RSPCA will pay the price for its stance on badger cull
The sound of six rifle shots in the night is a sign, according to one of the pro-badgerites, that it has taken a marksman six attempts to kill a badger.
This is yet another example of the circumstances being distorted into their worst-possible interpretation without the slightest knowledge of the facts.
Such is the art of the black propagandist. I am merely an optimist, and would thus assume that six rifle shots equals six badgers dispatched. And I'll drink a toast to every single one, because this represents six small steps on the way to eradicating a terrible disease.
The shooting has certainly been conducted briskly enough hereabouts. I've been lying in bed listening to it for the last few evenings. There is, indeed, a good deal of determination surrounding the operation, from the highest recesses of Defra to the farmers out in the night-time fields.
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There is also general relief that at last, after years of dithering and paltry excuses for inaction, we are tackling a problem which most people in this part of the world believe should have been addressed long ago.
For all their bravado and threats the badger sympathisers haven't yet made much headway impeding the progress of the cull – but don't expect the dirty tricks to stop.
But at least the RSPCA has been headed off from naming and shaming people taking part in the cull, after receiving what looks very much like a gipsy's warning from the Charity Commission.
You may recall RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant calling for farmers involved in the cull to be named and for a boycott of milk from farmers in badger cull areas. But it now appears he has had some difficulty directing the commissioners' attention to any reference in the RSPCA's aims, objectives and articles of association where issuing such threats is laid down as part of its remit.
The more Mr Grant carries on like this the more it appears he is using the RSPCA as a vehicle for the elevation of his own profile and the furtherance of his hitherto none-too-successful political career.
If the RSPCA wants to align itself with the anarchists, anti-farmer extremists, and all-purpose work-shy layabouts, who turn out to protest about anything from a gas pipeline to fracking, to GM crops to the killing of diseased and highly infectious badgers, well, fine.
Its traditional supporters, however, may start preferring to keep their purses firmly closed the next time a collecting box is shoved under their noses.