I am massively disappointed to have just learnt that yet again the powers that be have sanctioned a completely ineffective badger cull. I had hoped we had seen the last of this ‘great plan’ as I am pretty certain the last one was described as an “abysmal failure” by anyone with half a brain cell. But I was wrong, it would appear the powers that be haven’t learnt their lesson and are going to yet again ‘cull’.
I have been considering a post on the badger cull for a few days now. I was watching the ‘Young Farmers’ programme on Channel 4 and this week it touched on bovine TB. You couldn’t help but feel the despair of these farmers as they struggled with infected cattle. One farmer had been shut down for over a year, unable to buy or sell cows. Another was facing financial ruin, his mates and other farmers rallied round to help but still he was struggling. One told the story of a friend who had been pushed to the edge as he had had to shoot all of the cows he owned, watching the calves kicking in the bellies of their slaughtered mother. Watching the programme I was getting crosser and crosser and a number of times I couldn’t help but exclaim “we should be doing more”.
However killing badgers is not the answer.
I can’t help but a badge cull is seen as an easy out. The government can loudly proclaim ‘look at us doing our bit to help the poor farmers (give it time and I’m sure they will be visiting them for the obligatory ‘we care’ photo shoot) whilst actually being completely ineffective and failing to achieve anything – although that shouldn’t be a surprise I am starting to think that completely ineffective and out of touch should be the definition of government in the dictionary.
So what would I do?
You know what I’m not 100% sure. I don’t have all the answers but how about
- We start paying farmers a fair price for their produce. Farming is a high risk business, they are reliant on so many variable which they cannot control, let’s make sure they can afford to have a small nest egg to be built up so they have something to fall back on when they face hard times, a failed harvest, a TB farm closure…… I believe the pile it high, sell it cheap culture that we are breeding is extremely detrimental. Everyone is up in arms about obesity epidemic but the powers that be don’t seem to understand that it is in no small part tied to the crap that people put in their mouths. “Madam would you like this naturally raised, organic high welfare chicken breast for £5 or can I instead tempt you with this low welfare, stuffed full of growth hormone, water and god knows what ‘chicken breast’ 10 for 30p?” And you know full well the cuts are being made on the price paid to the farmers. When we have farmers pouring gallons of milk down the drain because they can’t sell it you know something is wrong.
- We financially support the famers when times are hard. As a nation we support people when they are too ill to work, we support people when they are searching for jobs and we support bankers who need to have their big bonuses because we all know they just simply couldn’t survive if they could not afford their month on their private yacht, eating caviar and coiffing Dom Perignon. Yet the hard working farmer… if times are hard they should be able to turn to the government for support.
- We work harder on finding a solution to bovine TB which actually works. From what I have read there is a vaccine, however we can’t use as once vaccinated, if a cow had a ‘test’ it will provide a positive result and then ‘we’ don’t know if the cow has TB or has been vaccinated. Surely with greater minds then mine working on this there is a way to get round this problem while the scientists work out a way to differentiate between a ‘positive result’ and a vaccinated cow. I can’t help but believe that with a little planning, maybe some short term inconvenience using a system of quarantine, country wide (and for the country I am including Scotland and Wales) vaccination and a little financial backing a workable solution is not 10 years away and does not have to involve the mass slaughter of hundreds of innocent creatures (not only the badgers but the thousands of cattle that have to be killed).
As I said, I don’t have all the answers. But I couldn’t stay quiet any longer. The situation the farmers find themselves in and the cull is wrong.
Growing up I naively believed that the government listened to and represented its people. So I am adding my voice to the hundreds of others calling for an end to the cull. I am adding my voice to the hundreds of others calling for better support for our farmers.
I am very aware that I don’t have the power to change anything. However I am hoping that by speaking out, someone who does is somewhere listening and will feel empowered to act.
If you would like to make a stand for badgers then visit http://www.rspca.org.uk/getinvolved/campaign/badgers/takeaction to send an email to the new Environment Secretary, Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP