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To ‘Cull or not to Cull’ that is the question?

14 Jun

The ‘badger cull’ debate rages on and on,

Who is right?

Who is wrong?

The Government says, “this is the right thing to do”.

Those who are opposed says, “it’s barbaric and cruel”.

There are two sides of a coin, between what is right,

Farmers, Government and Activists fight.

It can’t go on, we must stop the spread,

Either way you see it, ‘animals end up dead’.

There are no easy answers…..

….. and no easy choices,

So many opinions, so many voices.

So the debate continues to divide,

Where do YOU stand?

What is YOUR side?

The debate badgers on…

6 Jun

On Wednesday the 5th of June, the commons debate on the call to drop the proposed pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset over the summer were rejected by 299 votes to 250.

The government says that the spread of Bovine TB, which is known to be spread by badgers is costing farmers and the wider economy more than £500m.

Farmers and supporters of the cull have said that they have had enough and are at ‘their wits end’. Though others have questioned the true effectiveness and have called for alternatives.

It was reported that 28,00 cattle were destroyed last year due to the infection of Bovine TB.

The government has also said that, ‘Scientific Tests’, have demonstrated a link between infected badgers and cattle. They added that culling significantly reduces incidents of Bovine Tb.

But Animal Right activists are planning to take direct action to stop the slaughter of more than 5,000 badgers, who will be shot in the open without being first trapped in cages, (which is the current practice). They argue that vaccinating badgers would be a more effective approach and to them a more humane way to stop the spread of Bovine TB.

Conservative MP for The Cotswolds, Geoffrey Clinton-Brown has said, “badgers could become ‘vicious’ when caught in cages, and that it would be a non-starter to vaccinate a large number of TB ‘hotspots’.

But on the flip side, Labour MP for Derby North commented, “there was no scientific evidence to suggest that the culling of these animals would have the desired effect”.  ” In fact in contrast it would result in animals ‘dying in agony’ and further enraging public opinion.

Andrew George who is the Lib Dem MP for St Ives, has suggested that “ministers are willing to back a vaccination trial in Cornwall, which he said would cost around £2m”. He continued by saying, “surely this would be cheaper than having to police the ongoing demonstrations against the badger culls, and that animals welfare groups could contribute to some of the cost of the experiments”.

The head of the charity ‘Care for the Wild’, Philip Mansbridge has accused the government of “offering farmers false hope”. “Common sense shows that culling is simply a ‘no-win’ solution and that  the killing will go on and on, without a real dent being made in this devastating disease”.

So the battle rages on…..

Will there ever be a solution, that is practical, workable and productive for all concerned?

Are the government treading a dangerous line in solving this ongoing issue and the devastation, that is costing millions of pounds?

I can see this battle and debate for all those involved raging on and on, with no real outcome or solution reached that will please all sides.

So…. watch this space…. I am sure we haven’t heard the end of this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Badger Cull Update – The Cull is Spreading

18 Jan

 

It’s not just Gloucestershire and Somerset in the firing line… As we know, the ‘winter cull’ was postponed and now it seems that the original cull areas may be considered more ‘low risk’ in regards to badgers carrying bovine tuberculosis. Other regions have now been considered a priority.

“It is the right and responsible thing to ensure that the best areas are selected to be pilots for the planned cull of badgers.” (NFU Spokesperson) It’s believed that Devon, Cornwall and Derbyshire may be considered.

The NFU Spokesperson was happy with the number of farmers who were backing the scheme in Somerset but appeared less confident about Gloucestershire. “If Gloucestershire drops out at least we would have other areas…”

We’re sure that, no matter where or when the cull takes place, protesters will do their utmost to disrupt proceedings. I’m wondering whether it’ll ever take place! We might be updating you for the next 5 years…

Badger culling – the first licence is issued

19 Sep

Brian May won’t be pleased…… 100,000 badgers to be culled – Yes the first licence for a large-scale cull of badgers has been issued. Badgers will be killed over a 300 square-kilometre area in west Gloucestershire to help curb the scourge of TB in cattle.

So, can we see this as a positive step? Owen Paterson (environment secretary) says he hopes so. However, can culling be proven to reduce the risk and spread of disease? Scientists who carried out a decade long culling trial say NO.

So is this a ‘bloody and pointless slaughter’ (Mark Jones, Humane Society International). Can these problems with animal disease really be ‘ironed out’ by the culling of others?

Paterson, a strong supporter of the cull, said: “I want to see a prosperous, healthy badger population living alongside healthy cattle. We would all like to have a vaccine but we have not got one. So we should use the measures used effectively in other countries to bear down on the disease in wildlife and in cattle.” Of course it would be ideal for badgers and cows to live in perfect rural harmony, so what about giving vaccinations a go?

The RSPB’s Martin Harper believes vaccination to be the best hope. “We have never been convinced that the best way to help farmers is to force them to foot the bill for a contentious cull that is only expected to reduce outbreaks by about 16%….’

Animal rights campaigners are determined to halt the trials through protests at the cull sites, whose location is not being made public. Volunteers plan to patrol the zones and stop the badgers coming into the open.

Hmmm will culling curb the TB crisis – what do you think?

Badger culling and Brian May

28 Aug

Brian May of Queen

Well, an unholy row is brewing between Brian May of Queen and the NFU.  Why is this?  It’s that old chestnut, badger culling to help prevention of bovine TB that I have been blogging about for some time now.  The pilot sites have been approved, a legal objection has been over ruled so it looks as if a culling pilot will commence.

Back to the row – Brian May wrote an article in the Mail on Sunday which was around voting Conservative (which he did) and the approval of badger culling.  Mr May intimated that he would not vote for David Cameron in the future as he has allowed the badger culling to go ahead and that this is a “particularly nasty kind of Conservatism”.  He also said that anyone that disagreed with the culling was branded as a ‘nutter’ by the NFU and Countryside Alliance.

The NFU has responded that it is wrong to politicize the debate rather than treating it as an animal welfare issue particularly as Mr May linked the culling to blood sports – hare coursing and hunting etc…

Well, the jury is out on whether the pilot culls will work and then if they will be extended, but one thing I am certain of is that we haven’t heard the last from Brian May yet.

Clement the Cuckoo and his trip to Cameroon

26 Mar

I was browsing through various stories this morning and this one amused me – yes, I am easily amused.  Apparently, Clement the Cuckoo is missing.  So what I hear and who is Clement the CuckooImage?

Clement was one of 5 cuckoos that were tagged in 2011 in Norfolk by the British Trust for Ornithology and Clement seemed to have been flying around Cameroon very happily when he dropped off the radar.The other 4 cuckoos have generally appeared at a later date when they have lost their way, but Clement is feared dead; RIP Clement.

The reason behind tagging cuckoos was to trace their migratory habits as they are in decline in the UK.  Clement was the first cuckoo in history to take a western migration route from Europe to Africa via Spain rather than the normal route via Italy.  He then made his way from Senegal to The Congo where he joined his four friends in the rainforest.

Sadly, cuckoos are not the only bird that is in decline, others include the nightingale, yellow wagtail and turtle dove, but there is an urgency with the cuckoo as their numbers are declining rapidly.

Have you heard a cuckoo in recent years? I’m not sure that I have.

Badger culling – Part four

11 Mar

This old chestnut has raised its head again. The Labour Party applied through the Freedom of Information Act to obtain advice that was given to the government by the group Natural England.

Natural England says that badger culling in the form that it’s going to take in the two pilots, could make the situation worse.

Previously, culling was done in a scientific manner -RBCT-Randomized Badger Culling Trial.  Large numbers of badgers were culled virtually simultaneously and this was sustained over a four-year period.  The way that the culling will be done in the new pilots may only disturb the badgers so that they move into other areas thus spreading disease and more cattle will be affected with TB.

Natural England concludes that even if the cull areas are expanded, it is unlikely that the existence of badgers will be in danger, but, they may eventually disappear from some areas.

 

 

Thank you to BBC.co.uk

Aside

More about badger culling; update

20 Jan

Well, the badger culling pilot has been given the green light.  The first areas will be west Gloucestershire and west Somerset and is likely to start in August for a period of 6 weeks.  This will just be a start and is likely to progress to other areas and the aim is to reduce badger populations inside the cull zones by at least 70%.  Defra anticipates allowing 10 new cull zones each year.

Why has this been given the go-ahead?  The aim is to reduce tuberculosis in cattle and there have been strong debates for and against culling; Brian May of Queen has been particularly vociferous as a voice against badger culling.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says that “culling in highly affected areas can constrain a disease that is costing about £100m per year and necessitates the death of tens of thousands of cattle”.  However, opponents, including scientists who spent a decade researching the issue, argue that culling cannot be a cost-effective way of tackling the disease and that it may destroy the badgers’ social structure so that they may move to other areas thus spreading the tuberculosis bacterium to other farms.

I wonder if we are just a bit sentimental about the badger, perhaps more so than deer or moles and if that alters our judgement.  I am going to sit on the fence in my blog about my opinion on culling, but my opinion is based on the effect on wildlife and whether I feel any cull would be effective anyway.Image

The confusing issue of seagulls

9 Jan

Seagulls – what on earth could be confusing about a seagull?  Aren’t they just big birds by the sea that make an awful lot of noise and when heard, take you right back to your childhood days spent by the seaside?  Yes, there is that, but did you know that Herring gulls are on the RSPB red status list as being in decline and that the Lesser Black-backed gull is on the amber list?  And now I have told you, you are probably thinking ‘so what?’.  So what indeed.  Seaside residents are reporting that the number of gulls is increasing and they cause havoc amongst the residents, make a terrible mess and noise and some seagulls are poking their beaks into black rubbish bags, spreading the rubbish around and we all know what that attracts….oh yes, rats!

Culling is out of the question due to the RSPB status, so one enterprising council has come up with the idea of a fine.  A fine of anything up to £2500 for feeding the gulls.  Quite how this will be policed could be interesting and challenging, but all the same, Aldeburgh in Suffolk is now a now gull zone.  So, forget about Mary Poppins feeding the birds as this could land you with a whopper of a New Year present of an eye-watering £2500 fine.

There is a serious side to all of this and the National Pest Technician’s Association is keeping a keen eye on this as it is felt that the ‘green’ issues are taking precedent over looking after the public’ health- we will be watching this carefully.

Note: References Daily Telegraph 24 October 2011 and Today’s Technician January 2012

Bird Proofing Norfolk

Up, up on the roof

21 Nov

Up, up on the roof – thank goodness it’s so far, been a mild autumn as the Abate team would not have been having such a great time on top of the scaffolding and the tower.  What on earth were we doing up there?  Bird-proofing of course.  We were laying down tracks of  ‘scalextric’, not because we were boys with our toys, but to repel birds, particularly pigeons.

The system we use is Avishock so there are no unsightly spikes and netting to spoil the building aesthetics and it’s humane.  When a bird touches the building,  a slight shock is emitted and the bird flies away.

That’s me with the blue hat on…

Can you see me?

It's going to be blowy up there