Is the badger cull finally collapsing?

This is my 99th post, I’ll have something different for the 100th. For now though, yet more on the badger cull…

At the weekend I wrote about how poorly the badger cull had gone, and how the government and DEFRA wanted to plough on regardless. As this week has progressed, we can start to see a rising tide of opposition and evidence, and can but hope this will finally end this stupid and pointless cull.

Experts have reported that the stated logic behind the population drop, weather and food, makes no sense, and only illegal killing within the zones can account for such a drop. In fact, there have been unconfirmed reports that this has been confirmed to Paterson by DEFRA, but he has not bothered to tell Parliament.

The lead scientist on the board of Natural England, David MacDonald, has also stated it would be madness to continue the cull. Natural England are the licensing body for this cull, and ultimately will decide on the possible extensions, so we can hope that Professor MacDonald’s view will be taken up by the rest of the board.

Even Paterson’s own Conservative colleagues are turning, as a group of Tory backbenchers write to Paterson asking for more information. As have the National Trust.

The Badger Trust are threatening legal action, as the decision to try extend the culls flies in the face of the testimony the Government’s own experts gave in court when getting these culls permitted.

All this would add up to suggest that Natural England will reject the extensions and the cull will collapse, with Paterson losing his job. But there remains a valid fear that such opposition will continue to be steam-rollered by men driven by ideology, not science. Paterson also seems to be one of the untouchables in the cabinet, the men (like Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove), that Cameron will not remove no matter what.

Not that long ago, the Conservatives tried to eliminate Natural England. This was only vetoed by their coalition partners. But for NE, there must be a fear that going against the will of the Tory high command is signing their own execution order. So do they have the moral courage to trust the facts and reject this increasingly indefensible programme? We will see.

The great writer Tony Juniper had an excellent piece out over the weekend, where he forcefully argues that Paterson is the first Environment Minister in three decades to reverse the progress that has been made with regard to policy in this area. It’s hard to ignore, and well worth reading.

False Widow Spiders… Yet more nonsense

The Star again has a mindless pack of lies suggesting False Widows somehow rotted a man’s leg. Of course, closer reading shows that the man actually got a bacterial infection (possibly from the bite of a spider, possibly not). I’ve seen dozens of stories now in local and national press, and in many cases the spiders present aren’t even False Widows. People are now just panicking about any spider they see.

Fortunately, many papers are running much better articles with expert commentary that clears all this up. So hopefully the hysteria will soon fade.

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This entry was posted in England, Media, Wildlife stories, Zoology. Bookmark the permalink.

I welcome thoughts, comments and questions, so please feel free to share anything at all. Thanks, David

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