Increasingly those who previously had no interest in farming or food production are now not only interested but developing strong opinions. Good for Jeremy and his team at Diddly Squat Farm for not only appealing to the masses, but for raising issues such as badgers and planning, which impact massively on the viability of all farm businesses.
These matters do not often make headlines, they are mostly discussed by frustrated farmers and landowners getting together at local NFU gatherings, livestock markets and pubs, but now increasingly amongst the public.
As for badgers, I hope by highlighting the catastrophic effect these carriers of TB have on livestock, and farm businesses, the message may eventually filter through to ministers.
Badgers have been protected since 1973. Since 1980 their numbers have doubled; the current population in the UK is around 400,000, a quarter of the global population.
Surely it is time to revisit the reason why badgers require protecting, in 2023 badger baiting is no longer an issue.
Today the life of one badger has become more important than a valuable herd of cattle, farming enterprises, the milk and meat they produce, and dependent families. It is beyond comprehension why this situation is allowed to continue.
Farmers historically controlled badger numbers and protected the sets on their farms. Badgers secure their territory and prevent others moving in carrying disease, where there is little or none. However, numbers must be controlled, or they move on into new territory.
It is encouraging to read in the Polar Wildlife Report 2022, published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) that zoologist Dr Susan Crockford explains how ice-dependent species in the Arctic and Antarctic show no sign of impending population crashes due to lack of sea ice. She reveals that 2022 reports show that polar wildlife is not suffering because of reduced sea-ice extent: no starving polar bears or walrus, no beach-cast dead seals, no marked decline in great whale numbers and no drowned penguin chicks.
The decline in Antarctic penguin species and minke whale is unrelated to sea-ice cover in the Southern Ocean. Similarly, in the Arctic, a recent 27% decline in polar bear numbers in Western Hudson Bay was found unrelated to sea-ice conditions.
Contrary to all expectations, critical Antarctic winter sea ice has been increasing since 1979. She said computer models of future Antarctic sea ice coverage are, “seriously flawed but biologists concerned about emperor penguins have continued to use them to justify alarmist predictions.”
Dr Crockford concluded: “In both the Arctic and Antarctic, less summer sea ice has meant increased primary productivity, which has meant more food for the animals. This explains in part why polar wildlife continues to thrive, even in areas with much reduced summer sea-ice coverage.”