Thursday, February 24, 2005

"'Conservationists' say Beckett and Bennett should Apologise for Tb Spread"

That was the headline of an NFBG press release, timed to coincide with an address to the NFU Conference by Secretary of State Margaret Beckett on Monday 21st. February.

Given the content of the post below, and Dr. Stanton's records of the exponential population explosion in badgers, one might question the adjective "conservationist" when applied to the NFBG. Better describe them as a single species support group which having awarded an omnivourous predator whose numbers now far outweigh any vestige of rarity, 'cult' status, show no concern whatsoever for its victims within the wider ecology. But the delightful Dr. Elaine wouldn't do that, and her press release blames both Defra and the NFU for allowing unrestricted cattle movement as farmers restocked after FMD, to spread bovine Tb to every region of England and into Wales.

Really? Strange that in counties that didn't suffer the carnage of FMD and subsequent restocking, the problem is just as bad. In fact the 7 small hotspots which showed on Defra's maps of 1997 have exploded - and grown to a coast to coast red from Cornwall to Carlisle. They were there (small and manageable) in 1997, but with absolutely no control of the wildlife maintainance reservoir of Tb, have expanded outwards and upwards to become an utter disgrace to all those to claim to have responsibility for these years of non-policy.

We are told that Mrs. Beckett's speech to the NFU consisted of "many words with little content". Vaccuous statements involving more 'research' and 'reviews' - which will certainly take this administration through to the coming election - if not the election after that. But it could be that the good lady will choose to hide behind Ben Bradshaw's skirts and announce any nasty bits from the safety of Page street - rather than to the floor of farmers on the sharp end.

One phrase which seems to be making a regular appearance from both the ISG and Mrs. Beckett, is the "cost effectiveness" of any management of Tb infected wildlife. One assumes that they mean the cost of badger trapping - which may have been taken from the Krebbs' team's antics with less than 50 percent of the target group actually trapped (and those probably the strongest and healthiest of the lot) - and divided into John Bourne's expenses, finally arriving at a horrendous figure of £X thousand per badger. But another way of looking at 'cost effectiveness' if one is highly cynical - as Matthew 5 is after 4 years under restriction with a home bred herd - is the potential 'drought' of drip fed 'donations' into government coffers from so-called wildlife charities if 'management' of populations is mentioned.

Think about it!

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