Why the facts & figures are an irrelevance in the badger cull debate & how #Badger, part of our woodland ecology, has become an eco warrior now standing at the forefront of a nationwide mass rebellion to protect our trees & wildlife.
The facts and figures not relevant?! Let me first be clear: as a nature conservation group we at AST, applaud #BadgerPatrol. Vaccination costs just £80 per animal versus thousands per animal culled. It makes no economic sense and the cull is being implemented by illegal means as you can see below where Badger Patrol found a badger that had been left for many hours trapped in a cage causing much unnecessary suffering. I come from a farming family and my grandfather (who kept cows) would be rolling in his grave right now if he could see what is currently happening.
Did you know that people passed TB to cattle and then it was passed onto the badgers? The key then to resolving this current situation is responsible farming practices, vaccinating badgers, supporting the farming community and conscious consumerism.
In the meantime please join your local patrol & help protect our woodland neighbours! If you can't walk far then you can be a driver (like me) and take the walking patrols out. As the Founder of AST - #AncientandSacredTrees I can categorically state we are against the cull.
The cull is damaging our farming community and if the NFU & the government do not listen to the general public & to the scientists who have said repeatedly that this cull does not work they will find it will increasingly damages farmers pockets as people spend elsewhere & boycott milk & other products.
Our farming community is being duped by the NFU & the farming newspapers in service to big business while this iconic species is being exterminated. Up to 64,000 animals are likely to be killed this autumn, up from a maximum of 42,000 last year. We at AST will not support this attempt at species extinction.
Do we love this planet and do we want to survive or not? If we do then we must be prepared to make changes ... and our farmers must be given all the support they need to change to more sustainable wildlife friendly farming methods.
As I said in response to a pro cull comment in our group, Badger is part of the woodland ... it's the thin end of the wedge ... we let badgers become extinct and whats next? Emotive language you might think but as another member sensibly pointed out when I wrote this "there is no point in a cull unless you kill all the animals if they are believed to be carriers".
In fact in areas where the cull has taken place, TB in cattle has actually risen. The government is choosing to ignore a specially commissioned report telling them that the cull is ineffective. So, the government itself is paying no heed to the facts and figures thus making them obsolete in the protests against the cull. What then is the alternative?
If the facts and figures aren't working to protect our badgers then what is the argument? How is it possible to get the cull repealed? What can we do to protect badgers?
The pro cull advocates talk about having an "appropriate balance in nature. My response is that there would be balance in nature if it were not for humankind treating the world as a tool for relentless self gain. The badger cull is unprecedented in scale ... and what is an acceptable level? Who on earth are we as a species to decide what is an acceptable level in terms of wild nature?? We have no idea what an "acceptable level" is or we would not be experiencing the catastrophic decline & extinction of countless species across the world. We could argue about facts and figures for eternity and, as we know, the government is ignoring them anyway.
By sharing information & beauty AST encourages knowledge & understanding of trees and the wider countryside, hopefully inspiring love that will provide the impetus to gain it more protection. We add a significant voice to all sorts of tree and woodland petitions which is critical if we are to halt the devastation being caused to the #environment currently taking place here as well as across the world.
It is becoming very clear that, to put it bluntly, people are generally losing patience with being ignored. It is clear that people feel their voice is being ignored and what matters to them is being sidelined. Why else are there mass demonstrations by #ExtinctionRebellion & why is #GretaThunberg doing so well? Because they are telling the truth, and people are supporting them because they want to see positive change to protect the land, its plants and animals, the air, the waters, and its' peoples too. While not everyone may agree with the methods being employed by ExR for example there is no doubt that the environment is now a hot topic of conversation.
There is now a groundswell of support for our hero Badger whose persecution has stirred the public into outrage. More and more are taking to the land to patrol day & night to protect this iconic British species. However, this is not just 'hippies' that so many like to decry, or just the middle classes, this is the average man-on-the-street.
Badger then has become the line drawn in the sand for the British Public. Badger represents everything that is Great about the British countryside.
I think people are reaching the bottom line. They are seeing #climatechange, they are seeing the environmental devastation both abroad and at home, and they are asking themselves what can they do to help. As an iconic British species people are focusing on Badger as a very visible, and very local, representation of the wildlife & countryside that is in such desperate need of protection.
Bader Patrol is a very practical way to help Badger and also to send out a very clear message to the Powers-That-Be that people have had enough. The public is concerned and the public want to help. We, the public, are making a stand against the politics and big business that have very clearly impacted our environment with disastrous consequences.
Our insect population has declined by 75%, only 14% of our rivers remain unpolluted, hedgehogs are down from 36 million to less than a million. Who could believe that our beloved Mrs Tiggywinkle is on the endangered list? The public know full well that if they do not take a stand now, once and for all, that there will be no end to the war against our wild friends.
The State of Nature report shows, in grim detail, that almost one in five plants are classified as being at risk of extinction, along with 15% of fungi and lichens, 40% of vertebrates and 12% of invertebrates. It paints a picture of what conservationists call "the great thinning", with 60% of "priority species" having declined since 1970.
Yet despite these figures the government and agribusiness still think that a 70% cull of badgers is acceptable! 70% as a minimum number of badgers killed. Evidence indeed that the facts and figures in the cull are an irrelevance as far as big business is concerned. In the end only one thing will convince these organisations ... and that is money. With 25% and rising of all milk sales now non dairy items our farmers are starting to feel the pinch.
Another point here is the demand for cheap milk by consumers. 12p per litre of milk is not sustainable for farmers. Small farms are suffering at the hands of big business. Did you know that 1 out of every 10 farms are closing? Did you know that at least one farmer with a mental health problem takes their own life each week in the UK (ONS, 2018)*. Of the the dairy farms that remain they are getting bigger and bigger. Cows are being kept in sheds never to see the light of day.
What will happen once people realise that their daily pint of milk, their cheese sandwich and plate of cheese and biscuits is contributing to the extermination of badgers and to poorly treated cattle? ( I like eating cheese and biscuits, but not enough to warrant the killing of my woodland neighbours & keeping cows in sheds all year round).
What we must ask ourselves is this one question ...
Are we prepared to treat nature, our fellow beings, this world, as our equals & treat them with respect or not? .........
Yes, living things must die that we might live, wether we eat meat, are veggie or vegan, but the point is must the land & its inhabitants be caused suffering simply because we want an easy life with luxuries? The land and all the wildlife that lives upon it are at breaking point because of our refusal to compromise and to live a more sustainable lifestyle. This includes thinking about what we eat and making conscious choices.
The #consciousconsumer is a key trend for 2019,* with animal welfare being at the forefront of many consumers’ purchasing decisions. As we choose where to spend our money we will be directly influencing big business, and coupled with direct action this makes for a compelling argument against the cull.
Ultimately we need to rethink our relationship with nature if we are to save our green and pleasant land and its inhabitants for the generations (both human & wild) to come. As a nature conservation group we at AST naturally support the protection of woodland ecology which is a very delicate ecosystem very easily disrupted & destroyed.
The facts and figures are excellent for educating the public to motivate change even if they don't work with pro cull lobby.
I leave you with one more item for contemplation here ... The UK once mostly covered with forest now has only 1% to 2% left of its original ancient woodland and it has been cleared at a rate faster even than the Amazon.* Add to this the catastrophic impact HS2 will have, i.e. 108 ancient woodlands, 33 SSSIs & 693 wildlife areas along the route all to be destroyed.
Our temperate rainforest has been all but exterminated. And what of its' inhabitants including Badger?.... Is this a price we wish to continuing paying? If we do then we will have to consider the outcome for the future, not just for badgers and other wildlife but also for ourselves.
Positive Actions you can take: Ask yourself Am I prepared to treat nature, my fellow beings, this world, as my equals & treat them with respect or not? ........ https://www.teambadger.org/wounded-badger-patrols You can put the Great back into Britain and support our national hero Badger the Eco Warrior by joining your local group as listed here as a driver or walker. Choosing to be a conscious consumer. Choosing not to eat cheap dairy. That cheap milk you buy sustains the badger cull. Only eat from a reputable source supporting ethical farmers. Sharing the cull facts and its impacts with all your friends. Support initiatives to support farmers to change to must sustainable farming methods Support sustainable farms. Make sure you ask how the cows are treated and if they are pro badger vaccinations rather than the cull. Join us here on this website it is Free to be kept updated with Positive Newsletters and giving you the chance for your voice to be heard. Come and be a Positive Activist.
Badger has led many more people into questioning not just the dairy industry but farming and big business as a whole. While the industry ignores the facts and figures Badger continues to lead many more people into becoming more aware of the environment and our impact upon it. Perhaps we should thank the pro cull lobby for the wake up call. Thanks to them they have turned Badger into an eco warrior, teacher and hero spearheading the environmental movement.
From Amanda x AST Founder & proud member of Badger Patrol
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* Source https://nbn.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/State-of-Nature-2019-UK-full-report.pdf so you can read it for yourselves.
*Conscious consumer https://blog.euromonitor.com/meet-the-conscious-consumer/