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Lib Dem bid to ban badger culls in Gloucestershire defeated, county council will study cull's impact

By jrmaidment  |  Posted: January 22, 2014

Comments (4)

A dramatic bid to ban badger culls in Gloucestershire and to prevent the Government rolling out culling to other areas has failed.

Liberal Democrats wanted Gloucestershire County Council to “get off the fence” and vote in favour of writing immediately to the Government to “request” last year’s controversial cull not be extended and that the county not be used for culling again.

But their motion was ultimately defeated because of a lack of cross party support.

However, a Labour backed motion to create a Badger Cull Task Group was successful.

The task group will examine the social and economic impact of the cull to learn lessons for the future with a view to compiling an in depth report which will be presented to the Government.

The debate at Shire Hall today was framed within the wider context of the Government considering if it will expand the cull to other areas.

Councillor Paul Hodgkinson (LD, Bourton on the Water and Northleach) said time is “running out” and that in order to make a difference immediate action was required.

“Enough is enough,” he said.

“Having a task force is not the best way forward. We need to be decisive and we need to get off the fence.

“We already know that the cull has been a disaster. It has been shambolic. It has failed on both scientific and humane grounds.

“As such there should be no extension to the cull because it is neither warranted nor justified.

“We need to stop the culling fields of Gloucestershire.”

The Lib Dem proposal was defeated by 28 votes to 13.

Only two councillors voted against the Labour motion.

Councillor Lesley Williams (Lab, Stonehouse), leader of the Labour group, said the task group will be able to gather the “information to back up” the kind of letter the Lib Dems asked for.

Councillor Mark Hawthorne (C, Quedgeley), leader of the council, added: “We want to uncover the facts and not brush the truth under the carpet.

“We need to focus on the issue of disease and of control to find a solution to what is blighting our countryside and our famers’ livelihoods.”

The Liberal Democrats accused Labour and the ruling Conservatives of working together in a “cosy coalition” during the debate.

Councillor Jeremy Hilton (LD, Kingsholm and Wotton), said he believes the two parties have got an agreement to vote together on certain issues with an eye on the budget, due to be set in February.

He described the relationship that “everyone knows” about as “can you do this, can you do that so that you can do this”.

His suggestion was met with head shaking among both the Tory and Labour benches.

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  • Shireresident  |  January 24 2014, 1:59PM

    Why did the liberals in Westminster support the cull in the first place Mr. Burton? I suggest the answer to your question lies in the maths of the balance of power at Shire Hall and the attendance on the day of the meeting. There's no point supporting a motion you know won't get through. The labour motion smacks of a damage limitation exercise to me. As ever I'd be more impressed with the Liberals grandstanding if it was consistent with what they do in Westminster as members of the cosy coalition.

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  • Richardburton  |  January 23 2014, 6:23PM

    Why didn't Labour vote for the proposal with the Liberals? Are the labour party on the county council so out of touch that they didn't understand that over 50% of the voters didn't want any cull at all! Should have voted with the Liberals to request that we don't want any more killing of badgers any where in the country inc Gloucestershire... Why didn't Labour vote with the Liberals???? So now we have the Labour party members not doing anything to save our badgers. You couldn't make this up!

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  • groundnut  |  January 23 2014, 10:11AM

    "Councillor Mark Hawthorne (C, Quedgeley), leader of the council, added: "We want to uncover the facts and not brush the truth under the carpet." You are right Councillor Hawthorne, we all need to know some facts from Owen Paterson and Government. The secrecy and lack of facts made available to the electorate is a disgrace and an affront to any form of Democracy.But if the truth had been published by DEFRA , then this killing exercise og Wildlife, would have been halted in its tracks, by public Opinion. But Glos. CC you need to move fast , already extensive indiscriminate killing of healthy wildlife has occurred in Gloucestershire . And any rollout will see more of the same this year. Many expert scientistshave opposed this killing exercise as any long term way forward to the eradication of BTB. There is an alternative science based humane vaccination way available. So ask for the facts, and not from Govt. they have already chosen not to tell the truth.

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  • Clued-Up  |  January 22 2014, 4:45PM

    Well done Councillors for trying to get Gloucestershire CC to sign up for an immediate ban. It's a shame you didn't get the support you needed. In the absence of an immediate ban on badger killing, the success of the Labour proposal is worth at least two cheers.

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