No Monitoring and No Way Out for Paterson

Posted: May 1, 2014 in Comment
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So while we await any further updates on the continuation of the culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire and the legal challenge from the Badger Trust we’re left to ponder the news that no independent monitoring will take place if and when the guns start firing again. This information came to light during Parliamentary questions where Shadow Environment Minister, Maria Eagle challenged George Eustice on the subject.

“To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he plans to ask the Independent Expert Panel which recently reported on the first year of the pilot badger culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire to report on the second year of such culls”.

The response is simple and shocking.

“I have no plans to ask the Independent Expert Panel to report on the second year of the pilot badger culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire”. 

In light of the scathing report which came from the IEP and even with the lack of data they received I guess it should come as no surprise that the Government really don’t want to be told time and again that what they’re doing is, apart from hugely unpopular both inhumane and ineffective and that’s not even bringing the simple subject of cost into the equation.

Maria Eagles again: “What do the Tories do if they don’t like the independent scientific advice they get? Stop asking for advice”.

So where does this leave Owen Paterson and the Government?

Paterson with his chums at the CA

Paterson with his chums at the CA

They’re clearly in full retreat and searching for an exit strategy that allows them some sort of face saving exercise, however their masters in the NFU are still on the PR offensive and if the pathetic attempts both on social media and in the press are to be believed then the beleaguered Badger is responsible for the reduction in pretty much every native UK species and pot holes in the road too. This is of course complete nonsense; Hares, Hedgehogs and ground nesting birds are in serious decline but the reasons are simple, the industrialisation of modern farming methods means a lack of both food and suitable habitat for the birds and Hares while the combination of fenced gardens and slug pellets for Hedgehogs is very bad news. However this continued attempt to mislead the public shows that the NFU are still hell bent on removing Badgers from their land and will not let up on the pressure piled on Paterson now their justification which was Bovine TB has been shown to be solvable via other more environmental methods.

With the NFU and Countryside Alliance pressure on one side and pretty much all of the scientific community and Joe public on the other there is no way for Paterson to come out of this without being covered in the muck spread from his own bullshit machine. Even the BVA, an organisation deeply entrenched in the farming industry is starting to distance itself from the policy although as guardians of animal welfare they should jumped from that particular fence a long time ago. The decision to continue the pointless slaughter in the South West was clearly the best he could do in the circumstances. They realise that a further term in office is unlikely so claiming the wider roll-out has merely been delayed is either a show of unbelievable arrogance or an empty promise, one they’ll never have to fulfill. However while attempting to save face he’s just shown a complete lack of spine and pleased neither camp. He’s being criticized by the pro-cull lobby for not rolling out further and by the environmentalists and the public for not stopping it altogether. The man really is a weapons grade arse and the sooner he fades like a bad dream into history then the better for all concerned.

So what about the lack of monitoring?

A question via Twitter from Mr_TB Free with regards to this and the answer from Defra left us in no doubt there would be trouble ahead.


I almost coughed up my cup of tea when reading that one. From the outset last autumn it was clear the license conditions were being openly flouted unless an independent monitor was present and now further information has come to light that the NFU instructed its contractors to ignore the best practice guidelines in the effort to kill more animals with complete disregard for the safety of both themselves, the protesters in the field and the welfare of the animals being targeted. Now, further down the line it seems a green light has been given to kill in any means possible with no apparent repercussions. The possible nightmare of free roaming Badger killers shooting wildly at night makes the potential for conflict with protesters, accidents or even worse extremely high. There is no way the police will be able to keep control of the situation regardless of the number of officers they deploy. With contractors just as eager to avoid contact with the police as the sabs I have no doubt this whole situation will be a recipe for disaster.

We can only hope this whole messy situation doesn’t get that far but at least (if you’ve been reading this blog) you’ll be prepared if it does. See you in the fields.

  1. drew says:

    quite looking forward to the potential conflict to be honest…

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