Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A (very) small step..

.. was announced (reluctantly?) yesterday, by Secretary of State, Caroline Spelman. Two 'pilot' culls of badgers in hotspot areas, with locations decided by the farmers concerned, under licenses issued (at some point) by Natural England and monitored on their progress.

Farmers Guardian has the story. And the ever hopeful BBC, trumpets a headline "There will be no badger cull in England this year. The time line following this shaky announcement, with the Secretary of State indicating that "she is strongly minded" to allow farmers to reduce populations, is long and vague.

Mrs. Spelman showed no enthusiasm for reducing the burden of tuberculosis either in the badger population, or the wider environment. But she intends, she says, yet another "consultation" on protocol, (taking us into 2012), then the start up of just two pilot areas, which will be closely monitored ahead of any possible roll out in 2013/14. And more cattle measures.

Meanwhile the media, when it is not obsessing about its own problems of 'news gathering', is plastered with pictures of healthy shiny badgers, gobbling peanuts. Not at all like this poor old (or not so old?) thing, suffering the final stages of tuberculosis.

Should we all beware of a Secretary of State who is "minded", strongly or otherwise? It shows little commitment, and appears a bit too woolly for us to unpick.

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