Monday 31 March 2014

Not right, not fair, not guilty

Hundreds turned out in Exeter on Saturday to show their condemnation and outrage at the Government's disastrous badger cull policy.  The Badger Army has been noisily making its way around the country, and finally came to the Devon capital, to Belmont Park, a stone's throw from our flat.

Owen Paterson blamed badgers for moving the goalposts - it looks like he's finally proven right!

Those who know me will know I am vociferously opposed to this cull, which has no basis in science or ethics.  The badger cull is nothing more than a cynical attempt by the current administration to dangle a carrot in front of dairy farmers, in a last-gasp attempt to be seen to be doing something.  They know, as well as we know, that this policy will not reduce TB in cattle.  This blog believes the Government should take a modern, forward-thinking and holistic approach to the problem of bovine TB, one that actually delivers benefits to both our wildlife and struggling farmers.  As is overwhelmingly demonstrated by the science, there can no place for a cull of badgers in tackling this problem long-term.

Badger Army in Belmont Park

But in a much larger sense, this is not simply a badger issue.  The obsessive, state-endorsed demonisation of the badger over the last 12 months should send a chilling feeling down the spine of any wildlife lover.  In our countryside, we have the last, best, greatest resource on earth.  On our doorsteps we can enjoy, for no financial cost at all, the thrill of spotting deer in a forest, the pleasure of bird-watching in a meadow, the joy of feeling summer butterflies come flapping by your face on a warm August day.  If we allow the persecution and obliteration of one iconic native species, who knows where the madness will take us, next time a creature is blamed for another of man's mistakes in the agricultural industry.  It's not like the industry doesn't have form when it comes to cutting corners and compromising on bio-security - we all remember mad cow disease, we'll never forget foot-and-mouth.

Marching down Sidwell Street

I remember the first time I saw a badger - I was 17, and on a late-night wander to the kitchen, noticed the security light spring on outside.  I tentatively peeked, expecting to see a cat, but to my surprise I witnessed a badger, on its hind-legs, peering gingerly over the top of a low-standing bird table.  The same badger visited for some months after that, and each time I would follow it from within the house, clamouring room-to-room for another peek of this magical creature.  It was an experience I will never forget, a memory of the natural world that will stay with me forever.  Nobody has the right to deny our children that same pleasure.

Marching through the Cathedral Green

The Government will not win this fight - we cannot let it, because if it does, nothing in our beloved countryside is safe from the sheer exploitation and cynical short-sighted politics of those who view our greatest natural resource only in terms of profit.  British wildlife is not ours to own.  It is not ours to abuse.  It is not ours to scapegoat.  It is not ours to kick around like a cheap political football.  It is ours to enjoy, ours to care for, ours to nurture, and ours only so we can pass it on to the next generation.  Stop the blame.  Stop the lies.  Stop the cull.

1 comment:

  1. Well done...a brilliant piece of well put! Mr Badger would be proud! ;-)