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"Obsessive Secrecy" over Badger Slaughter

15 September 2008

WALES, UK - Badger Trust Cymru has called on Elin Jones, Minister for Rural Affairs, to end what it calls the Welsh Assembly Government's "obsessive secrecy" in planning the slaughter of Welsh badgers.

In a letter to Elin Jones on behalf of the eight badger groups covering Wales, Badger Trust Cymru spokesman Steve Clark accuses the Minister of establishing TB groups which exclude key stakeholders, meet in secret and do not publish their deliberations.

"If such groups and their deliberations cannot be scrutinized, they cannot be challenged. This is not what we expect in a healthy democracy," protests Clark from Chepstow, Monmouthshire.


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"This is not what we expect in a healthy democracy,"
Clark from Chepstow, Monmouthshire.

The letter reveals that a demand for details of the TB Eradication Programme Board and the Technical Advisory Group membership and papers have been "kicked into the long grass". The Welsh Assembly Government has turned the demand into a Freedom of Information request which does not have to be answered for three weeks and can be rejected on a wide variety of technicalities.

This, says Mr Clark, is contrary to the WAG's claimed policy of "maximising openness".

Badger Trust Cymru says that despite being a key stakeholder in the future of Welsh badgers, it is not even permitted to attend the secret meetings as an observer and does not know if the groups have the minimum requirement of an independent chairperson. In England, in contrast, the Badger Trust has been involved in all debates and the Independent Scientific Group, which conducted the badger culling trials, held open, public meetings before concluding that badger culling could make no "meaningful" contribution to bovine TB control in Great Britain.

Badger Trust Cymru fears that the secret appointees are "rubber- stamping" the Minister's statement of 15 April that "there will be a targeted cull of badgers" in Wales. It has demanded that Elin Jones publicly divulges the identities of the groups' members, all their deliberations and paperwork, and makes future meetings open to stakeholder observers.

"It is beholden on you, as an appointee of our democracy, to serve its interests by being open and accountable," Mr Clark warns the Minister.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on Bovine Tuberculosis by clicking here.

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