Category: Conservation


Today, The Sunday Times printed an article revealing what happens to infected cattle.

After reading this article, am I alone in thinking, ‘what’s the point?’

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/Health/article1281338.ece

Furthering my conviction that the cull isn’t about BTb but more about the badger’s presence being an inconvenience to future mass development in our countryside.

I finally received a response to my blog post ‘Oi! Wake up, Arthur!’ this week (20th June 2013) which I had sent to MP Nick Boles’ office. Of course, Nick was too busy doing what’s best for Britain so this has come from someone else in his office. After reading it, I invented a game; how many times does the word ‘framework’ appear? Great choice of word by them as it basically means ‘interpret it any way you like and do what the f*ck you want!’

 

Dear Mr Connor

Thank you for your email of 30 May to Nick Boles MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Planning, about development and the countryside.  I have been asked to reply.

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It is strange how the smallest of incidents can set one off down a path in life never previously considered. One such incident happened to me back in 2003.

In the pursuit of finding somewhere dry to while away a particularly wet lunchtime hour, I happened into a charity bookshop. Something caught my eye and, whilst pulling it off the shelf, a second book fell out and clattered to the floor. I stooped to pick it up and glanced at the cover; “A Guide to Whales and Dolphins of the World”.

I casually flicked through the pages and spotted a little box halfway down the page devoted to the Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin. The picture inside the little box showed two bubblegum-pink dolphins breaking through the dark blue waters with a headline proclaiming “Hong Kong’s Pink Dolphins”.

I was intrigued; I’d never heard about dolphins in Hong Kong’s waters and was fascinated to read that the pink colouration did not come from its diet (like the flamingo) but from its over-developed blood vessels that blush through its pale, white skin. At birth, the babies are black, then slowly change to grey and from grey they begin to pinken. All in all, a quite remarkable animal and one I vowed to one day see.

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It’s that time of year again and, on a dead branch of a cherry tree (just outside my kitchen window), sit four dumpy, newly fledged sparrows. With their large yellow gapes and fluffed-up feathers they look as if they’d be more at home in a Disney movie rather than a suburban garden. With quivering wings they beg incessantly to be fed by their smart chestnut-brown father. Watching them and listening to their ‘chirrup-chirrup’ calls transports me away from Dorset and back to the late 1970s and my Nan’s garden in Tottenham, North London.

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We spent the recent Bank holiday weekend in Somerset visiting many of the sites associated with the legend of King Arthur. Whilst visiting Cadbury Castle (a windswept hillfort and a contender for the fabled site of Camelot) I thought about a tale I’d heard back in Glastonbury; it spoke of King Arthur and his knights “sleeping under a huge mound of a green hill quietly awaiting the call to arms for their beloved country”. It would appear that the great king is quietly biding his time and, when England is at her greatest peril, he will rise up and save the land.

As I trod wearily (and out of breath) towards the summit I wondered if they were indeed sleeping quietly beneath my boots and cursed the fact that I hadn’t brought a copy of MP Nick Boles’ latest announcement on the future of England’s countryside with me to read aloud and possibly rouse them from their turf-covered slumbers.

For, according to Mr Boles (in a tone remarkably reminiscent to the environmental minister’s slamming of anti-badger cull protests as “sad sentimentality”), said “the sum of human happiness that is created by the houses that are built is vastly greater than the economic, social and environmental value of a field growing wheat or rape”.

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In the letters page of today’s Dorset Echo (22nd May 2013), one wonders if the anonymous writer is (or is a friend of) ‘Nick’ who commented on a previous pro-cull article on here: https://leeconnorblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/reply-from-the-pro-badger-cull-lobby/

Yet again, no real points are made…

http://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/yousay/yourletters/10435185.Badgers_are_danger_to_cows/

In reply to the two letters which you have printed in defence of badgers, may I reply.

Since the unwise legislation a few years ago which made these animals a protected species, there has been a vast increase in their numbers, they have probably trebled. After all badgers have no natural enemies.

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My personal recollections of watching the brown hare in Hertfordshire and the need for a ‘close season’…

I’ve often wondered exactly what factors are needed to create a naturalist. I mean, what exactly is it that causes that insatiable thirst for information and a life long appreciation of the natural world?

I know a number of those who’ve ‘found’ nature had a sense of feeling ‘different’ from other kids – a sense of isolation. Others with a love of nature suffered bullying as children and a few (like me) had what is often described as a ‘troubled’ background.

This troubled background stemmed from a violent and alcoholic father and it was the need to escape his wrath that pushed me out into exploring our countryside, rootling through hedgerows, splashing through streams and turning over logs and rocks studying the various creepy crawlies that lived underneath.

And, whilst doing so, the memories of the smashed-up living room, broken vases or the cruel words aimed at me lost their power and prominence in my mind. Friday nights were always the most dreaded and it became a ritual to ‘evacuate’ the home and, accompanying me on many a Friday evening ramble through the Hertfordshire countryside, was my little sister (and our dog, Lucy).

It was on one such escapade that we stumbled quite by chance into the ‘Kingdom of the Hares’.

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I thought it would be worthwhile expanding on the discussion relating to controlling apex predators, as brought up in the comments of this previous blog post about the badger cull: https://leeconnorblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/reply-from-the-pro-badger-cull-lobby/

I’ve heard the same argument for ‘controlling predators’ justified by now linking ‘increased badger numbers to a fall in songbirds/bees/hedgehogs numbers’ which I feel is ridiculous. As one can see from my photos, I have badgers in my garden and it is also filled with songbirds, bees and hedgehogs. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that we also have hedges, stands of mixed woodland and pasture around us – for now, that is, as developers are keenly eyeing it up while being urged on by our government.

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CHANGE OF DIRECTION?

There seems to be movement away from the issue of Bovine TB (which I thought was the reason for the cull) to a need to control rising badger numbers.

An interesting theme from the pro-cull lobby is the reference to the badger being an apex predator with nothing to control its numbers. Do these people making these claims drive around with their eyes shut?

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Robert Tuck writes in today’s (17th May 2013) Bournemouth Echo (and Dorset Echo) in support of my letter from last week.

http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/yoursay/letterstotheeditor/10426821.Money_wasted_over_cull_issue/

http://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/yousay/yourletters/10427015.Badger_cull_a_waste_of_time/

 

Lee Connor (Letters, May 10) is absolutely correct about the badger cull.

This government has spent and wasted £50million of taxpayers’ money on research, the findings of which they are now choosing to deliberately ignore in order to curry favour with their farming supporters, although it has to be noted that a few farmers are not in favour of this cull. Much destruction and cruelty will be caused which could be avoided by a systematic vaccination programme, which is already being trialled in some areas by those who are trying desperately to save the badgers.

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