It is necessary to control both badgers and foxes in the interests of protecting farm livestock of one kind or another.
My position on the badger cull remains as it was before the election: the issues at stake are primarily scientific but the science is disputed. I have therefore decided to support my colleagues in government.
I have received correspondence this week asking me to either assert, clarify or reconsider my view in relation to the proposed changes to the Hunting Act.
My position on hunting with hounds has been available on this site since before the 2010 election and I have given the same answer to everyone who has enquired: I am relatively detached from this issue but I am satisfied that the current law should be amended or repealed. In due course, I will vote for amendment or repeal and my position will be immovable: I have been elected twice on that basis and I am bound to now vote accordingly.
The vote on these changes, originally scheduled for 15 July, has now been postponed. I feel sure this issue will come before the House in the near future, and my position will remain as stated.