Friday, June 29, 2007

"not a lot of bloody help to us..."

... was how the now recycled (again) Lord Rooker described what wasn't made clear after ten years and several £million, in the ISG 280 page report.

(From PQ's archived on this site, we are certain that the epidemiological information which his Lordship sought is within his department - ed)

Speaking at Derbyshire county show last week, Lord Rooker - at the time of his interview, Food and Farming Minister - confirmed that cabinet opinion after receipt of draft chapters of the document, had been on the verge of instigating the go ahead for action to be resumed where wildlife were implicated in herd breakdowns. The final unequivocal conclusions of the ISG, contained in a letter from its chairman, and presumably based on these 'draft chapters' "took a lot of people by surprise". Lord Rooker also criticised the ISG for going beyond its remit, and "deviating off into practical and financial issues, which was not really what they were asked to deal with".

Describing his contact with owners of herds 'closed' to incoming cattle for 30 years, now under restriction, an exasperated Lord Rooker asked the question we have posed "how did that come from cattle-to-cattle transmission?".

Lord Rooker confirmed that a cull of wildlife reservoirs of Tb was still on the agenda. "It does mean to say it should not be part of the armoury."

Full report in Farmers Guardian


Anonymous said...

QUOTES from - SKY Ch 295

Speaking to Jonathan Dimbleby on Farming Matters, the rural affairs current affairs programme on Horse and Country TV to be screened on Monday 2nd July, Lord Rooker says the Government has the legal right to bring in a mass, sustained cull and is looking at this even though it may result in legal challenges from wildlife groups.

Lord Rooker says, "The fact of the matter is the legalities are such that we are looking at this option (a sustained mass cull)." The expense of a large scale cull, he adds are not an issue as the disease is already costing the tax payer £90 million a year.

"We cannot run away from this. This is a disease in a food production animal. We cannot be looked at as a country by outsiders, when we are exporting more food and drink than ever before in our history, and seen to be doing nothing. If we ever get the badge again that we played fast and loose, like we did with BSE and one or two other issues and got bans imposed on us from outside, we’d be in real trouble. So it's the Government's responsibility to what we can to eradicate this disease from food production animals."

Asked by Jonathan Dimbleby whether the Government were prepared to face down the anti-culling lobby Lord Rooker said "The legal position under the badger legislation is that landowners can apply for a license under the badger laws and that is the legal position. What ever we do (by the way) we're going to end up in court because there are opposing groups here. I don't see that as a Government where we are responsible for safe food and animal welfare that we can to sit back and do nothing. There's a lot of animal husbandry things to be done as well as maybe dealing with the wildlife growth. The growth of the badger has been enormous in terms of numbers."

Lord Rooker added though that there was never any plan to completely eradicate the badger. "There will never be any plan to eradicate the badger from England. No farmer I’ve ever spoken to has ever requested that. I spoke to a farmer recently who said "I can cope with 10 sets on the farm, I want to live with the badger but I've got 60. What can I do? I want to live with the wildlife, but what can I do?"

Worth a look?

Peter Brady


Matthew said...

Thanks for that. As Lord Rooker so rightly pointed out, being the 'dirty' man of Europe as far as our agricultural trading status is concerned, is becoming a habit, up with which the Commission will not put.

Anonymous said...


I forgot to mention that the new DEFRA Minister - Hiliary Benn - is a declared 'vegetarian' and against 'wildlife management' - ie fox hunting with hounds.

Apart from that I'm sure he will act responsibly(?)

Peter Brady


George said...

Many vegetarians eat cheese - but not much will be produced in the UK soon if we loose our milking herds - which is a real prospect if the situation continues as it is...

Anonymous said...

From Ian Pettyfer, who works on a family farm in mid-Devon:
"Since giving up maize growing 15 years ago, our badger numbers, which
had quadrupled over the previous 15 years, have been steadily declining
and I have no other explanation. This year the number of occupied setts
seems to be down to almost single figures for the first time since the
1960s, and those that are occupied are nothing like as active as usual.
And before anyone comes to the obvious conclusion, no, we are not
slaughtering badgers, and to the best of my knowledge, nor are any of
our neighbours."

So now badger numbers are down?!
I thought they were 'spiralling out of control'!
And as for that anonymous farmer Lord Rooker quotes who says he had 10 setts on his farm and that's now up to 60, I wonder if he means main setts/subsiduary setts/inactive setts/ annexes/holes in the ground?? Because that makes a big difference in the actual number of badgers.

I really think it would help us all to move things forward if people who want to cull badgers would at least take the trouble to find out a bit more about them.

Matthew said...

Thankyou for that Anon. 12.50
We understand from contributers in the SW that Mr. Pettifer also swopped dairying for extensively grazed suckler cows over a similar time scale.

So it could be argued that the badger population which had burgeoned fourfold on a dairy-fed cattle habitat, which included maize 'dramatically declined' when the ecology of that particular farm changed.