CAROLINE Spelman MP has pledged her continuing support for the controversial badger cull – despite a parliamentary vote against the move.
Last week, MPs voted by 147 to 28, against the Government’s controversial plan to cull thousands of badgers to prevent TB in cattle.
It followed a marathon five-hour backbench debate in the House of Commons after an e-petition, launched by Queen guitarist Brian May, attracted the signatures of more than 150,000 opponents of culling.
It had also been announced that the pilot schemes in Gloucestershire and Somerset would be delayed until 2013, following a request by farmers carrying out the cull.
A spokeswoman for Mrs Spelman, the former Secretary of State for the Environment, said: “Caroline’s view on the badger cull is unchanged, and she supports the Government’s position which is, that the pilot culls have been postponed until summer 2013 to allow farmers to have the best possible chance of carrying out the cull effectively.”
Although not binding on the Government, the vote has been seized upon by animal welfare groups as evidence that both public and parliamentary opinion is against a cull.
Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, said: “Scientists oppose the cull, the public opposes the cull, and now MPs have voted against a cull. It is time for the Government to listen and use the available alternatives to tackle bTB.
“A badger vaccine is available now, and improved biosecurity measures can help to reduce the spread of the disease.”