tagged w/ Badgers
February 21st, 2012 saw the first day of the National Farmers Union conference at the ICC in Birmingham, where controversial government policy regarding culling 70% of Britain's previously protected species status population of badgers was to be discussed.
Anti-cull protesters from various ethical groups as well as members of the public occupied the front of the conference hall in attempt to shame Caroline Spelman and the NFU and further raise awareness of a policy that flies in the face of previous scientific studies.February 21st, 2012 saw the first day of the National Farmers Union conference at the... more
Did you hear about the guy who found a stowaway scorpion in his luggage after he and his family moved from Mexico to Toronto? Well, Billy Shawn was very shocked by this deadly visitor, who I guess was also looking for a new place to live. Fortunately, the Toronto Zoo has taken the little guy off their hands, but the encounter may have been fatal for any member of the Shawn family.
Top 10 Animals You Dont Want In Your Luggage
But what other creatures would you not want to find the minute you open your suitcase? Well, here’s our top 10 animals you don’t want in your luggage.Did you hear about the guy who found a stowaway scorpion in his luggage after he and... more
Kill the cull, not Wales's badgers
Despite no scientific evidence that bovine TB is transmitted by badgers, the farming lobby is hellbent on slaughtering them
o Brian May
o guardian.co.uk, Monday 12 July 2010 10.30 BST
o Article history
Photo: Badger cull An orphaned badger cub. Targeted culls of the animals are set to be given the go-ahead in England. Photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA
"Causing unnecessary suffering." In this second judicial review, in courtroom number 5 in Cardiff, this phrase leaps out at me. There is a whole mass of human behaviour which clearly, to anybody with a shred of integrity, falls into the category of "causing unnecessary suffering" – to other sentient creatures, human or otherwise. It ought to be clear, and people who know right from wrong should be putting up their hands to stop it. Yet the people who are causing this suffering, time and time again, find reasons to wriggle out of admitting their crime, and use any power or influence to enable themselves to go on causing the suffering. And this could apply to a government that orders the killing thousands of badgers under the pretext of fixing a disease problem in farmed animals.
The modern, intensive farming of cows, with hundreds (and soon thousands) bred and corralled in a small area, fed the same feed, attracts parasites and diseases. They have to be pumped with antibiotics and hormones to keep the diseases in check. This is why bovine TB became a problem in the UK.
The disease reached epidemic proportions by 1950, when cattle were still often bred in urban environments – and then following the introduction of compulsory skin testing, and the imposition of strict movement controls on cattle, which were also allowed more room to graze in the countryside, the problem was vastly reduced. By 1970, the incidence of bovine TB has dwindled almost to nothing. It was at this time that it was discovered that the cattle had infected Britain's ancient badger population with the disease.
At the beginning of the 1980s, the incidence of the disease in cattle began to increase again. There was disruption to the testing programme caused by BSE and the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. Yet the increase in prevalence of the disease was blamed on badgers.
To this day, nobody has been able to prove a mechanism for the transfer of bTB from badger to cow (though the transference from cow to badger is well-documented). The sudden outbreaks of bTB in areas of Britain hundreds of miles apart cannot possibly be blamed on badgers, which never travel more than 3 or 4 miles from their homes in their lifetimes.
Nevertheless, the legend spread among farmers that the badger was the villain – and sections of the farming community (not all, by any means) began screaming for their blood. Until recently, the government of both England and Wales resisted pressure to cull badgers, putting a high value on the lives of these ancient and innocent creatures. But, with the recent resurgence of Conservative-minded politicians, backed by organisations linked with the Countryside Alliance, the farming lobby has become more powerful.
In Wales, Elin Jones has already ordered the slaughter of badgers, and in England the same intention has been announced by the new heads of Defra, notably Jim Paice. In Wales, the only reason the killing has stalled for a moment is because the Badger Trust has mounted a judicial review (JR), challenging the right of the Welsh assembly to make such a decision. The first JR failed. This is the second, brought as an appeal against the first's decision that the Welsh government had acted properly.
One fact that emerges during proceedings is that the skin test is not at all accurate, so very often an animal is pronounced suspect, and is killed; then a postmortem is done and it is discovered that the cow was not sick at all. This is a "false positive" test result. One of the judges asked if there are also false negatives – the answer is "yes". So there are many animals infected with bTB whose flesh and milk do go into our food supplies, right now. Luckily for us, it's hard to get TB from eating meat, and the fact that all milk is now pasteurised means that there is pretty much zero chance of getting the disease from milk either.
So, why is it so crucial that bovine TB is eradicated? You might well ask. The true answer is that, health-wise for humans, it is not important at all. It's all about money. The farming laws of Europe dictate that if any herd has had an infected cow in it, the herd cannot be sold in Europe. So farmers are up in arms because the value of their herd is at a stroke slashed as soon as there is a confirmed "breakdown".
But there is more. Farming is one of the most heavily subsidised industries in Britain. Even if the whole herd has to be slaughtered (which is rare), the farmer is compensated for all loss of income. So, again, why the fuss? As far as I can see, it's about the government being able to show a profit from farming: it looks bad if it's subsidising losses all the time. This is a key bit of emotive propaganda that is used to justify culling the poor old badgers. "The government is spending all this money – it can't be allowed to go on …"
Outside the courtroom, in my mind's eye, I see this little drama in perspective – small and puny in context with the glaring monstrous crime about to be committed, by these few people, with piles of paper in front of them, all hinging around small issues of law. They talk about the gain in monetary terms, and they talk about "balance" of the deed of killing against the value gained. What price can you put on the life of just one innocent badger?
The badgers are a protected species – until the government decides they are a pariah.
The Elin Jones's proposed culling operation is a "trial". In other words, this is some kind of scientific experiment. If this weren't so serious, that would be a big laugh. First, the experiment has already been done, by the Independent Scientific Group, reporting to Defra: 11,000 badgers died in order that scientists could come to a clear conclusion that culling cannot work as a control for bTB. Second, there is no way this can be an experiment. The Welsh assembly's package is a mixture of methods – culling, testing, and mostly voluntary controls on the movement of cattle – and there is no control group to show what would have happened if the "experiment" had not been done.
In fact, there is no evidence that this proposed cull will produce any benefit at all.
I also hear from farmers at the other end of the spectrum who, privately, say they will not stand for the eradication of wildlife – who, like us, want to see for their grandchildren a countryside filled with healthy wild animals. The whole world will be watching to see if this government will be able to pull off this sledgehammer move in the face of public opinion. Perhaps this will be what people will look back on as the moment when the tide of cruelty turned – perhaps it will begin in Wales, right here. The JR judges have now declared that they will allow just one week for Welsh assembly ministers to rebuild their case, with session to be resumed on Wednesday 14 July.
I am praying the Welsh will not stand for this carnage. And that the world will listen.Kill the cull, not Wales's badgers Despite no scientific evidence that bovine... more
Host Conor Knighton ponders the new device in his weekly roundup of magazines, 'We've Got You Covered.' Also ready for their cover shot: Tina Fey in cuffs, Heidi Montag, the new hustlers, and baby couture.
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infoMania is a half-hour satirical news show that airs on Current TV. The show puts a comedic spin on the 24-hour chaos and information overload brought about by the constant bombardment of the media. Hosted by Conor Knighton and co-starring Brett Erlich, Sarah Haskins, Ben Hoffman, Bryan Safi and Sergio Cilli, the show airs on Thursdays at 10 pm Eastern and Pacific Times and can be found online at http://current.com/infomania/ or on Current TV. And make sure to check out our facebook profile for special features at http://facebook.com/infomania .Host Conor Knighton ponders the new device in his weekly roundup of magazines,... more
According to the Metro, Gareth Morgan has been sett in his ways and has been leaving his wife, Marion three times a week for a family of badgers.
Unlike his wife, the Badgers are eating out of the palm of his hands as they have become his surrogate family.
"People ask me what i whisper but that's between me and them" said the 68 year old man.
He's even been helping to treat their wounds, but can the badgers help his heal the massive wound that is Marion's broken heart? That is of course if she's actually at all bothered about him leaving her three times a week to spend time with the animals... at least she knows where he is!
ps - i wonder what it is he whispers to them?!According to the Metro, Gareth Morgan has been sett in his ways and has been leaving... more
German police called to remove a dead badger from the middle of a road were surprised to find the animal alive, but completely off-its-stripey-face drunk, thanks to it eating a load of fermented cherries.
Presumably inebriated badgers are just as indifferent to where to lay their drunk skulls as wasted humans.
But how do you go about moving on a drunk badger? Well, these cops went with the "prod it with a stick 'til it moves" approach, and it worked! At which point the boozy badger slinked away to sleep off his hangover.
And in the spirit of bureaucracy the police report was duly completed with; "It could not immediately be established whether the badger got into trouble with his wife when he came home in such a state." Who said Germans don't have a sense of humour?German police called to remove a dead badger from the middle of a road were surprised... more
Eight hundred villagers in Pembrokeshire are to get tax-free windfalls after their community was left a fortune by a wealthy widow as a thank you for the welcome she received there after she retired.
Margaret Allan left the friendly Welsh seaside village of Solva £407,028 in her will after dying at the age of 90.
Margaret also gave money to various groups and associations in the area, including £5,000 to the Solva Luncheon Club to be spent on drinks at Christmas and £1,000 to a local badger group. (Hey, badgers need money too.)
Even her cat Brutus was not forgotten. Mrs Allan's six-page will states: 'To any person whom the executors agree to taking care of my cat to avoid it being put down or going into a cattery - the sum of £3,000.' Neighbours Dave and Viv Phillips have taken on the six-year-old ginger tom.Eight hundred villagers in Pembrokeshire are to get tax-free windfalls after their... more
Environment Secretary Hilary Benn has announced a project whereby badgers in the wild will be vaccinated against bovine tuberculosis.Environment Secretary Hilary Benn has announced a project whereby badgers in the wild... more
"The mating calls of a lovesick badger triggered a police helicopter hunt in Germany on Monday night after several people thought they were hearing the screams of a woman, police said.
'Nervous residents rang the police station and said they had heard several loud, frightened screams of a woman in forest nearby,' police in the small town of Linz, located on the Rhine River in western Germany, said in a statement.
Police scrambled a helicopter with night vision equipment to scan the forest but it only spotted wild animals going about their business. 'Subsequent enquiries found that the mating calls of a badger during the mating season in July and August are easily mistaken for human screaming,' the statement said."
Picture: http://flickr.com/photos/nicklawes/535357194/sizes/l/"The mating calls of a lovesick badger triggered a police helicopter hunt in... more
Heavens yes, little Davidson College keeps rolling on! Sweeps into the Elite Eight!! Davidson College's Stephen Curry scored more than 30 points for a third straight game, as Davidson racked up another stunner Friday night, rolling over third-seeded Wisconsin 73-56, and advancing to the Midwest Regional finals. Davidson (29-6) now has the nation’s longest win streak, 25 games.
Photographs and video are included.Heavens yes, little Davidson College keeps rolling on! Sweeps into the Elite Eight!!... more