Saturday, May 16, 2015

HRH Prince Charles and the need for a badger cull.

This week, the letters - [link] which HRH Prince Charles wrote to ministers a decade ago have been made public, and on agriculture in general and bTB in particular, they make for interesting reading.

 In March 2005, the Prince wrote to the then Prime Minister, Tony Bliar to express his concern over the increasing pile of dead cattle and lack of any control on eradicating zoonotic tuberculosis from its wildlife reservoir, badgers.

Political Editor,  of the   Farmers Guardian - [link] , Alistair Driver has the overview, and Bliar's reply.

HRH Prince Charles,  pictured here with Ayrshire dairy cattle,  confirming a recent meeting, pointed out  to Bliar : 

"You said that you were aware of the recent study in the republic of Ireland which proved that badger culling was effective in ridding cattle of TB - in Donegal for instance, by the fifth year of the trial there was a 96 per cent reduction in cattle infections in the 'badger removal' area."
And he emphasises the need for urgent action:
"I do urge you to look again at introducing a proper cull of badgers where it is necessary. I for one, cannot understand how the "Badger lobby" seem to mind not at all about the slaughter of thousands of expensive cattle, and yet object to a managed cull of an over-population of badgers - to me, this is intellectually dishonest."
We couldn't agree more Sir. And a week later, on March 30th 2005, Prime Minister Bliar replied thus:
"You raised the issue of bovine TB and the link to badgers. The Irish trials have indeed changed everything here, and I know Ben Bradshaw acknowledges this."
Acknowledge it he most certainly did, with answers to the carefully crafted 538 Parliamentary Questions, tabled to the Ministry of Agriculture's office in 2004 and which form the basis of this site.

And then the fragrant Ben, waved a couple of fingers at Owen Paterson who had tabled the questions, and said words to the effect "OK, we know it's badgers ..... but whaddya going to do about it?"

Ten years later,  the answer, as we have found out to our cost,  was over 300,000 dead cattle, thousands of dead alpacas, goats, sheep, pigs and domestic pets, and on badgers? Absolutely nothing at all.

Which gives support to the comment that if some politician's lips are moving, they're lying.

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