Taste and other thing
What does badger taste like?
Rank, and that's if you can get over the smell !
They are a bloody menace on the roads - they wait in the hedge bottom until the last moment, apparently hypnotised by the lights, before running into your car. If you're not driving something with plenty of ground/bumper clearance it's always costly - and most of the time they shake their heads and run off to do it again later! Imagine hitting a medium sized pig, but with attitude!
On the science front, all the well done studies are indicative of a positive effect on bovine TB in areas of culls, but as in Eire there are nearly always other factors involved; better biosecurity and annual tests of cattle, for instance. IIRC in the past 30 years ROI bovine TB has dropped hugely whereas in the UK, with no similar controls, it has increased to similar levels from almost nothing.
From someone with a finger on the farming pulse, and a scientist I would want to see this current trial continue without hindrance from the protestors so that we can get good result from which proper conclusions can be taken - I fear this will not happen, as in all the other publicised trials – ruin the trial and the badgers will be culled without us getting useful data, either way. But, I would also like to see other trials taking place with better biosecurity for one, and secondly, annual TB testing in herds and testing before shipping. Yes, the second two will be more costly in monetary value, but will have a better publicity value – something that is important with farmers’ milk customers. A combination of the results of three trials like this will show how much each of them actually plays in the studies from Eire etc. where they have been combined into one study.
And for those of you who just blame farmers for bringing this on themselves through cost-cutting measures and general sloppiness, I can assure you that we have one of the most regulated farming industries in the world, with top welfare standards, unlike much of the cheap imports that fill the supermarket shelves. UK farmers have always known that contented, well fed animals produce the best meat or milk. (Different milking herds even have differing preferences over which radio station is playing in the milking parlour!) As with everything else, you have to pay a little more to get the quality product produced in the best way, and if you can’t find British on your supermarket shelf, please support your local butcher or shop.
Young Farmers Clubs (open to anyone aged 10-26 and with an interest in the future of the countryside, be that farming, conservation or communities) often debate such topics and ensure that both sides of any topic are well known to all members. Having well informed young people from a mix of town and country backgrounds has helped to provide a good framework for the evolution of the countryside for over 80 years. This type of background means that most farmers have a very good understanding of rural matters from all sides. Please don’t castigate them as gun toting eco terrorist; find out all that they really do to keep the countryside in as good health as people expect. Respect that they have to keep a balance between nature and nurture. Engage with them and allow them to continue evolving based on the results of well-run trials without ruining them.
It is not incongruous that I can work at the forefront of aerospace electronics and computing design, and still be Deputy President of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs. I am part of the future of the countryside, just the same as everyone else, and through Young Farmers we give young people from all backgrounds a voice in that future. Everyone has a voice, make it well informed, and let them have a choice.
This was my personal rant, and not necessarily representative of anyone else.