Following on from our previous posting where the timing of the birth of a new sprog in the Johnson household, indicates a degree of celebration from the Prime Minister's latest bed mate, comes the awful news that her alleged intervention in the Derbyshire cull area start date, has led in part, to four farmers taking their own lives.
"Derbyshire-based vet Sarah Tomlinson, who is also a member of the Defra funded TB Advisory Service (TBAS), said some farmers had ‘pinned everything’ on the badger cull going ahead last autumn.
We have had four suicides in Derbyshire since the direction was pulled, one was the weekend after it happened,” said Ms Tomlinson. I do not think people realise the stress and utter devastation something like this brings. It is the guilt of seeing herd genetics from generations of work wiped out, families losing their heritage, their livelihoods."The article by Olivia Midgley, which has attracted over 12,000 viewings, explains that after a doubling of cattle slaughterings in 2019, :
"The Derbyshire cull was pulled at the 11th hour by the then Defra Secretary Theresa Villiers, who admitted there had been ‘involvement from Number 10’, giving credence to claims the Prime Minister’s partner and animal rights campaigner Carrie Symonds had waded in at the last minute. A recent High Court legal challenge, brought by the NFU, heard the decision was ‘unlawful’.
The High Court is expected to publish its ruling shortly."(See edit **)Meanwhile testing and slaughtering cattle continues apace.
In the same issue, the Leader column examines the human cost of zTB, with editor Ben Briggs remarking that 'those in positions of power, should hang their heads in shame'.
He continues: "
"It is a damning indictment of the fact that zTB is a disease which not only has huge consequences for infected cattle and badgers, but is one that piles unspeakable emotional hardship, not to mention financial [stress] on farmers whose livestock are devastated by it."Ben then goes on to question the logic of Secretary of State George Eustice, whose anouncement in March rang alarm bells through the thinking part of our industry that he wanted government to move toweards a vaccination strategy in the longer term. And in cull areas after four years.
Why on earth would the man say this, when previous trials of vaccination - [link] over the last ten years in two countries, have had zero effect on cattle tuberculosis?
In fact in Wales, they appear to have had the opposite effect, with the number of cattle slaughtered in the Principality, the highest - [link] on record.
So as the UK grapples with the cost of its human lock down, and SARS-Cov-2 stalks the land, remember that in the countryside, the plague of zoonotic Tuberculosis, carried by badgers, is doing exactly the same.
(The illustration is of plague 'doctor' - Doctor Schnabel (i.e., Dr. Beak), a plague doctor in seventeenth-century Rome, circa 1656 . These people,were employed to 'treat' victims of bubonic plague, collate information and do wills and autopsies - amongst other things. They travelled widely.
The costume's beak was thought to protect them against disease. )
EDIT. The High Court has upheld the judgement, of the cancelling of the Derbyshire badger cull. 13/05/20
Tuberculosis wins again, and the grim reaper stalks our green and pleasant land.