuesday to find out more about the prospects for a cattle vaccination policy. Mr Kendall said commission officials made it 'absolutely clear' that the BCG vaccine's current effectiveness of 50-60 per cent protection in cattle was 'not good enough'. Scientists normally work on the basis that vaccines needs to be 70-80 effective to be considered a robust disease control tool.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  December 05 2012, 7:52PM

    I have answers because I am not having my strings pulled by all and sundry. He told the truth, he doesn't have all the answers with regard to the problems of bTB. If he did he would probably be worth a lot of money. The world would be free from bTB. Incidentally "your not a Minister" and "your NEVER short of answers" should be you're or you are.

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  • eyeopener  |  December 05 2012, 7:41PM

    2ladybugs "I doubt anybody put into this position would have all the answers." Well your not a minister and your NEVER short of answers :))) Why not him? Ministers are usually briefed before meetings and he clearly didn't do his home work!

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  • 2ladybugs  |  December 05 2012, 7:12PM

    I doubt anybody put into this position would have all the answers no matter how clever they were. I have seen somewhere in a very obscure report that his remarks about the cull going ahead does seem to be on the agenda and that the government will support any farmers who decide to go the vaccination route both in the two trial areas and around the perimeters. Culling still needs to take centre stage to clear up this mess before it takes over the whole country. It is just as well he is willing to listen to what farmers want rather than just setting his own agenda. It is up to farmers to get behind him and Paterson if they want to improve their lot.

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