As you will know, most of the powers related to wildlife are devolved to the Scottish Parliament. There are currently no plans to cull badgers in Scotland as we are a Bovine TB free country.
However, Bovine TB remains one of the greatest animal health threats to the UK. It not only has a devastating impact on our beef and dairy farms, but costs taxpayers £100 million each year.
As part of a comprehensive strategic approach, culling continues to play an important role in England and Wales. Overseas experience in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland shows that to eradicate the disease, the problem must be tackled in both cattle and wildlife. Operations continue with new and supplementary licences issued in the High Risk areas of England, and in Low Risk Area of England in the rare event that disease in badgers is linked with infected herds, to prevent further spread.
I believe that all necessary measures must be used to eradicate this devastating disease, and I am pleased to note early success.