Thousands of dairy farmers will go out of business unless the Government presses ahead with its highly-controversial plans for a badger cull, Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski has claimed.
Appearing on Newsnight last night, the Tory MP said problems caused by badgers spreading bovine TB were leading to ‘devastation and misery’ for farmers who have to slaughter infected cattle.
His comments come after more than 100,000 people signed a petition calling on the Government to stop plans for a trial cull of thousands of badgers in Gloucestershire and Somerset.
Mr Kawczynski said: “I have to say representing a very rural constituency like Shrewsbury, I have sat on many occasions with farmers in their kitchens and seen grown men cry when all of their herds have been slaughtered and the devastation this causes to farmers and the community is of the most profound nature.”
He added: “We have a duty and responsibility to ensure England does continue to have a dairy industry. Unless we take these steps, thousands of farmers will go out of business.”
Mr Kawczynski said he was pleased new environment secretary and fellow Shropshire MP Owen Paterson is ‘very committed’ to the strategy. “I and other rural MPs will insist the Government fulfils its obligations,” he said.
But wildlife presenter Bill Oddie, who is opposing the cull, told the programme the Government were showing ‘considerable ignorance and arrogance’.
Mr Kawczynski said: “I say to Bill Oddie that you spend some time in my constituency to meet some of my Shropshire dairy farmers and see some of the devastation and misery they are going through as a result of a lack of action by the previous Labour administration for many years.”
If the trial cull is deemed successful, the Government said it could be rolled out across England in future.