Badgers not to blame?

18 October 2010

Further to the announcement that the Con-Dem government is going ahead with plans for Badger culling, with farmers themselves to bear the cost and responsibility of killing, I decided to trawl the Guardian and Telegraph websites for comments on what may be a very counter-productive (depending of course on what your definition of productive is!) route.

Guardian readers appear far more concerned than those of the Telegraph, if numbers of responses are anything to go by, but responses were mixed from both groups.  We know that previous culls have not solved anything and in some cases exacerbated the problem but this does not seem to stop the government who seem keen to reverse the Labour adminstration's decision to lead on a science-based approach. Perhaps out of the plethora of opinion on the subject we should focus on the problem which is ourselves. One of the responses read as follows:

"One of the many themes being generated here on this very sad topic is that culls are only unsuccessful when they are wide and deep. This begs the question of when, and it will be when, the killing of thousands of badgers fails to eradicate bovine TB completely - there are simply too many other variables to ever feel safe in the simplistic conclusions made by some here - what then? Find another native species that needs to be 'exterminated'? Perhaps it will be the Bumble bee, except these are not doing well as it is so perhaps no further killing will be required? The truly sad thing here is that people are looking outside of themselves for cures for these sorts of thing, usually to the detriment of other species, instead of looking in the mirror."

In other words, perhaps, we should be looking to the way our economy works. At the moment we have one in which ever increasing profits are the only way to go. Farmers bear the brunt of  the outfall of this approach when it comes to intensification of  food production. Let's face it, in general it's not the farmers but our massive population which needs feeding, which pressures them to intensify. (Maybe we should be thinking at the same time about culling ourselves with a bit more emphasis on birth control) But it's also the way farming is frequently conducted - such as with absentee landlords who only care about profits. Not all dairy farmers want a cull, and it's not only intensive farms with frequent trafficking of cattle which get hit - organic farmers who haven't bought in stock for 30 years suffer from TB too.   But we should be taking due regard of an essential ecological system which is increasingly being eroded through our relentless drive for profits and cheap food. We all need to take a really deep look at the way the economy is run and ask ourselves if we really want to carry on down a road where eventually money will be useless because there will be nothing to buy. We need to respect the farmers' need to survive because food is essential, but we also need to question our own priorities and ask if we have got them right.

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