At a time when the badger population is at saturation point with endemic tuberculosis causing suffering and a lingering death to many, and a spill over from which has condemned hundreds of thousands of cattle to a premature end, Defra has backed an award for the NFBG.
At a ceremony attended by Eliot Morley, the NFBG received the Defra backed 'Partner of the Year' award for its work against the odious pastime known as 'badger baiting'.
The timing of this 'award', as tuberculosis in the cattle herds reaches an all time high and 350 vets (even those relying on Defra's LVI licenses ) have signed a letter voicing their concern into the Minister of State's handling of the situation is a vivid reminder - if farmers needed one - as to where Defra's loyalties lie.
Shadow Minister Owen Paterson MP, declared he was 'flabbergasted'.
He continued "You cannot let one species, a dominant predator like the badger take over like this. Wildlife needs to be 'managed'. To leave things as they are would incredibly cruel to badgers. While we slaughter cattle with bovine Tb, badgers are suffering as the disease is allowed to run its course".
The National Farmers Union took a similar view, and while commending the NFBG for its work against badger baiters felt the announcement of the 'award' and the involvement by Defra was 'badly timed".
Having cleared his farm of sick and suffering badgers, and kept the area Tb free for 5 years, farmer Bryan Hill is less diplomatic. "Defra backing awards like this when we have a major problem all over the country is the most stupid thing I've ever heard." he said, "If nothing is done to tackle this disease, then it will become a disaster".
We have posted comments and research on this site from Wildlife Trust members who back 'management', and control of dominant predator species for the benefit of less high profile members of the ecology. We have logged the damage and disease caused by a population at saturation point of badgers with endemic tuberculosis, who have learned to their cost the benefit of total protection under the law. Far from 'protecting' them, the misguided, highly vocal anthropomorphism which elevated these beautiful animals to 'cult' status in the first place, has by its very success, now condemned them to a slow, lingering death.
As tuberculosis in the UK cattle herds reaches nearly 6 percent of the national herd, and the cost to the taxpayer is predicted as £2 billion over the next ten years (surely a couple of 'schoolsandhospitals' at least) with impeccable timing, Defra has shown a cavalier disregard and utter contempt for the industry it pretends to represent.
Thanks 'Partner' - Why are we not surprised?