WMN opinion: Badger cull is wretched necessity until a real alternative is found
And so the badger cull continues. And so too the protests, the marches, the debates, the letters to the editor and indeed the opinion columns.
The airwaves, the internet and newspaper columns remain full of debate – and yesterday anti-cull activists were elated to read the country's leading disease researchers report that the cull might slow the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) but will probably never be able to control it.
Christl Donnelly, professor of statistical epidemiology at Imperial College London, told a seminar at Cambridge University's Isaac Newton Institute: "The new cull may hold back the disease but may never eradicate it."
And James Wood, professor of farm animal science at Cambridge, joined Donnelly saying that the best hope for eradicating the disease was the development of vaccines.
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The anti-cull lobby's elation should not be too great however.
The development of vaccines is many years away, and Wood concluded, like many others, that the cull was the best available option.
The pilot culls were always designed as exactly that – pilots to test how much the incidence of bTB will be reduced.
Everybody knows it will take years to eradicate a disease that is causing misery to farmers and their families, and great suffering among cattle and wildlife. It will not be eradicated without tackling it in the wild.
The cull is a wretched business for any involved, and none will be taking any pleasure in it.
Continued political procrastination over tackling this blight in our countryside has left us with a problem that is going to take at least 25 years to conquer.
Until there are viable and effective alternatives, the cull is an unpleasant necessity in restricting the spread of a terrible disease.
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The best summer for more than five years, and the relief is palpable.
The Westcountry's tourist sector is breathing a collective "sigh of relief" after the best August for five years – and so should all of us who live and work here.
Tourism is the lifeblood of the local economy with the industry being worth more than £2 billion a year in Devon and Cornwall.
A succession of miserable summers had put the West's tourist industry on the critical list.
But now an extended period of fabulous weather has provided a welcome shot in the arm.
Crucially the summer seems to have opened up the West to significant numbers of new visitors.
Last year 9% of visitors were new and this year that has risen to 13%. With an eight-in-ten chance that they will return, this really is good news for the industry.
Now its challenge will be to continue to invest and improve the tourism offer so that Devon and Cornwall rally do become a year-round destination.