Increased outbreaks across Sussex are deeply concerning, not only is this devastating for farmers affected, it concerns others buying in new cattle.
Last Wednesday I bought 8 Sussex steers at Hailsham Market, which had been bred on farms in West Sussex. They are beautiful cattle and I trust they bring with them nothing unexpected.
Maria Caulfield MP for Lewes, asked Agricultural Minister George Eustice if the Government had plans to roll out the badger pilot vaccination programme across Sussex, now an increasingly high risk area. The Minister said he was aware of the problem and would seriously consider such action.
Since 2008 more than 255,000 TB-infected cattle have been culled in Britain, now on average 26,000 each year. Farmers are compensated for their loss but do not receive full value for their livestock
Cattle numbers are declining, and a steady flow of dairy farmers are throwing in the towel due to a combination of coping with TB outbreaks and the price of milk below the cost of production.
On the other hand the numbers of badgers has soared from around 250,000 in the mid-1960s to over 400,000. They are hardly an endangered species and it is beyond comprehension as to why they continue to be protected. I rather think it should be the cattle which are protected, and hardworking livestock farmers who are becoming increasingly endangered.
The badger cull in the West Country appeared to be showing signs of success, and this alongside a programme of vaccination should now be driven hard by DEFRA. However it is concerning to see these programmes, and companies such as Caffe Nero buckling under pressure from a small bunch of animal rights activists. Their threats include targeted action unless the cull is terminated, and companies targeted unless they refuse to use milk from farms which fall within the TB eradication trial area. This is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.
These ignorant thugs now plan to target Sainsbury in a similar manner. This will stop valuable milk contracts for dairy farmers who are already struggling to cope.
It is difficult to comprehend why these fanatics hate farmers so much. They are anti everything with little understanding of the root cause and effect of dealing with infected badgers.
There is a growing and intense sense of intolerance in our society. Whether it is to do with badgers, the Scottish referendum, or a chance remark which was meant as a harmless attempt at irony during a speech, by eminent Nobel Prize winning scientist Sir Tim Hunt. This latter case has flagged up the nasty intolerance of some feminist, and the weakness of the board at University College London (UCL) and others, which insisted the Sir Tim should resign.
He has also been sacked from his post on the European Research Council’s science committee, and has resigned from other posts, including membership of a Royal Society committee.
Why anyone should be offended or consider Sir Tim’s opinion to be particularly controversial or offensive is baffling. Why on earth he could not be allowed to say what he thinks is a complete mystery. I despair at the intolerance of individuals but even more so by the mass hysteria generated by people on social media who obviously live sad lives with little to do but try to curb free speech.
I hope Sir Tim will receive an apology from UCL along with the other organisations which have treated him so shabbily. They should beg this talented Nobel-winning scientist to return to his posts. As for the wailing feminists, what they have managed to do is confirm exactly what he alluded to in his speech in South Korea; he was spot on!
The build up to the EU referendum continues apace. The void between the two sides widens by the day, and it is interesting to see those prepared to stand up and be counted, with an increasing passion.
The relative ‘new boy’ who has been given the task of leading the campaign to get Britain out of the EU is not holding back on his verbal punches. The MP for High Wycombe is already outraged by the attempts by party whips to pressurise MPs to support David Cameron’s line by stripping their constituencies of cash, or denying them future promotion.
Mr Baker, a former RAF engineer and a devout Christian is seen as a fresh face and a decent guy. No doubt his task will be made easier following the recent remarks by the President of the European Parliament who said, “The EU and Britain is one thing. The UK belongs to the EU!” Also, a large group of business leaders are demanding that David Cameron leads the UK out of Europe if he fails to achieve the changes necessary. Which leaves the Prime Minister under increasing pressure.
The official aim of Mr Baker’s ‘Conservative For Britain’ group is to see if David Cameron wins enough concessions from the EU before deciding how to vote in the referendum. It is already as clear as Gin that he will fall well short of expectations.
Carola Godman Irvine