A dramatic bid to ban badger culls in Gloucestershire and to prevent the Government rolling out culling to other areas has failed.
Liberal Democrats wanted Gloucestershire County Council to “get off the fence” and vote in favour of writing immediately to the Government to “request” last year’s controversial cull not be extended and that the county not be used for culling again.
But their motion was ultimately defeated because of a lack of cross party support.
However, a Labour backed motion to create a Badger Cull Task Group was successful.
The task group will examine the social and economic impact of the cull to learn lessons for the future with a view to compiling an in depth report which will be presented to the Government.
The debate at Shire Hall today was framed within the wider context of the Government considering if it will expand the cull to other areas.
Councillor Paul Hodgkinson (LD, Bourton on the Water and Northleach) said time is “running out” and that in order to make a difference immediate action was required.
“Enough is enough,” he said.
“Having a task force is not the best way forward. We need to be decisive and we need to get off the fence.
“We already know that the cull has been a disaster. It has been shambolic. It has failed on both scientific and humane grounds.
“As such there should be no extension to the cull because it is neither warranted nor justified.
“We need to stop the culling fields of Gloucestershire.”
The Lib Dem proposal was defeated by 28 votes to 13.
Only two councillors voted against the Labour motion.
Councillor Lesley Williams (Lab, Stonehouse), leader of the Labour group, said the task group will be able to gather the “information to back up” the kind of letter the Lib Dems asked for.
Councillor Mark Hawthorne (C, Quedgeley), leader of the council, added: “We want to uncover the facts and not brush the truth under the carpet.
“We need to focus on the issue of disease and of control to find a solution to what is blighting our countryside and our famers’ livelihoods.”
The Liberal Democrats accused Labour and the ruling Conservatives of working together in a “cosy coalition” during the debate.
Councillor Jeremy Hilton (LD, Kingsholm and Wotton), said he believes the two parties have got an agreement to vote together on certain issues with an eye on the budget, due to be set in February.
He described the relationship that “everyone knows” about as “can you do this, can you do that so that you can do this”.
His suggestion was met with head shaking among both the Tory and Labour benches.