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Sunday, September 05, 2010

Coalition Government poised on edge of abyss

If the Sunday Independent is right and UK Ministers are to issue licences to farmers in England to cull badgers in an attempt to curb the spread of tuberculosis in cattle herds, then this government is about to make a momentous mistake.

The paper says that the Government will launch a public consultation later this month on the precise details of the scheme, which would allow landowners who can prove the measures are necessary to cull and vaccinate badgers over an area of at least 50 square miles.

This move is being taken despite a decade-long study, costing £35m, by the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB, which concluded that culling cannot "meaningfully contribute" to control of the disease because it displaces the badgers, spreading the disease over a wider area.

They must surely also take into account the court ruling on the Welsh Government's planned cull that the Rural Affairs Minister had failed to demonstrate the substantial reduction in bTB necessary to justify culling a protected species. She was only able to claim a 9% reduction in the disease, a figure that in itself is disputed.

The assertion by Farming minister Jim Paice that the government must "get absolutely everything sorted before we commence" because campaigners will challenge the plan through judicial review must be read in a different context in the light of that ruling. How can the UK government proceed and hope to win a court case when their plans are not supported by the science?

If the Coalition Government and the Liberal Democrats in particular, line up behind this nonsense then they will get the bloody nose that they deserve. Instead they should follow the science and pursue the vaccination trials currently getting underway in Gloucestershire. If vaccination is accompanied by proper cattle control measures then it could reduce bTB significantly and permanently over a five year period.
If it is true that farmers in England will be issued licenses to cull badgers (an idea put forward by Kirsty Williams here in Wales) then not is the government acting against science but it is also not representing the wishes of the majority of people.

This is at a time when farmers appreciate that they are already alienating themselves from the public with their concept of super dairies and being given advice on how to regain the confidence of the public.

I already (and since June 2008) have not bought any Welsh produce but still live exceptionally well - not deprived at all.. It is MY way of protesting. It will be quite easy to ban all English and Welsh produce from my household.

I know that I will be criticised for this approach but what more can I do.? During the height of the 'badger cull' debate here in Wales I was spending up to 5hours daily fighting against the cull as most of you know.
Most infectious diseases affecting humans originate in intensive animal farms. It's more logical, healthy and hygienic to ban animal produce from whatever provenance from your household.

Contrary to what farmers would like us to believe, animal produce is entirely unnecessary for human health. It is also extremely wasteful of resources and responsible for more climate changing gas emissions than transport. It's about time the government stopped subsidising unhealthy wastefulness.

I've been vegan for almost 30 years and have 3 healthy adult children who have never eaten any animal produce at all. Why bother with dairy farming when there are so many delicious, healthy 'alternatives to dairy milk' available nowadays? No slurry, no slaughter, no diseases!
How will farmers "prove" that it is necessary to cull Badgers, (and other wildlife that can carry bTB) when our WAG and English scientific studies show that that they can't? I have yet to see any evidence published by WAG that has been carried out by genuinely indipendant, not on the payrole scientists. As for industrial dairy farming has anyone done the "science"? The farm I can see from my bedroom window has recently built a large open shed in which cattle are kept 24/7. The lights are on all night and it is quite open to vermin (and Badgers) the food is always present and I have now the pleasure of slurry tankers up and down what used to be a fairly quiet lane. I too buy no Welsh produce in protest and have not done so since the cull was announced.
Can i just say great comments Derek H and Rowena...
absolutely correct about infectious diseases originating in intensive farms ,
Bovine tB is a man made disease (something hushed up by defra)
The microorganism originates in slurry pit along with lots of other bacteria, virus and protozoans.
Rowena you have been vegan all your life and you wil probably outlive most carnivores, I've been vegetarian all of my life (my mother was veg) and i've always been a strong lad and thanking our Lord, I never get ill at all.
I've tried being vegan but my love of cheese is a barrier, Chocolate soya milk is fab, I will get to be Vegan i hope, willpower
Hi J Senn
If you think of cheese as a junk food (that it is officially) it might be easier to give up cheese.
Giving up cheese was a problem when I decided to go vegan.
Cheesly is a reasonable dairy free alternative and there are plenty of vegan chocolates about.
Being a vegetarian you of course support the dairy industry and don't forget that for every cow slaughtered due to bTB 6 are slaughtered due to mastitis, lameness or infertility.
You don't hear Government or the farmers worry about this scandal - all preventable.
I wonder why? The farmer has had his moneys worth from these cows destined for an early death after intense suffering.
Derek Hector
j.senn, I wrote that I've been vegan for almost 30 years, not my whole life (I'm 51 but my kids are life vegans, the eldest is 25). So I know what you mean about cheese. But it's one of those things that you stop missing eventually.

You could also try thinking about cheese mites, see interesting article here about a film called 'The Unseen World' from 1903, which featured cheese mites and was one of the first films banned by the British Government (under pressure from cheese makers):


I predict and hope for exponential growth in veganism over the coming years!
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