You won’t get a lot of political opinion on this blog; that’s not really what it’s for, and neither Steph nor I are particularly preachy at the best of times, unless we’ve found a great new restaurant we want to share. But here’s a tragedy, which unless you live in the country, you probably won’t be aware of.
Last weekend we visited my dad at his non-working farm in Wales. He might dispute it being ‘non-working’, because he works very hard to keep the place the wonderful sanctuary it is. But in the traditional sense, it is non-working, because it produces no crops or livestock. The farm next door however is a working farm, and among other things, they have a small but wonderful heard of 17 Hereford cattle. They’re fantastic animals; inquisitive and beautiful, and very tolerant of our dog who makes a nuisance of himself around them.
This weekend the farmer had just learned that nine of his lovely beasts had to be put down due to Bovine Tuberculosis. The animals looked in great shape and were otherwise perfectly healthy, but they had to be destroyed. The farmer will be compensated by the Government, but he was nonetheless deeply saddened by this news having brought them up and looked after them for many months, and in some cases, years.
So over half his heard lost in an instant to a disease which has split opinion for years. Some people believe that badgers are responsible, and that wiping them out (as apparently they have done in most of mainland Europe) will stop the spread of the disease. But surely that can’t be the only answer?! The badger is an icon of British wildlife (literally in the case of the Wildlife Trusts, which have the badger on their logo!), and to take out the entire species from our island would be a terrible thing, not to mention extremely costly and a massive logistical challenge.
I don’t have the answer to this one, and I’m not pushing a particular agenda: As someone who loves nature, wildlife and animals in general, I just wanted to highlight a significant issue which isn’t heavily publicised much these days, but which affects thousands of animals and people every day.