WMN opinion: Shameful and unjustified attack on farming families
There are, most reasonable people accept, some perfectly sensible arguments that can be marshalled against the pilot cull of badgers to control bovine TB. Although the Western Morning News supports the cull on the basis that no country in the world has tackled TB in domestic animals without also controlling it in the wild, we listen to the opposing case and take it on board. That's the right thing to do.
But when Brian May, agitator in chief of the anti-cull lobby, starts warning that introducing a cull of badgers will usher back the medieval practice of burning witches at the stake, all rights he has to be taken seriously in that debate disappear out of the window. And when, further, he launches outrageous attacks on those who have raised legitimate questions about the policies on prosecutions pursued by the RSPCA, comparing them to the defenders of paedophiles, then any credibility he may have had is completely shot to pieces.
Dr May attacks the "Countryside Alliance, elements of the National Farmers' Union, elements of the press and media and elements of the very Government of this country" for the questions they have raised about the RSPCA's current aggressive legal policy against those it accuses of mistreating animals. "Imagine if a bunch of child abusers bandied together to spread vile propaganda against the NSPCC, its officers and the very children that were abused," he said. "This terrible scenario is exactly what the RSPCA is being subjected to, the only difference being that the creatures involved are non-human."
Not content with that breathtaking assertion, which is so preposterous as to be barely worth a response, he goes on to allege that the real motive behind the badger cull is to bring back fox-hunting, hare coursing and stag-hunting. Hitting his stride, he further suggests that badger baiting, bear baiting and witch burning will be next.
Sign up NOW for a 6 week training program starting in January 2014 and get a 30% discount!
Start a fresh in 2014 with a Personal Trainer! I come to you and design a program to achieve your goals!!
Terms: Within the Mid-North Devon Region. One Voucher per person.
Contact: 07855 055 682
Valid until: Friday, January 31 2014
If Dr May is seriously suggesting that farmers like Richard Foss, featured in today's WMN because his herd has gone down with bovine TB – almost certainly through contact with badgers – want to secretly bring back bear-baiting, he really has lost the plot. If he thinks all those thousands of desperate farming families who have lost stock and are at the end of their tether about this dreadful rural plague are using support for the badger cull as "cover" to commit cruelty he should be ashamed of himself. Dr May talks about RSPCA detractors being "pro-cruelty" and of the badger cull "setting the value of every wild animal at zero". Isn't it cruel to condemn cattle to endless tests followed by slaughter? Doesn't a refusal to see this only as an issue of the preservation of every individual badger put the value of farming families that rear cattle, cherish them and try to keep them free from disease at zero?
Bovine TB is a crisis for the whole countryside, Dr May. Understand that, or keep out of the debate.