Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Encouraging signs

I've been heartened by people's response to the news about Sir David King's completely unscientific decision to recommend a badger cull over the past 24 hours. Among all the anger are some very good points that have been made. Bovine TB has actually declined dramatically since the 1930s, and if badgers are responsible for passing it on, it's because it was introduced to them through livestock. Of the tens of thousands of badgers culled since the 1980s, a tiny proportion have been found to have had bovine TB.

Once again, the farming lobby is up in arms because all it is interested in is money. These so-called guardians of the countryside have possibly the worst environmental record of them all - they're so knowledgeable about the land they live in that they're constantly lurching from one crisis to another, often of their own volition. Having been brought up in the middle of Wales in the 1980s, I've seen first-hand just how caring and knowledgeable they are: these are people who couldn't understand why their fields flooded after draining wetland and marsh land to gain a few extra acres to farm for profit. And believe me, in the 1980s they were profitable, judging by the fancy new cars they were driving on EEC grant money.

The situation today with them being held over the barrel by supermarkets is of their own making too - chasing easy money instead of standing up for past values. I am of course generalising, but forgive me if I have no sympathy with a group of people whose environmental record is as bad as anyone else's.

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