One of the things that I have been following a great deal over the last few months is the badger cull in Gloucestershire and Somerset. While I can sympathise with the farming community over the effects of Bovine TB on their livelihoods I cannot agree with the slaughter of the badgers. My grandfather was an agricultural vet and dealt with animals on a daily basis and I have inherited a love of the natural world and a desire to protect it. A great deal of my poetry uses imagery from the natural world and my novel The Cry of the Loon deals at its heart with man amongst the landscape and animals of Vermont and Quebec.In the late 1980’s I even started a novel about badgers called Keepers Wood. It was in the style of Watership Down and Duncton Wood but despite writing about 11,000 words it remains unfinished.
I have heard both sides of the argument and believe that vaccination and better animal husbandry are key ways of tackling BTB. One of the best speeches against the cull was given by Simon King who is an amazing cameraman whom I have admired for years. It is worth watching and can say more against the cull than I can. It never ceases to amaze that politicians like Owen Paterson will continually drive forward things that clearly don’t work for political ends. The Conservative party are one of the worst. Their whole agenda is tied up with big business, profit, selling off our assets; such as the post office, and appealing to their rural voters. Hopefully more people like Simon King, Bill Odie, Brian May and Chris Packham will stand up and be counted. I certainly will.
- Badger cull to be extended despite failure to hit targets (thetimes.co.uk)