We can’t update SAVE-ME right now so we are ‘speaking’ on the Soapbox instead.
Also an apology for any inconvenience caused by the loss of function of SAVE-ME.
I have been quite quiet on the subject of the Badgers recently. I’m sorry … but there is a very good reason. As some of you may have seen, I was working on that piece for the ONE SHOW, in which I was trying to make the best use of the opportunity to involve the public in this vital discussion. It was a delicate project, because I was determined to present the opinions of both sides of the argument fairly. But underneath that, we have been working on bringing about a real meeting of the minds, as we discussed in the programme. And this agenda was even more delicate. I have been very anxious not to compromise the integrity of this meeting, in case it foundered before it began. So forgive me for not beating any drums for a while.
Right now, as you read this, we will hopefully already be in our first meeting – between the Badger Trust and the NFU – something which I hope will be the shape of things to come. None of us are expecting to achieve miracles right away – to find any areas of accord will be great, but we all feel that the mere fact of talking in a room rather than by Internet gives a window of opportunity for finding common ground.
It will be a completely private meeting, and there will only be a public message afterwards if all sides feel it’s appropriate.
In the meantime I just wanted to say thanks to all of you who have worked so hard to raise the public profile of this crisis, because it is precisely because of this dedication that this chance has come about. In particular I want to thank someone that many of our ‘side’ may regard as an enemy – known to us as Newt. This man is a farmer with a major interest in the welfare of animals (much as I could be perhaps described as an animal welfare campaigner with a major interest in farming). He has brought many arguments to the Save-Me Forum, some of which many of us have felt uncomfortable about. But it is this man who opened the door for us at Save-Me to meet the Spokesman for bovine TB for the NFU last month, paving the way for us to bring the BT and the NFU to a round table. Newt’s beliefs about where the future lies are different from ours, but I believe he is no less sincere in his desire to beat bTB with as little animal suffering as possible. I trust him. So I hope that you will continue to trust me to work with him as ‘referees’ where necessary.
OK .. enough said. But this morning I will get up with a glimmer of hope in my bosom. Let’s hope it’s justified. I will have Billy in mind.