Friday, 5 July 2013

Slamming the Stable Door After the Badger Has Bolted.

In one of my earlier blogs of Sunday 9th June, “George Would Have Told Them to Keep Dodging the Lead”, which by the way, I hope the badgers continue to do, key evidence has emerged from the EC on the dangers of 13million cattle movements per year in the UK. 
The European commission in its evidence to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee (EFRA) states that the UK has more movements of cattle than any other country in the EU.  They urged for greater movement restrictions to be introduced as a priority as cattle movement is such an important part of disease transmission.  Living out in the country this has been clearly visible for the last twenty five years with the closing down of small abattoirs, cattle markets and the small to medium cattle lorry companies going out of business giving way to the so called ‘Super Abattoirs’ with their own network of hauliers. 
The findings of the European Commission are:
 “Around 40% of all British cattle are moved annually and over 13 million cattle movements take place every year as farmers buy and sell stock.  Closely mirroring the historic rise in Bovine TB cases is the rise in cattle movements with 480,294 more cattle moved in 2010 than 2009, cattle movements have more than quadrupled between 1999 (3,373,646) and 2010 there were (13,690,294) and have involved over 127million animals since 1998.”  
So it seems to me to be very disingenuous to be blaming the badger for all the Bovine TB ills.  The farmers have a living to make, like any other industry they need to be profitable but farm subsidies could have been better targeted to have got a handle on this problem when Bovine TB numbers started to increase immeasurably.  Now it appears that they are slamming the stable door after the badger has bolted.  If we are to believe all we hear about regulations never being stricter, beef welfare never being better, why were we all so alarmed when we were woken to the fact earlier on in the year that as much as 20% of ready meals were being made out of horsemeat?  It seems clear, that type of regulation is neither use nor ornament.
In my humble opinion, Owen Paterson’s time would be better spent trying to alleviate the problems around the transmission of Bovine TB in cattle movement than being hell bent on wiping out 70% of all British badgers, but then I suppose shooting the badger is the easiest option. It requires a lot less thought and tenacity, something our ministers seem to be lacking.  Irrational actions have created a litany of disasters throughout the countryside over the last 30 to 40 years.  Let’s not add to it in the case of the badger.

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