Described in our post below - or linked courtesy of the Link Fairy - are 3 options for the control of badgers by Defra, or farmers, or farmers and Defra. All are subject to a high profile 'consultation' excercise taking 3 months. But how legal would it be?
Our mole Matthew has been digging into the can do's and cannot do's of Bern, and as far as we can see, the Minister's options are not possible under this convention.
However as always, we stand corrected if wrong. Hey, we're only farmers for goodness sake!
Britain signed up to the convention in 1982. It was amended in 2002.
Appendix 111 / Annex 111 gives a listing of Protected status species, updated 2002, in which meles meles - our friendly neighbourhood stripey badger- is listed, in the section Carnivora.
But since 1st March 2002, in 'Prohibited means and methods of killing, capture and other forms of exploitation', Bern lists an extensive - if not inventive - array which cannot be applied to said protected species, listed in Annex 111.
Appendix IV / Annexe IV :
Live animal decoys,
Tape recorders (do they think we would strangle the target with the tape?)
Electrical devices, Artificial light souces (night sights?)
Mirrors and other dazzling devices (Bradshaw?)
Devices for illuminating targets (If you mean a torch, why not say so?)
Sighting devices for night shooting
Explosives (except for whales)
Nets and Traps (if applied to large scale or non selective capture or killing)
Poisoned or anaesthetic bait
Gassing or smoking out
Semi automatic or automatic weapons capable of holding more than two rounds of ammunition, Aircraft (???!!)
Motor vehicles - in motion.
So what options does that leave?
We cannot use aircraft, so that leaves motor vehicles but only if they're stationary. Lamping with night sights is a no no, particularly if the shotgun or rifle has more than 2 rounds in the chamber, so no machine guns. No snares (did Ireland sign up to this?) No gassing or even trapping as part of a non selctive cull.
Well I guess we could ask them (politely) to leave, or creep up behind them and garotte, with the tape recorder's tape. Or we could just say 'boo' and pretend they've gone.......
So exactly what is our Minister of Fisheries' " Consultation" all about?
As we said, he intends to take the quid, but under Bern could he even think about delivering the pro quo ?