Morecambe MP’s reluctance over badger cull vote

Brian May.
Brian May.

The MP for Morecambe has voted for a cull of badgers but says he did so “through gritted teeth.” David Morris MP also told the Commons he had contacted rock star and pro-badger campaigner Brian May about the issue.

A Commons motion - tabled by the Labour leadership - called on the Government to stop the cull of badgers, which started this month in an attempt to stop the spread of bovine TB.

But in a House of Commons vote, MPs voted in favour of the cull by 299 votes to 250.

In a second vote on a Government amendment to the Labour motion - which was signed by the Prime Minister David Cameron and “looked forward to the successful conclusion” of the pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset - MPs voted by 298 to 237 in favour of the alteration.

Mr Morris told the House: “Let me first of all say that I am voting in favour of the amendment and by extension a trial cull.

“But I am doing so through gritted teeth, because I strongly believe circumstances have put us in this position. I have faith in the Government to do the right thing.”

Mr Morris said the European Commission had banned vaccinated meat from being sold within the European Union on the grounds that it is difficult to differentiate between infected cattle and cattle that had been inoculated.

“Instead they favour mass culls of cattle as the solution and have pointed to a number of countries that have cut TB in this way. So the Commission want DEFRA to cull a whole herd when one case of TB is found within it.

“This would be a nightmare for farmers and risks ripping apart our rural community.”

Mr Morris also encouraged DEFRA and the National Farmers Union to talk to the Badger Trust and the RSPCA.

Animal rights activists say they will take direct action to stop more than 5,000 badgers being shot in the cull. They argue that vaccination of badgers would be more humane and a more effective way to stop bovine TB spreading.