Not another #BadgerCull

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

What is 58 Minutes?

What is 58 minutes?

Obviously I can calculate it’s 3480 seconds and according to Google is it also 1358 in Military time (don’t ask me to explain, I still don’t full understand what Military time is!) a book, a song, co-ordinates and for some reason if you type in 58 minutes it also shows up 58 minutes pour vivre which if you follow the links takes you to information about Die Hard 2?! (You can have that useless bit of knowledge for free!)

However more worryingly 28 minutes is also the amount of time I spent walking yesterday. Not on one walk……. in total. I didn’t even spend 1 hour walking around in the entire 15(ish) hours I was awake.

Is it just me that finds this horrifying?

The worse part is it isn’t fully my fault. My job ties me to a desk, the only chance I get away from it is when I walk to the loo or make a round of coffees for the office. Yesterday, I came in and didn’t just sit down and slob. The evening involved a little DIY, I watered my garden (using a watering can, so multiple trips) and I took Mity for a half hour walk.

I know I don’t get up every morning and go for a run, I know I need to get back on my bike and stop using my car, but having a house to DIY is such a good, get out of excercise excuse! However forgetting the ‘intentional excercise’ of running or cycling. I didn’t think my normal day to day life was quite so lazy.

I like to think I am healthy. I enjoy being outside. I love swimming, cycling, walking the dogs. I eat well; salad for lunch most days, significantly smaller portions since I started living alone and I am even upping my fruit intake. I don’t have sugar in tea. I only occasionally eat chocolate, in fact I discovered that if I have a sweet something, usually a ‘gooey’ biscuit, after my tea that does my craving for the evening. I don’t particularly like crisps…….don’t have sweets in the house…..hardly snack between meals and if I do it is nuts or fruit. Ok, I do drink now and then, but hey no one’s perfect right?! I do have bad days but on the whole I think I am doing ok.

I have always struggled with my weight. I only need to look at a chocolate bar and I seem to gain the extra calories but I have always wondered why. In fact I had a very honest conversation with the ex where he admitted he doesn’t know why I am the weight I am. We lived together so he knew what I ate, how much I exercised. It was reassuring to hear someone else confirm what I was thinking.

I always put it down to faulty genes, assumed I was just unlucky, but now I can’t help but wonder if it is tied to something else.

We (and yes I am aware I am vastly stereo-typing the entire human race) spend an awful lot of our time sat on our asses. As we work longer hours, eat lunch at our desks, drive everywhere is it any surprise that we are heavier than we have ever been? Add into that a generation of people who don’t know how to cook (I know of one girl that didn’t know she had to peel an onion before chopping it!) so turn to fast food, take outs, frozen tv dinners. All high calorie,all low nutritional values (assumption again!).

I think there has always been an assumption, you see a fat person and assume they spend their days sitting glugging coke and eating nothing but chocolate, crips and goose fat. Yet it could be that they are just living a normal, hectic life, ferrying kids to different classes, racing to the shops in the car to pick up a missing ingredient before they cook tea.

The world is facing an obesity epidemic. People are getting fatter and fast food doesn’t help. But I am starting to think that just our every day life style is also playing a major role and that’s possibly even more scary.