Bovine TB is a huge problem in Torridge and West Devon, and inaction by successive governments on this matter has seen a massive increase in cases since 1984. The toll from this disease is taken not only on thousands of animals, representing generations of toil and long family traditions of rearing and breeding, but also the human tragedy felt by families whose livelihoods have been destroyed by bovine TB.
In the last Parliament Geoffrey was a member of the EFRA Select Committee, and one of the authors of a report into bovine TB. At the end of 2007, he persuaded the committee to come to Torridge and West Devon as part of its inquiry into Bovine TB. They took evidence from vets, scientists, even the government’s own scientists, and in its conclusions the committee was compelled to recommend a careful policy that would include in its many measures the limited and targeted culling of wildlife in intensely infected areas.
Geoffrey says that he is persuaded by the scientific case for a closely targeted cull, confined to areas where the disease is at its worst (hotspots), where the presence of Bovine TB in the badger colony is well proven and where vets and experts on the ground conclude that it has a reasonable prospect of being effective and avoiding the effects of perturbation.
During this Parliament Geoffrey has spoken on numerous occasions, both in Westminster and in events throughout the constituency, in defence of a culling policy, and has continually urged the Government to undertake a closely targeted cull in Devon, the county worst effected by bovine TB. This issue featured prominently in meetings Geoffrey held with Prime Minister, David Cameron, and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson at the North Devon show in 2013.
Most recently, in a November 2014 Parliamentary debate on the dairy industry, Geoffrey called for farming to be given a higher priority by the Government, and treated as a strategic industry that contributes to the nation’s food security. Geoffrey believes that the cattle and livestock industry deserves a Secretary of State for Agriculture sitting in the Cabinet, and the attention from central government which that would provide. During the debate Geoffrey directly referenced “the crisis of bovine TB,” and called on the Government to “ensure that the TB eradication strategy is implemented in full.”
Please see the press releases and links below to view some of the work Geoffrey has done in support of this campaign.