Staff from Defra's Wildlife Unit who have been on the sharp end of controlling badgers for many years, and in more recent times have been part of the Krebs team are under notice to quit.
Their knowledge and skills were somewhat underused in the RBCT. PQ's suggested that far from setting traps and catching tuberculous badgers for John Bourne they actually spent 5 hours per day - each - on the motorways - but let that pass.
Around 100 skilled men, with intimate knowledge of countryside, farms and woodland were under notice to quit from the end of March, and even up to last week their redundancy notices were not to be confirmed until the result of the current 'consultation' on badger culling was announced. This they felt was 'sensible'.
But we hear today that these excellent and skilled staff have been offered 'cash in lieu of notice'. Effective - any time soon. Next week?
Clearly Defra are sticking to the line of the 'consultation' that they will have absolutely nothing to do with controlling this Group 3 pathogen, which is in fact 100 per cent their responsibility and absolutely not, ' farmers'. But more to the point, why have Defra instigated a phoney 'consultation excercise' which was ever going to polarise entrenched opinions even more?
Wild statements are being issued from the RSPCA, Badger Trust and others, based on misleading information or downright lies. But all this was predictable. So why do it? Was it necessary at all? We do not think so. Both sides in this debate (and if honesty was to the fore, there should be only one side - the eradication of tuberculosis) have been manouvred and used. Farmers have been handed a poisoned chalice by Defra, "You sort it out" with the stick of tabular valuations and pre movement testing used to beat them. The carrot we suspect will be that Defra agree to pay for the latter. And the animal charities? Most of their web sites have a button every half an inch marked 'Donate'. And that they will do, straight into government coffers. We have the best administration money can buy.
Meanwhile the men who could oversee, spearhead and train up a co-ordinated control strategy, will be .... not there. We can just see the headlines "Defra has no staff to offer help in this".
Well they wouldn't have if they'd just been paid off, would they?
But none of this bitter polemic answers the question, "From where, when bought in cattle are excluded does this most infectious zoonsis come from?" The man in the moon? With 2 cows to go to slaughter, our SW 'Matthew' would like an answer.