Thursday, 17 October 2013

CWaC Full Council - Badgers and Retail

We had a meeting of CWaC's full council tonight.  It was one of those meetings where most of the time we could agree on most things.

That said there were two debates tonight - one ended in complete unanimity - and the other was decided on a casting vote - the first time that has happened at CWaC.

We had a debate regarding bovine TB.  Should the council ban culling badgers on Council land and support vaccination of wild badgers?  I'm paraphrasing here - the actual motion put to the council by Cllr Mearden was much more lengthy than this - but it amounted to the same thing.  All of us on CWaC had been extensively lobbied - by those for and against a badger cull and we had several public speakers who spoke eloquently on the issue too.  We heard from a diary farmer as well as representatives such as from Cheshire Wildlife.

I felt the motion was premature in the sense that the issue of bovine TB has been taxing greater minds than mine and indeed CWaC's for many years and we are still searching for a solution.  My sentiments are humane - I lean towards vaccination and I certainly don't support killing anything unless it really has to be done.  I do want CWaC to consider this in detail, to call for evidence before we take a decision whether to support the motion or not.  Importantly we must consult all stakeholders - including CWaC's own tenant farmers and listen to the experts.

From a personal point of view I know how devastating TB can be.

My family all come from the Isle of Man.  I have studied my family history.  My father's family bred like rabbits in the middle of the nineteenth century.  At the end of that century and the start of the next my family was devastated - largely by TB.  My grandmother was one of 8.  She was the only one to have children.  Her father lost a wife and 4 children before having a second family - one of whom was my grandmother.  Through a combination of TB, WW1 and Spanish flu - it was just her who had a family.  My grandfather lost his sister to TB too.  I have no cousins, or second cousins and TB all those years ago is a contributing factor.

I know this dreadful disease will not respect land boundaries - and I want to make sure we play our part - and the best part we can in halting the spread of bovine TB in our wildlife and in our cattle.

If you have a view on what CWaC's policy should be in this area do make sure you have your say.  We need to get this policy right.

The Chairman's casting vote sent this matter to Scrutiny with the council dividing largely on political lines.

We were unanimous about wishing to support all our retail centres and more work will be done on this!  I gently pointed out some grammatical and drafting errors in the motion put to Council ... and was called a pedant by the Chairman for my desire to be accurate!