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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2012 at 8:34pm
Quite honestly if consultancy work was threatened Ben I would probably agree with its demise. I only went into because so many consultants are so crap at it I thought someone who could tell a GCN from a Smooth Newt ought to be doing it. It is in fact threatened but that is another story. I was very much on the conservation side from the start and currently all my projects for 2012 are entirely voluntary.

For sure the farmers I know are local. However my local farmer, Bob, is a livestock farmer not arable and his brother is also a livestock farmer based in the West Country. (Most of the hay grown at the local farm is transported down there in the summer). All I can say is Bob supported the view that culling was an appeasement and not proven to work. In fact the conversation was born from comments that his brother had made regarding the threat rather than any sentiment for Badgers. I'm quite happy to see the evidence to the contrary, if it exists. I'm not really someone who has fixed views on much in life and will accept the culling option if it is proven to actually work.

I rather think though with many things these days disinterested people get paid to write bullsh*t and the rest of us make the best of what they come up with that we can. I doubt the great Badger debate is immune to that. Wink
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Suzy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2012 at 9:17pm
I guess I'm in the thick of it here in East Devon. I also have badgers that I feed in my garden (naughty me!). Loads of people feed them and the setts are within the town in large gardens. How will they get rid of these critters? Will there be a kind of town invasion as badgers invite their country cousins to hole up with them come the extermination? Will we be tripping up over them?
The TB thing interests me as many moons ago - well 1972/73 actually - I worked at MAFF on the brucellosis eradication scheme. In a small room were dusty old files of a card index for TB eradication which I was told had been completed as it was successful. Had it really, or had the money run out? I've looked on the Internet and found this article:-
http://archive.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/tb-control-measures/100915-tb-control-measures-annexa.pdf
I think here in Devon they will struggle to remove all badgers as there are places that are hard to reach - seaside undercliffs, under garden sheds and in gardens generally. It will surely be another government financial fiasco that will prove futile in the end.

Suz
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sussexecology View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sussexecology Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2012 at 9:39pm

I would have to agree with Gemma on the farmer side of things.

Here at S/E we work with a number of local landowenrs/farmers, some who are livestock farmers. Those with cattle tend to be of the opinion that having badgers on their farm is bad news, so I think they would accept a culling of badgers if it was proven to work.

As for consultancy side of things, I would agree it is being threatened for sure, and some projects that we are involved in are also voluntary. This year is gong to be challenging, if we are in a recession but like you said that is another story altogether.

Re the badgers, I don't have a particular strong opinion about the culling, but if it is going to wipe out TB, then it needs to work. And it needs to be as "wildlife friendly" as possible. I say "wildlife friendly" in that the project needs to make sure that  other non-target species are not affected by the culling too.

Not much more I can say on the subject at this point.

And would agree with Ben too.
An open forum is a place for having an opinion and an argument about things. If you don't express your opinions, then you won't be heard. Besides having a debate about something, may bring fresh ideas or even a side of the story that you hadn't even thought of yet. Debates are great and to be honest, so is this forum.

There are lots of things that I would love to debate about on this forum.

bye for now.



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Richard2 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richard2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 11:53am
Ben,
 
Thanks for this generous and amiable response. There is no danger of falling out, as far as I'm concerned. Discussion, debate and courteous disagreement are what the forum is for.
 
I must admit again that I have no specialist knowledge of this subject at all. What I do have, and I think many do, is a sense of moral outrage at the idea of a mass cull - at the idea that we, human beings, one species, should think ourselves entitled to do this as a routine industrial policy. The moral implication of such a policy is that might is right, and the weaker can forfeit even the right to live, if their living is inconvenient to the strong. This was the routine assumption in agricultural management throughout most of the first phase of industrialisation - the first period in which the deliberate mass culling of other species became a practical possibility. Notions of animal rights, closely associated with environmentalism, developed in reaction against these assumptions, in the hope of modifyiong them - and, as far as public opinion is concerned, I think they have been modified very substantially in my lifetime.
 
The assumption that the weaker have no right to live is not only frightening in principle; it's frightening to us because historically it hasn't been restricted to other species - it has been applied frequently to people whom the mighty have designated as lesser human beings. This may seem a sensationalist or tasteless comparison, but the principle is the same.
 
But, of course, there are limit cases. When the mass existence of other species really threatens our own, as with the plague bacillus or bird flu, then the eradication of that threat becomes a matter of mortal self-defence. I think the moral question about the idea of a mass cull of badgers is whether we can honestly say that they pose a threat of this kind. I can't see that they do.
 
Do they threaten our basic food supply? No - there is no shortage of bovine products, and even if there were, other foods are plentifully available.
 
Do they threaten us with a mortal disease? That's the point of contention. It may be theoretically possible, as you suggest, that bovine TB could mutate into a much more dangerous form, but I haven't heard any scientific opinion express this view in the debate about culling. It's not why the government say they are doing it. We already have human TB, and have successfully reduced and contained it using antibiotics and innoculation. In any case, no one is suggesting, as far as I'm aware, that culling will eliminate bovine TB. The only claim is that it will reduce it, and probably only temporarily, unless cull after cull is envisaged.
 
As I understand it, the extent to which badgers are responsible for the spread is scientifically contested. Modern farming methods and the stress they place on cattle have also been implicated. The increased transportation of live animals has been implicated too. It might be inconvenient and financially costly to change these policies, but what is the force of that inconvenience against the moral principles involved?
 
And why not vaccinate cattle and badgers? I asked that question before. Again, I suspect the basic answer is that it would be too inconvenient and costly, compared with culling. But I bet they get to it in the end, because the spectacle of culling will prove too horrifying to public opinion, and will produce a backlash of the kind that scares politicians. Wait for the pictures to hit the press.
 
Richard
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richard2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 12:25pm

Ben,

My apologies - looking back, I see that you did explain several posts ago that the vaccination of cattle is forbidden by EU legislation. Any prospect of that changing? The same restriction was responsible for the foot-and-mouth mass slaughter, I believe.
 
Richard
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Liz Heard View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Liz Heard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 3:48pm


cheers


Edited by ben rigsby - 14 Oct 2012 at 1:38pm
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Richard2 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richard2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 4:23pm
So, if culling reduces incidence by only 23%, and probably only temporarily, then the argument about wiping out the disease in case it mutates into a form dangerous to humans isn't really there, is it? We're only talking about local reductions of less than a quarter.
 
Wildlife enthusiasts are already campaigning against these culls, and the politicians are clearly nervous about it. This could flare up as a political issue the way that calf-exports did. That would be bad - the politicians would run for cover, and the farmers who supported the cull would be left feeling bitterly isolated and misunderstood once again. I don't mean to downplay the threat to livelihood that some farmers face. In their position I would probably feel strong emotional support for the idea of a cull. Perhaps the violence of it is, subliminally, another attraction, a symbolic outlet for understandable anger. Or am I being unfair in saying that?
 
If badgers were trapped and vaccinated on a large scale, how long would that take to make a difference? You explained earlier that cattle vaccination, though effective, is forbidden because there is no test that distinguishes vaccinated from infected animals. I just don't know enough to understand the implications of this. Do some countries vaccinate? I believe Argentina vaccinates for foot-and-mouth without harm to its exports.
 
Richard 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richard2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 4:31pm
Underlying this debate is a whole set of questions about how we value our wildlife and what countryside priorities should be, as well as questions about our ethical obligations to non-human creatures. Badgers are just one case. They are an animal a lot of people regard with affection, partly because of literary traditions. Herp enthusiasts wish the same affection existed more widely for snakes, lizards, frogs, newts and toads, don't they? Reconnecting with our native ecosystems is about caring about these creatures.
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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 5:50pm
I think underlying the debate is the simple fact that culling is not proven, cannot be proven and won't be proven to be effective.

I note Ben while addressing the core points as best he could avoided the issue. 

LOL
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Liz Heard View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Liz Heard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 6:17pm
hello again Richard.


regards, Ben




Edited by ben rigsby - 14 Oct 2012 at 1:40pm
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