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How politics and mathematical reality dictated policy in the Welsh Intensive Action Area

Alun Davies, the ex Welsh minister, gave quite a clear insight into the pressures which ministers are under when they allocate funds. The following shows what he said in 2009 in the Welsh Assembly when voting AGAINST the annulment of badger culling.

If you think that you can eradicate this disease in a painless way, you are, frankly, living in cloud-cuckoo-land. That is not how you do it. Of course it is a difficult issue, but we are elected to take difficult decisions,1,2
Then 3 years later...
"When I was campaigning for re-election it was clear that there was no support in the Welsh public for a badger cull; in fact there is active opposition", he told farmers.
He then went on to say "Politicians in every constituency would lose their deposits if they were campaigning for a cull today. We can constantly look back and wish that things were different but there is no support among the Welsh public or indeed the Welsh government to go ahead with a badger cull. There is simply not a majority in the Senedd to pass the policy you require; it is a matter of mathematical reality." 3
This then caused the Welsh Chief vet to comment as follows.
She said she 'completely understood the disappointment and confusion' felt by farmers following the decision, announced by Welsh Environment Minister John Griffiths on March 20, to opt for a five-year vaccination programme in the North Pembrokeshire Intensive Action Area, instead of a cull.

But she said: 'This is what we have been asked to do, this is what the Minister is prepared to fund and support. This is our chance to find out if vaccinating badgers can make a difference so we must do it as well as we possibly can.' 4
Obviously ministers are compelled to fall in line with public wishes because if they do not, they lose favour, and they put their position in jeopardy. However their decisions and how they allocate funds dictate what is done to control TB.

References

  1. Alun Davies handed Welsh farm brief. Farmers Guardian. By Alistair Driver. 13 May 2011.
  2. Motion to Annul the Tuberculosis Eradication (Wales) Order 2009. National Assembly for Wales. The Record of Proceedings. 4 Nov 2009.
  3. Welsh public don't want badger cull, says minister Alun Davies. Farmers Weekly. 3 Nov 2012.
  4. Glossop urges Wales to unite behind TB strategy. Farmers Guardian. Alistair Driver. 20 April 2012.
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