7 July 2008
Mr. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (Cotswold) (Con): Although the Secretary of State is a very reasonable man, farmers in Gloucestershire, where the hot-spot areas are, will greet his announcement with absolute dismay and annoyance. In the past 10 years, 200,000 cattle have been slaughtered and we may be on course for 50,000 cattle to be slaughtered this year alone. That is a huge cost in human and animal misery, and in financial terms. The Secretary of State said, even today, that a proactive cull with hard boundaries may well produce some results. Why has he rejected that option?

Hilary Benn: Because, in the end, I have made a judgment about the likelihood that such a cull could be successfully delivered. It may be successful, and it may not. I say to the hon. Gentleman that his constituents would not thank me if I pursued a policy that ended up making the disease worse. That has weighed heavily on my mind in taking this decision.

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