FUW welcomes cull vote but slams AMS misleading statements

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed the National Assembly’s large majority vote in support of a north Pembrokeshire badger cull but has slammed anti-cull AMs for misleading statements made during the debate at the Senedd.

FUW member and north Pembrokeshire farmer Brian Thomas, who attended Wednesday’s debate, said: "The overwhelming support for the policy is welcome, and gives a clear sign that the majority of AMs are prepared to grasp the nettle and act responsibly regarding a severe disease crisis, despite misleading campaigns by animal rights activists.

"However, I was stunned by the inaccuracy and misleading nature of some of the statements made by those proposing the motion to stop the cull, and it is a disgrace that such statements were made in our National Assembly chamber."

AMs Peter Black, Lorraine Barrett, Irene James and Jenny Randerson had tabled a motion to annul The Badger (Control Area) (Wales) Order 2011. It was rejected by 42 votes to 8.

"Mr Black quoted what he described as the latest data published by the Independent Science Group in February 2010," said Mr Thomas.

"Yet that group was disbanded almost four years ago, and he chose to quote data and conclusions which he knows were superseded and corrected in July 2010."

Mr Thomas said that this was just one of a series of totally misleading statements made by the anti-cull AMs.

"People have a perfect right to object to culling on whatever grounds they see fit, but for Assembly Members to mislead the National Assembly, whether by accident or otherwise, is disgraceful.

"It is not too much to ask that those who are elected to rule Wales are properly briefed. If Assembly Members receive figures from groups such as Pembrokeshire Against the Cull, which has admitted giving out untruthful and unsubstantiated information in the past, they should be astute enough to check their facts before speaking in our Assembly."

Mr Thomas also hit out at rock star Brian May for his involvement in the anti-cull campaign.

"Brian May describes TB as a ’’virus’’. This is so inaccurate it is like describing cattle as a species of fish, and shows that everything else he says should be taken with a massive pinch of salt.

"People who have strong views and are obsessed with single issues tend to be blinkered when it comes to looking at the facts and inevitable get things seriously wrong.

"Thankfully, the majority of AMs have taken a step back, properly assessed the evidence, and supported the cull."