Friday, 22 June 2018

South Korean Dog Meat Trade - A major WIN

A major win and a step closer to closing down the dog and cat meat trade in South Korea.
China Next, let's keep up the pressure. If you want to help and play a part in change please share this blog and go and join the FaceBook group UK Rehoming for DCMT Survivors or come and join the vigil outside the embassy.

A major and landmark court ruling happened in the courts of South Korea yesterday so if you think signing petitions and protesting doesn't work, please think again. 
The World is Watching

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

We Are The Glass Walls

Birmingham Wildlife Festival - 16th June 2018

"If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian" 

Paul McCartney

I couldn't agree more with the above quote from Macca except I think everyone would turn vegan if they realised what actually went on during the production of meat and dairy, more on that later.

Last Saturday, June 18th we attended the annual Wildlife Festival in Birmingham, hosted by Badger Trust West Midlands. The weather gods were in our favour and held back the threatening rain clouds, but as usual, the parking was a nightmare; next time we take the train. The event was held in Victoria Square with many representatives from the #VeganWorld, #AnimalProtectionOrganisations, #HuntSabs and #AntiBloodSports groups. There was also a large selection of amazing #VeganFood options and ethical, #CrueltyFree products ranging from clothing to personal hygiene products. 

As anyone that knows me realises #AnimalRights and welfare is a driving issue in my life and always has been. In the 21st century, it is almost inconceivable to me that the human collective consciousness has not woken up to the abhorrent suffering and cruelty we are still inflicting on sentient beings by the millions every day around the World. Somehow people are able to compartmentalise their choices and actions to the suffering equation which in turn empowers the barbaric industries and practises that are going on all around us.

Maybe I'm weird, as I'm frequently reminded by my friends and loved ones, but the moment I realise that my personal actions and choices inflict any kind of suffering there is no turning back, I reform my will and actions or I can't live with myself. Too me, it's that simple.

The way we produce our food on industrial levels is not only sickening but also terrible for our environment and human health. The corporate propaganda machine spends hundreds of millions a year overloading us with pictures of 'happy chickens', smiling pigs and dancing cows and stops us thinking about the process of how these animals are 'produced' for the supermarkets. It never ceased to amaze me the disconnect. I've met so many people who don't realise that ham is from a pig or tinned tuna is a fish, I'm not joking. 

While travelling and eating in a variety of restaurants along the way, I've lost count of the number of dishes I've had to send back. Even after explaining my dietary choices, in detail if necessary, I've been served a salad or even an advertised veggie option with tuna or cheese in the dish. So many countries do not think of fish as animals, it's a real palm smacked on the forehead moment.

Anyway, that's all for now about the reason for my #veganism. I have lots of blog entries here talking about my reasons and health benefits. In this entry, I want to highlight some of the great work being done by ordinary people to help preserve and save animals all across the planet.

Upon arriving at the festival in Victoria Square, I was immediately drawn to a stand promoting an amazing project helping save the remaining Bengal Tigers. I was greeted by the very enthusiastic, knowledgeable and passionate Tiger Awareness founder Phil Davis. Phil was manning the stand for Tiger Awareness who are a UK charity reaching out and working with Indian communities to help save the world's largest feline.

Here is an example of some of the amazing and vital projects they've implemented so far. There is so much more to do to the help guarantee a future for the wild Tiger.

  1. Tiger Awareness has built a school in Sundarbans (Bay of Bengal) helping and educating 150 children.
  2. They have built boundary walls around vital water wells in the Pench National Park to protect wildlife including Tigers that often fall in and perish when looking for water.
  3. They have set up Tiger Squads in Sundarbans which is helping reduce animal and human conflict.
  4. They have set up Animal Squads in the Pench buffer area to reduce animal and human conflict and crop raiding.
  5. They continually support forest staff with training and equipment such as solar lighting, health check-ups, first aid kits and vital water filters.
  6. And last of all but probably the most effective deterrent is the funding of the Anti-poaching dogs and handlers.
With approximately 3000 wild Bengal Tigers left in India every animal counts. The population is showing signs of recovery but this means we should not become complacent. The pressure for Tiger body parts in Asia and especially China is growing and the governments are dragging their feet implementing legislation and deterrents to stem the flow of Tigers out of India and S.E. Asia.

Phil Davis and his team and many others like him need support both financially and with help spreading the message. 

Can you imagine a World without the King of the Jungle? I can't, the idea appals me to the core, we can all help prevent this unimaginable tragedy.

This is real 'feet on the ground' conservation work, the real deal and they deserve our support. True conservation starts with education and action and these guys are leading the way by example and hard work. I hope we can work together in the future. I'd be honoured to be a small part of your bigger picture and the continued preservation of The Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris).

© Phil Davis at the Tiger Awareness stand

I've been very fortunate to explore parts of beautiful India photographing its amazing and diverse wildlife and habitats, including Tigers. These projects are integral to India's future. The Indian people are very proud of their natural heritage and with our help, India and the Tiger has a bright future. We save the Tiger, we save India's biodiversity and the whole planet will benefit.

Another issue that's very close to my heart is the Dog and Cat meat festivals and trade in Asia. This is a very current and hot talking point and debate that in recent years has gained momentum and media coverage with big celebrity support such as comedian Ricky Gervais who has openly been challenging the S.E Asian governments. I do see a change coming but it does not mean we can ease off the pressure.

Every year in South Korea alone 2.5 million cats and dogs are systematically tortured and killed for human consumption. The brutality involved is truly shocking and makes traumatising reading and images. Nevertheless, this is happening right now and every day. 

The best way you can make a difference is to withdraw your spending power from the big companies like Samsung, Kia and Hyundai who are South Korean companies and have big business and trade deals with the South Korean government. Write to these companies and tell them why you are boycotting their products. Even better write to the London Ambassador Sungnam Lin, here's a link to the address: South Korea Embassy.

On the one side (my side) of the argument that "well it's their culture, it's the same as eating cows", this weak argument does not hold water. In the UK we used to burn, drown and stone women accused of being witches, that was our culture for hundreds of years, wasn't it? Well, thankfully we've become less ignorant and realised it was a bad idea for all kinds of obvious reasons. Just as well or myself and my friends would be living on a lonely, male-dominated island....I jest ladies.

The ladies I met at the weekend from the UK Rehoming for Dog CAt Meat Trade Survivors are doing tireless and self-funded work. They are finding homes for dogs rescued from the South Korean Dog Meat Trade. The dogs have been through quarantine in South Korea through Jenny Kim of KDS. All the dogs are ready to go straight into their new homes when they arrive. This is hostile and emotionally challenging work. They need our help desperately so please reach out any way you can at the above link or here.

We were delighted to meet one of the doggie ambassadors whose life has been saved. Jane, a large and gentle friendly dog adopted by Jane Bronte, and her companion Frankie.  These animals have been treated in the most horrible ways imaginable by humans and yet here they are, happy and trusting to all they came to say hello on this overcast and busy Saturday afternoon. How much we can learn from these animals. They are just like us in so many ways. They require love, kindness and compassion with family, food and a safe environment to rest their heads. I'm not ashamed to say, that Jane brought tears to my eyes.

Please get involved and join the UK Rehoming For DCMT Survivors I promise there are no graphic images just ways to help, from holding a fundraising coffee morning to opening your family and home to these wonderful animals, or contact me and I'll make an introduction for you.

DCMT Survivors Jane and little Frankie with Pilar Bueno and myself

We are hosting a Wellness Day to raise funds for our amazing Charity which helps the survivors of the Dog and Cat meat trade in Asia. We are a non-profit organisation so all funds raised, go directly to our work in rehoming these animals. 

On the day we will have a Reiki Practitioner, a Thai massage therapist, Acupressure & Deep Tissue massage therapist, Crystal Therapy, Reflexology, Yoga instructor who will hold introduction classes into Yoga, Ashtanga and Yin, Tropics skincare and facials therapist, Spiritual Healer, Tarot Card Reader, Colour & Image Specialist, Children's face paint and special effects artist, Vegan Cake stall and a full bar also serving Tea & Coffee. More stalls to be added. Tickets for entry are on sale now & prices are £3.50 adults and £1.50 children, babies free. 

It is a dog-friendly day too with beautiful grounds to even just walk your dog in with a coffee and cake. All treatments are discounted and 20% of the profits come to us. Some therapists are donating 100% of their proceeds and we are non-profit so it all goes directly to our cause. 

You will get to meet some of our Korean meat trade survivors on the day too who is now happily settled in the UK. Please use our Paypal link using the ref "July 8th event " and add your email address for the tickets to be sent. 

We will be running a Silent Auction for some incredible prizes including a Derbyshire Cottage break, a Professional child's photo shoot and print, Afternoon tea at The Warbrook House Hotel with doggy treats and NLP coaching course & Diploma. There will also be a raffle. I can't thank you enough for your support on this day, it really means the World. 
Thank you
Louise Trevatt

BREAKING NEWS - Next event 11th July, a vigil outside the South Korean embassy

This year's festival was hosted by the Badger Trust West Midland. With the government's bounty now being placed on each badger (£50 an animal) their tireless and brave work is more important than ever. 

It was fantastic to meet so many representatives of the regional Badger Trust groups from around the country. We are making a difference and the day will come when these beautiful mammals can live out their lives in peace. The people are waking up to our barbaric and corrupt government's policies, misinformation and propaganda machine. 

The unsupported link between the badger and Bovine TB is a now scientifically proven without a shadow of a doubt as a fallacy. I'm most probably preaching to the choir here, but if you'd like more information on the findings and how you can get involved please go to the Badger Trust website here. I've also recently published on this blog more information about the current state of affairs concerning this issue.

It does seem that our wildlife is under attack like no other time, whether it's the badger and foxes, our raptors, raven or fish stocks. It seems everything is fair game. Make no mistake we are at war, we are the army of soldiers defending the innocent and defenceless. I take this personally as I know most of you do. This is all of our countryside and our wildlife. 

The #PowersThatBe treat the public with contempt and indifference and mock the general apathy. But the tide is turning as more and more are getting involved and raising their angered voices. The Powers That Be's arrogance will be their downfall, but until that day comes we must never give quarter. 
Get involved
Take a Stand
Make a Difference
Links will be listed at the end of this article

Myself and my niece Ellie Bonehill at the Animal Equality stand

I had a great chat with the guys at the Animal Equality stand while the ladies with me immersed themselves in the virtual reality presentation exposing the reality of the UK's meat and dairy industry. The tears flowed as I expected. 

For the newbie, these videos are very shocking but as most of you know the real horrors are just too much for the general public to deal with. These videos present an introductory doorway into the real issues concerning the farming and food industry where sentient animals are treated without compassion as mere commodities. 

In my time I've seen mountains of footage that has caused me to weep openly and lose sleep. As a wildlife photographer and naturalist, I've always been aware of these issues and apart from the health benefits, the reason I'm a 10yr vegan is that I've made a personal pledge to cause no more suffering....ever. 

I admit that it took me a long time to be honest with myself and a serious health issue forced my hand to re-evaluate my dietary choices. Going vegan is the best thing I've ever done with my life, the benefits have been huge and life-changing. Thankfully it seems this sentiment is spreading fast as country after country is switching to a #cruelty-free, #plant-based diet.

Latest UK figures show that veganism is on the rise and now approx 7% of the UK population has gone vegan. The numbers are staggering, that's 3.5 million vegans and rising in the UK alone!

Our planet and all life will be the benefactors.

There is no humane animal farming no matter how it is argued. When you take down your prejudices and programming and look into the eyes of a cow, a sheep, pig or chicken you recognise the same emotions that we humans feel. The nightmare that every animal goes through when being raised and then prepared for slaughter is not something I can be a part of.

Abigail and Luke promoting the Vegan lifestyle

The rest of the afternoon I spent walking around a talking with the other stallholders, sampling vegan treats and scoffing an amazing Jackfruit vegan cheeseburger. If you haven't tried one of these and you get a chance grab one, I highly recommend it.

For the sake of brevity (I've waffled enough), I'd like to thank all the organisers, speakers and fantastic musicians that took part in making this festival a memorable and informative event.

Special thanks to Mandy Bonehill for use of her camera and the use of her photos.
Please feel free to leave comments, your feedback is always valuable to me.
Please feel free to follow and share
John Hodges

For more information on any of the topics I've touched on, here is a list of websites and contacts:

Badger protection Groups and information
Blog - Badger Cull A State Sponsored Sadistic Genocide EXPOSED
Badger Trust West Midland

Dog Rescue

Big Cat Conservation
Tiger Awareness


#KillTheCull @WildlifeTrusts @ChrisPackham @BBCWildlife #WeWantWildlife @BBCSpringwatch @SupportBrianMay

Friday, 8 June 2018

Is our Green and Pleasant Land Falling Silent?

Most days I try to spend a few hours in the local countryside, wherever I may be located at the time, exploring and absorbing the riches of the natural world. All life fascinates me, the individual species and the interconnected relationship that build a web of intricacy we are only just starting to understand.

These experiences I've cherished for as long as I can remember. Growing up, my parents spent time with my younger sister and I pointing out the plants and animals and teaching us to respect all life. Later on when I discovered the sciences and great teachers on TV like Carl Sagon, Sir David Attenborough and Sir Patrick Moore. I was inspired, filled with wonder and ambition to understand and see with my own eyes as much as possible while experiencing this brief moment, conscious and alive on this little speck of a green and blue planet. 

Those early and profound influences have never left me. I wouldn't change my passion and connection to the natural world for all the worldly riches and toys that most desire. When I'm immersed in nature, whether in the jungles of Borneo or in a meadow in my native Worcestershire, my heart is full and I stride like the richest man on the planet, truly alive and connected. I wish all could experience the same emotions.

Which brings me around to the very point of this blog post.
I'm the bearer of bad news I'm afraid. Some will be surprised by my conclusions but I'm sure most of you won't be. The voices of alarm have been loud and clear for those paying attention.

For many years I've been talking about, some would say ranting about the disappearing bio-diversity and the falling population numbers of our native UK wildlife. This is well studied by the scientific community and they are all in agreement. 

Of course, some species are doing better than others. For instance, the Common Buzzard and Red Kite have made a remarkable comeback across the country. As a boy, if I'd have seen either bird I'd have lost sleep through excitement for weeks. A change in some farming practices and focused conservation can take full credit for these success stories. 

Red Kite - A UK conservation success story

But where there are winners you have to have losers and they vastly outnumber the victors. The once common species that I grew up with like the beautiful Yellowhammer that filled the countryside with its plaintive call is all but now gone. The flocks of acrobatic Lapwing that occupied our farmlands are conspicuous by their absence. Ratty the Water Vole that used to inhabit every stream and waterway has become a symbol of our loss. Declining Farmland Bird Species

The summer days of my youth where the hedgerows, woodlands and fields were alive with delicate but fiercely territorial butterflies shimmering in sunlight while bouncing off each other defending the best pieces of habitat are fast becoming faded memories. Even our wildlife-friendly garden that has been planted and designed deliberately to attract as many species as possible now, in contrast to long past years, is an empty refuge for the few remaining visitors.

Here's a list of the butterfly species that should be a common sight at the time of the year. How many have you seen? UK Butterfly species on the wing in June

Hedge Brown butterfly

The species I mentioned above, when now encountered, become part of my 'memorable day species' list. 

How and why has this happened?

The answers to the above questions are many and complex. But some are obvious if we open our eyes.

Just this morning while walking just after dawn with a good friend and fellow naturalist in the rolling, lush countryside near my home. The countryside was all but silent. When the classically and rich English dawn chorus that you've been used to is missing, the silence rings in your ears. This is not new to me at all, unfortunately. This is a now common observation. 

An insect desert where it should be an oasis 

The farmland adjacent to the mixed woodland bordered by a 5-metre strip of grassy verges should have been alive with basking insects, charging up their metabolisms with the warmth of the morning sun. We saw nothing at all, not a single beetle, moth or butterfly. Again this is becoming a common occurrence. Even recent visits to my local, rich flower meadows which were a favourite butterfly patch have yielded very few insects or birds where once there were many.

The use of herbicides and pesticides has become more and more widespread. The dead and yellow grasses line fields, parks and roadsides, eventually turning to dust and blowing away. These are vital habitats for our invertebrates which in turn feed our small birds and mammals, they now lie withered and devoid of life. 

I'm constantly seeing local councils sending out teams of 'sprayers' to decimate the roadsides and paths with the infamous Monsanto Roundup which is actually the brand name for the controversial chemical glyphosate. Everything that falls underneath its toxic rain is killed except for our food crops. 
Don't we use our sciences well? (note the sarcasm). 

The glyphosate residue found in processed bread alone is terrifying, lucky us eh? After finding out this hidden scandal we make our own poison free bread. Unbelievably I know people who actually spray the vegetables that they are growing and then serve them to their families, all in the name of healthy eating!!!! 
More to come on this subject at a later date.

Where do you think all these poisons go? It all seeps, washes into our water aquifers draining into our waterways and enters the food chain affecting all species and that includes us. We are literally soaking our lands in poisons and all for convenience and of course to maximise profits.

The farming community is under huge pressures to keep solvent while under attack from cheaper imports backed by monopolising trade deals. Sure the farmers are subsidised by our governments, but why are we importing grain, fruit and vegetables in the first place? We live in the garden that is our home. 

Trade deals are undercutting our farmers and are being supported with backhanders from Big Agra and all the lovely GMO biotech industries. We are having the very land we live on and our food security compromised for profits. This is having a massive influence on how our countryside is being managed. The poor farmers have little choice than to use poisons to wipe out insects that attack the valued crops. The margins are so slim and hang in the balance every harvest that the risk outways the negative effects, at least in the short term. This trend is happening all over the agricultural world.

Our wildlife shut out by agriculture

A blatant plug here. For more in-depth info on what is happening with our food chain I highly recommend the three book series by my colleague Mark Plummer, you can find his work here or you can contact me for a FREE review copy of any titles in our book catalogue.

Another upward trend I've observed is the increased persecution of our wildlife. It seems to be coming down directly from our governments. They offered the people after a long fought campaign a fox hunting ban but rarely, if ever, enforce it. Recently a £50.00 bounty has been put on the head of every badger in the country (see recent articles here and here). The list of cruel and senseless persecution seems to be growing, they even want to cull our Raven!!

In the last 24hrs while walking the same route described earlier we came across four dead Pheasants, the feet of two separate Roe Deer plus lots of fur in the long grass. We also even found a dead Kestral, a protected species blasted out of the sky and like the other pointless victims left to rot where they fell. Just senseless killing for killing sake is a human trait I will never understand. 

We saw more dead than alive animals during our walk and it just breaks my heart. The wholesale slaughter of the planet wild inhabitant seems to be running out of control. At this point in our history and if we make it into the future we will be defined by our bloodlusts and stupidity. But I have a feeling that mother nature will have her say long before we get to the distant future and hang our heads in shame. 

As my favourite comedian, the late Bill Hicks defined us, "we are a virus with shoes".

The above testimony is only scratching the surface of the biological crisis we are now facing. The seas are full of microplastic and industrial chemical runoff. Our forests around the world are being ripped out of the ground, slashed and burnt, leaving the once majestic treasure houses resembling a post-nuclear wasteland. What for? For plantations producing mainly genetically modified monocultures that go mostly to feed livestock to supply our fast food outlets and western junk food lifestyles.

Remember this?

All short term and not sustainable while we tick off species after species that disappear into the infinite night of oblivion.

I firmly believe we have reached or are very close to a tipping point of bio-diversity collapse. Can we turn it around? Maybe, but we collectively need to act now. No more corrupt agenda driven arguments, meetings, roundtables and conferences and most of all denial and ignorance. We need action now and the corporations that have natures blood on their hands need to be held accountable. 

But it doesn't stop there. We can make a difference and force the hand of change. 
If you want to make a difference please educate yourselves as to where your money goes. If you're buying products that contain palm oil, GMOs etc find better, cleaner products, they are out there and becoming more available. 

On a Saturday afternoon if you've been taking the easy option of using Roundup instead of working up a sweat to remove the weeds on the drive, ditch the poisons and get a little sweaty. Boycott these evil corporations that lie, deceive and poison us all. Take the money out of the system and the criminal companies will have to adapt and give us ethical and safe products or they will fail. The all-important stockholders will not let that happen I can assure you but we have to apply constant financial pressure for them to change. The same applies to your vote at elections.  Ask the people who put themselves forward as our voice and representatives to be accountable. Check the voting records and demand disclosure of financial records before you place your votes. 
Demand it, it's your human right.

These simple methods, flexing of our intellectual and personal sovereignty have true power, we've just seemed to have been distracted and forgotten that these people work for us. 

Changes in our spending behaviour will help your personal health and the long-term health of your local environment, it's all in our hands and the choices we make. We all need to lead by example and don't settle for other faceless people deciding on our future. Start in your local area by collecting litter when you walk the dog or take the kids to the park. Nobody likes to see litter but how many actually take responsibility and clean it up? Don't wait for others to do this vital and dirty work. 

Here's a great example of someone I know making a difference to our local area, day in day out she's out cleaning up OUR planet, unpaid and voluntarily because she wants change. We all owe people like this a huge debt. Be inspired and lead by example, put a carrier bag in your pocket and piece by piece we can start to clean up this mess of our own making. I never leave home without a litter bag.

Ignorance is no longer a valid excuse, we all have access to the internet or know someone who does. We can't stick our heads in the sand any longer and pretend this isn't happening on our watch. If we don't start to collectively act it will be at our own peril. We can make a difference and learn from our collective stupidity. It's all our fault we've found ourselves here. It's time to admit we're wrong, it's a good thing as it leads to undeniable truth.

For a lesson from history check our Rachel Carson famous book Silent Spring. First published in 1962 alerting the American public about the effects of pesticides and especially the now-banned DDT. Don't let history repeat itself.

Thank you for reading my impassioned rant
John Hodges (a concerned naturalist)

#WeWantWildlife #SaveOurSpecies #DemandCleanFood #BiodiversityFirst #ActNow #BeAWomble

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Monday, 4 June 2018

#StopTheCull - Culling Badgers Will Not Stop Bovine TB

Badger - A Government Patsy?
by Mark Plummer BSc / PGCE

Once again the powers that be in this country are demonstrating both their contempt for the natural world and for objective science. I am of course referring to the 2018 badger cull. Apparently, in 2016, 10,000 of the animals were killed and in 2017 the number rose to 19,000+. This year (2018) if the current government gets its way the number can only rise. The stated official reason for the cull is to prevent or control the spread of Bovine TB in intensively reared cattle.

For the record, this writer has no issue with the principle of killing an animal for food, certainly if there is no alternative. Our household is also doing its best in the vegetarian, non-processed, GM free, organic, permaculture and locally sourced food department. I mean to say we all know what goes on in modern agriculture and animal husbandry and I think you have to have a total lack of empathy or understanding to think all of that is OK. From the pure flat out cruelty to long-term impacts such as climate change or the future of agriculture, intensive agriculture is wrong on all levels. That being said I’m no saint or purist and will on occasion have a burger from the van when it’s late at night at a festival and I’m no stranger to the barb-q either! But on a day-to-day basis meat and fish are gone and we are working on the dairy products!

Anyway, here in the UK we have an eminently capable, intelligent and committed environmentalist called Caroline Lucas, (I’m not in the green party either) her voting record is presented here. As of early 2018, the UK environmental secretary is a thoroughly loathsome and skin-crawlingly obnoxious parasite, called Michael Gove. His voting record is presented here. By any sensible benchmark if things were run properly, that is by putting people, planet and community first we would have someone like Caroline Lucas in Michael Gove’s position. 

Sadly, we do not. The point is that Caroline Lucas has an understanding of the subject matter in hand, Michael Gove does not and more importantly, he doesn’t care. The man had no experience, qualifications or pedigree as legal and education secretary (his two previous posts) and in broad objective strokes was despised by both professions. The same is true, but with much more intensity, for those of us that call ourselves “environmentalists”.  

The notion of Michael Gove being the Environment secretary is as dysfunctional as Boris Johnson being the UK current foreign secretary. The presence of Michael Gove is the basic reason as to why the badger cull is not only continuing but looks set to be expanded. The UK labour party secretary as of May 2018 is a woman called Sue Hayman and her voting record is shown here

Even with Jeremy Corbyn at its head, the Labour party is no champion for the environment either, not while it refuses to confront nuclear issues, fracking and the support thereof in its own ranks and in the trade union movement. Plus, in the very near future, the Labour party could well endorse GMO’s on a “case by case basis” or “if the people of the UK want them”. So I hold no real hope that a future labour government (assuming it happens) will do very much about issues such as the badger cull.

Any species of animal, juxtaposed to the word cull is going to invite controversy and the Badger cull is no different. Like fox hunting, hare coursing, the raven cull or the rapture cull most people and their children simply object on the cruelty stakes and I have no objection to that frame of opposition either. I would add that if your serious on these matters then you should probably start thinking about and acting on the wider issues connected to these kinds of issues. Namely, where our food comes from, how it is processed and what is done to it as a matter of course.  

From the industries perspective, bovine TB results in tens of thousands of animals being slaughtered every year, a carnage which costs “meat and dairy” about £100m every year. Badgers with absolutely no credible evidence are the fall guys as they are seen as the vector (carrying) organism for bovine TB. The truth is, they are not and as such, there is absolutely no justification on any grounds whatsoever for the badger cull any more than there is justification for any cull of any animal anywhere. And yes that goes for the grey squirrel too. 

There is apparently an effective vaccine for the form of TB that badgers carry, yet a shortage of funds (read cuts) has ceased the nationwide vaccination programme. I will be willing to bet everything that culling badgers are a cheaper option than implementing a nationwide vaccination programme. I also wager it’s cheaper than compelling the meat and dairy industry to improve its practices. I fail to see the intensive animal husbandry which characterises industrial-scale farming is NOT (amongst other issues) a breeding ground for disease.

Bottom line, the cull not work, is a fop to the landowners, the NFU and the meat and dairy industry and it won’t stop the spread of Bovine TB. It flies straight in the face of objective and peer-reviewed science (nothing new there). It will cost the UK taxpayer millions of pounds. It will do nothing to compel the meat and dairy industry to change the way it operates. As things stand in a post-Brexit Britain the exact opposite is more likely. It will satisfy the bloodlust, sadism and cruelty of those employed to carry out the shooting. Finally and most important, it will continue to have a hugely detrimental impact on the ecology and future food security of this country.

Mark Plummer BSc / PGCE

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