Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Badgering Dave

I'm not sure it David Cameron will have endeared himself to his National Farmers Union audience yesterday, when he told them there is nothing he likes better than watching badgers playing in the road outside his Oxfordshire house. Every farmer I know regards badgers as vermin and would cheerfully take a gun to them - if they weren't protected, of course!

Seriously, the reason why farmers are so anti-badger is that the cases of bovine tuberculosis - which badgers carry and then infect cattle - have risen from 125 to 2,000 a year over the last 14 years. The government stands accused of doing nothing and as a result Hillary Benn was heckled during his speech at the same conference yesterday.

28 comments:

Richard Quinn said...

"Every farmer I know regards badgers as vermin and would cheerfully take a gun to them - if they weren't protected, of course!"

Funny, I feel the same way about farmers.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Its this sort of thing that concerns me about Cameron.

He just does not know about our world. He would have been better living with a farming family ( not landed) that an Asian one that he did some time ago.

I think life would be much better under the Tories but not cameron.b

Anonymous said...

Do not Tar us ALL with the same brush. This farmer is not Anti Badger and I intend not allow any Government cull take place on my land.

Wallenstein said...

Badgers represent at most 20% of Bovine TB cases.

The remaining 80% are cattle-cattle infections.

It's modern farming practices that are the real problem, not Call Me Dave's meline friends.

Alfie said...

But is the proof there? Are Badgers being cast as the fall guys in the absence of any other explanation? Could something else be causing TB in cattle?

Badgers and cattle have co-existed for thousands of years - so why should this infection bloom happen now?

400 years ago, weren't farmers blaming Witches for all their ills - and hey, guess what, the old crones with the warty features are now deemed to be 'OK'.....

Anonymous said...

What - farmers grumbling and at a Labour minister of all things? Surely not. They'll be sticking up "vote Tory" signs all over their land next, the only reliable crop that most of them seem capable of producing...

Anonymous said...

Iain;

There is no real evidence that culling badgers reduces bovine TB,several studies have shown this.

Jimbo said...

Yes Hilary Benn was booed by the 99.99999% Tory voting farmers. Surprise Surprise.

Members of the audience were heckling Ben, claiming that he was waffling. However taking the view of the scientific community, that a bovine badger cull would not "meaningfully contribute" to control of TB in cattle, can hardly be seen as waffle.

You lot should be more worried about gobbledygook Cameron. At the same Farmers conference he was waffling on about “World Food” and “Protectionism “…. Yes Protectionism.

Furthermore Catch Phrase Cambo, came up with another classic in his speech, he talked about the impending “Food Crunch” ….Can some please tell this bloke to pack it in !

strapworld said...

anonymous 936am.
No evidence that culling badgers reduces bovine TB..

Pray sir, upon what evidence do you rely on?

Where has this culling taken place and when?

I am very concerned that many of the contributors to this particular story are anti-farmers. I cannot understand it.

I lived amongst farmers in Devon, as I do here in Wales and I have never met such a hardworking people. They have a genuine love of the land and care more than these city dwellers who believe badgers and foxy woxy are lovely creatures!

I worked in London for over thirty years and am a town/city boy. But I can tell you that Farmers and their ilk are decent people who do not deserve the treatment these alfies,wallensteins and mostly anonymous comments are attempting to dish out.

You, Iain, must have met many farmers. Are they not the backbone of this proud land?

As for Cameron. Such stupid remarks make him look like a small boy in an audience of men. He needs a quick lesson in life and I endorse the earlier statement that he should, as a matter of urgency, go and live on a farm suffering from bovine TB.

tapestry said...

I own a farm. I love badgers. But if they are giving my cattle TB, I am content for them to be gassed or otherwise removed from my farm.

Townies eat meat every day but go queasy at the thought of what has to be done to produce it.

Wait til the price of food doubles again, as the world runs short. You lot will soon start listening to what farmers have been saying on this, and many other topics where prejudice, animal rights propaganda and political correctness have dictated government policy for ten and more years.

A little bit of hunger would do your brains some good.

simon said...

This is Dave being 'fluffy and nice', and falling into the libbie trap that conservatives are 'mean' ( Boo!) and 'don't like animals- and wildlife!' (cough, splutter) to be taken seriously. Yep, now the conservatives are- 'nice and fluffy'! They are:-'Concerned' about the environment and fluffy animals, and ethnic minorities, and gays, and lesbians, ginger persons,and something or other... Why the party didn't choose a blue fluffy bunny instead of that tree for a party symbol God only knows...

Pogo said...

Isn't it time that the entire non-arable "industry" dragged itself out of the medieval and started to vaccinate fergodsake? The catastrophes generated by foot and mouth disease hardly seem to present anything more than a minor hiccup in more enlightened countries.

The standard knee-jerk response to just about any problem to do with cattle, pigs, sheep and poultry appears to be the equivalent of "Burn Them!". 13th century solutions do not map well onto 21st century problems.

Chris Paul said...

Interesting information Iain.

As far as I can recall one of the small farmer USPs that gets trotted out all the time to justify extension of subsidies, even an application to join the public sector pay roll, is the old "guardian of the countryside, creator and saviour of animal habitats" one.

Clearly there is some - probably modest - connection between some badgers and some bovine TB. More so between land and stock management and more bovine TB.

Spending some time most weeks walking and running over farmland all over these fair isles with my dogs I can assure you Iain that the quality of the boundary fences and stock management varies wildly.

If you have bovines grazing near badger habitats you need very good fences and to stop the badgers sharing your cattle's water etc.

Obviously Cam is an upper class twit who is full of bull. His mate George is the same, but with more deliberate mendacity in my view. But culling our dear badgers mercilessly is not the answer to any sensible question.

Pete said...

Can anyone prove that it's not the cattle which give TB to the badgers?

Jimbo said...

Strapworld : February 19, 2008 10:04 AM would like the evidence. OK.

In Ireland, a country far more dependant on agriculture than the UK, have virtually wiped out their entire Badger population. Yet TB in Irish cattle is worse than in the UK. Fact.

Cattle carry TB and the movement of cattle around Britain is the most important factor in the spread of bovine TB, not the Badger.

Yes the Badgers can carry TB, but so can many mammals including humans. When a farmer has been shown to have spread TB, shall we all run around demanding a cull of farmers?

Defeating TB requires a multi action approach; tighter movement controls, targeted culls of badgers, and greater bio security.

Those bloody farmers ranting on about a nationwide badger cull are just knee jerk tory whingers looking for an quick fix and someone else to blame.

Anonymous said...

Were any of you there? Did any of you see the glint in the eye as he said the words "playing in the road". Do any of you understand irony?!

Dave B said...

Farmers needn't worry about badgers. My informal cyclist roadkill survey tells me that badger numbers are on the way down, and fox numbers on the way up. Deer are also doing well. :-)

Anonymous said...

Just goes to show that even you talk absolute piffle every now and again the scientific case is tenuous to say the least you give the impression that you know otherwise Iain.

neil craig said...

"he told them there is nothing he likes better than watching badgers"

What a very strange man.

Chris Paul said...

Blogged here. If you follow the link you will discover that 0.2% of the cow population at worst get bTB and that just 20% of this = 0.04% are thought to be infected by badgers. Meanwhile there is a school of thought that the badgers are getting the thing from the cows rather than vice versa.

In other territories the scapegoats are NOT badgers but are deer, or foxes, or rabbits, or whatever the superstitious farmers want to blame.

Anonymous said...

Look - when Dave says he likes "watching badgers" it's obviously a coded reference to Alistair Darling.

cotswold farmer said...

Badgers are an excuse a minority of farmers use for their own inadequate animal husbandry. They are a scapegoat for poor animal welfare practices by a small but very vocal minority of cattle farmers.

asquith said...

Clegg is speaking to the NFU. As usual, doing it better than Dave from PR. The fact is, the LibDems are into sustainable communities, affordable housing, public transport, local post offices and schools and Snooty Dave and you're not.

Why anyone in the countryside would vote Conservative is beyond me. Do they really think the stockbrokers, lawyers etc. care if they live or die?

asquith said...

Oops, made a typo there. I orginally meant to write "Snooty Dave and his pals", the I altered it to "you", but it went horribly wrong. Rats! I think you know what I'm trying to say anyway. Since it's a rerun of what I say on every other occasion, it isn't hard to figure out :)

Anonymous said...

"Why anyone in the countryside would vote Conservative is beyond me. Do they really think the stockbrokers, lawyers etc. care if they live or die?"

Well the alternative is voting Liebour or 'Lib'-'dem', LD is a wasted vote, and, well look at what Labour have done for/to the countryside over the last ten years. Look at the political maps of the country. We country folk vote tory and that's that.

Note this appears to be something I disagree with Iain on. Screw the farmers, they can vote for whoever they want. I don't for one minute believe that any farmer in the country is likely to vote Labour.

The majority of farmers may want badgers culled. However, the /vast/ majority of the public absolutely do NOT want this. Dave is therefore quite right.

Zorro

Johnny Norfolk said...

There needs to be a major cull of badgers. Its taking place already as farmers have had enough of townies telling them what to do.

Anonymous said...

Yes ! Kill the badgers ! Win back the farming vote ! Cameron is stupid beyond belief not to have rallied behind the farmers on this !

Anonymous said...

johnny norfolk:
"There needs to be a major cull of badgers. Its taking place already"...
And are we shocked or surprised? The farming community adore their country sport of popping off every creature that doesn't turn them a profit. It's hardly a secret, and it just adds to the contempt the public feel for the likes of you.