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Tory MP attacks Labour's links to anti-badger cull lobby group

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

Neil Parish

Comments (26)

A Westcountry MP has branded as “disgraceful” the revelation that the Labour Party accepted tens of thousands of pounds from a group with links to animal rights campaigners fighting the badger cull.

Neil Parish, who represents Tiverton and Honiton for the Conservatives, spoke out after Electoral Commission records emerged showing that Political Animal Lobby Limited had given nearly £140,000 to the party since 2001.

The company has strong links to Network for Animals, a pressure group which campaigned against British farmers who supported the badger cull.

The revelation instantly led to accusations that Labour was involved in a “cash for policies” relationship, although the party insists it has done nothing wrong and no donor exerts influence over their policies.

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Mr Parish however was not convinced.

He said: “Labour Party policy has always been dictated by its Trade Union donors and now it seems Animal Rights organisations are doing the same.

“Under the last Labour government the number of cattle slaughtered because of Bovine TB rose six-fold from 4,102 in 1998 to 24,000 in 2010.

“During their years in government they refused to follow scientific evidence and carry out a controlled cull of badgers.

“That in opposition the Labour Party is taking funds from animal rights organisations in exchange for policy is utterly disgraceful instead of taking a scientific position on the badger cull.”

According to the Electoral Commission, the most recent donation made by the Political Animal Lobby Limited was £50,000 in May last year.

In August, Mary Creagh, the shadow environment secretary, unveiled a campaign which aimed “to demonstrate the huge opposition to the Tory-led Government's plans to allow farmers to shoot badgers as part of measures to control the spread of bovine tuberculosis in cattle.”

The following month she wrote: “Bovine TB is a terrible disease that needs to be controlled. This cull is not the way to do it.”

In October the Government announced that it was suspending its plans for a badger cull, including one pilot zone in West Somerset, until later this year.

The Labour Party rejected the accusations and said they had opposed the cull since 2008.

A spokesman said: “We are grateful for the support of all our donors, however no donors have undue influence on our policymaking which is done in a transparent way. All donations are declared in line with Electoral Commission rules.”

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  • eyeopener  |  February 03 2013, 7:19PM

    @ 2ladybugs "Perhaps you could show me evidence of all these country people who are against the badger cull. " I think thats a little disengenouous, you have replied to a number of country dwellers on other 'THIS IS' sites such as THIS IS GLOUCESTERSHIRE.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  February 03 2013, 1:34PM

    I am still here for a few minutes, I am trying to get over the giggles. Yes, I have quite a connection to farming and I also have visiting badgers in the garden from the surrounding fields. There will be a cull one way or another for health reasons.

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  • susie2010  |  February 03 2013, 1:08PM

    ...and I'm a farmer :) Bye bye!

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  • 2ladybugs  |  February 03 2013, 12:03PM

    Ha!ha!ha!haaaaaaaaaaaaa........hilarious.......I do love a comedian. That has got to be one of the funniest comments about me and wildlife I have heard for quite a while. Ha!ha!ha!haaaaaaaaaaaaa. My colleagues will be getting a copy of your comment ASAP. I am a naturalist for your information and spend many hours both day and night studying animals, insects, birds etc. and their peculiarities both in this country and abroad. Ha!ha!ha!haaaaaaaa I have got a fit of the giggles now and my cup of tea that I have recently swallowed is likely to be brought back up at this rate. Ha!ha!ha! hilarious. I will say goodbye to you now on this report as I have some field work to do tonight and need to rest having been out most of last night also. You have really cheered me up trying to be clever ha!ha!ha! sooooooooo funny.!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • susie2010  |  February 03 2013, 11:38AM

    2ladybugs: Your complete lack of knowledge about badger behaviour is worrying to say the least. It is clear that you have one simple premiss, and one only, that all your 'arguments' are based on - farmers know best, regardless of actual evidence, and scientists ,wildlife groups and the majority of people in this country know nothing (about anything it seems). It is not possible to have a meaningful dialogue with someone who cannot sustain a rational argument and refuses to acknowledge evidence.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  February 02 2013, 5:04PM

    @susie2010.....badgers if shot on a known pathway/route i.e. a route that a badger will take on a nightly search will not cause perturbation. In fact it has been shown that even if a badger is shot one day, on a certain route, it will not stop another badger from the same group travelling on the same route the following night. I am however pleased to see that you understand that badgers DO spread TB otherwise you wouldn't be worried about badgers moving onto other land.

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  • susie2010  |  February 02 2013, 4:44PM

    So glad to hear you don't support the illegal killing of badgers! "About one in 10 livestock farmers in Wales has illegally killed a badger recently, a scientific paper suggests.The findings suggest about 10% of farmers had killed a badger in the 12 months before they were approached. The figure rose to 14.5% among those who farmed cattle.The researchers believe the findings are important because of concerns that killing a relatively small number of badgers in an uncontrolled way can increase the spread of bovine TB, as infected badgers move on when social groups are disrupted." I don't think it's me who has trouble getting things into their head.... But then farmers know best of course and - in any case - this whole finding is probably just another political plot.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  February 02 2013, 4:09PM

    susie2010 Please get it into your head that any badger culling will be done legally, whatever method is used. You may get the very odd hunter who might be out there shooting badgers in this countryside but they are probably few and far between. The badger cull is/will be legal. TB is a notifiable disease and it therefore needs to be controlled.

  • susie2010  |  February 02 2013, 3:46PM

    Seem to remember similar blusterings about the (oh-so-certain!) repeal of the Hunting Act....not happening is it? Culling isn't going to happen legally because it's a nonsense. Breaking the law and killing badgers illegally (like hunting illegally) is one way round it but not one I'm sure any decent person would recommend....would you??

  • 2ladybugs  |  February 02 2013, 10:41AM

    @E-Badger Just let me set you right on the Commons poll. The Conservatives were never going to fight this motion and they made that public as soon as the debate was called for. There is/was no need for them to vote, because, whatever the outcome they are under no obligation,legally, to change the decision for a legal cull. bTB is a notifiable disease and one way or another it has to be addressed. Even the Berne Convention understands this. Cattle are being culled, new bio-security measures have been introduced and now the main problem has to be dealt with. Charles's understudy......mmm yes I can thank him for a lot of help regarding information on all forms of TB, so I can go along with you referring to me as such :))