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This is the piece (below) I wrote hurriedly last night for the Sky News Blog. They have been very helpful in getting news of the rally out there.
Our thanks to Catherine, who did the interview which I pre-recorded yesterday, and to all at Sky News.
By the time you read this, our rally in Bristol will be underway. Team Badger will have been born. and a new part of the struggle for the badgers will be in progress.
We must win this one. There will be no way back for the badgers.
People ask me why I got involved with this campaign to save the badgers. Some people ask me if I enjoy it? The Farming Press (and the bloodthirsty ‘Countryside Alliance’) like to tell me I ought to stick to guitar playing. The truth is … no – I do not enjoy this fight. I would much rather be making music. I actually dream of the day I wake up and there is no longer any threat of abuse to our wild animals. But, sadly, that day may not come in my lifetime. I firmly believe it will come, though. It has to. And until the day I die I will be fighting for that. Just like the day dawned when slavery was no more … when burning witches at the stake was no more. Badgers are in a similar position to those witches – blamed and made a scapegoat for the problems men refuse to solve by looking honestly at themselves. So these days, now that David Cameron has, in response to pressure from the National Farmers Union – declared war on the innocent badger, I wake up every day knowing there is another battle to fight.
We simply must not let this tragically misguided cull happen. There is no scientific basis for it. It is ethically totally unacceptable – and is likely to save not one cow’s life.
Don’t believe me … believe any unbiased scientist in the country as regards its futility. Believe Chris Cheeseman, former advisor to DEFRA, before this government ‘instructed’ its scientists to provide a basis for killing badgers – which they had already decided to do. Believe Drs Donnelly and Woodroffe, who, after 10 years of impartial study (in which 100,000 badgers died) declared that “Badger Culling can make no meaningful contribution to the control of Bovine TB in Britain”. This Government thinks it knows better.
Believe your own feeling of ethics and morality.
This has been compared in the Press to invading Iraq. Tony Blair invaded an ailing foreign country with no weapons of any significance, without asking the public. Cameron is declaring war on our countryside animals against the vast majority of public opinion, on non-existent evidence that Badgers are the weapon of Mass destruction. The arrogance of these people is colossal. They even had a public consultation – most people were against the cull – and then ignored the results.
In fact, Law and Order has broken down in the countryside.
Against the Law – the Hunting Act – Foxes are routinely being hunted, and torn apart with packs of dogs. They attack pets, livestock, people’s property – and many people in the countryside are afraid. Afraid of the Hunt, and afraid to say anything, for fear of reprisals, and knowing the Government is not on the side of justice.
The ironic and awful truth is – we are IN a cull, right now. Unscrupulous farmers have been killing the unfortunate badgers for years now. Badgers, a protected species are regularly being gassed, shot, snared and poisoned – and thrown on the roads to look as if they are roadkill.
The result? Bovine TB is on the increase, for exactly the reasons that Donnelly and Woodroffe predicted … Perturbation.
After all this bloodbath in the countryside, it’s unlikely that a single cow will be saved. It’s a terrible, bloody, mess.
Vaccination. Vaccination. Vaccination … of Badgers first, and then Cows.
The only reason we are not vaccinating cattle is that Europe does not allow it. It’s insane. …
Owen Patterson. I hope you will be a hero. Stand up to Europe. Halt this awful pointless cull. Vaccinate our cows. It’s easy – they are captive. We just need to somehow go up against Europe’s laws.
Right now, David Cameron, with newly appointed ministers of DEFRA, has the chance to back out of this farce with dignity. I hope Owen Patterson will persuade him to do just that. And not go down in history as the butcher of our badgers. I hope they can tell their children, and their grandchildren, that they did the right thing.
There is a better way. A better way than the bloodbath which is scheduled to happen any day now.
We must find it.
Please help us. Support Team Badger.
We are at http://www.teambadger.org – Visit us, and we will make it easy for you to sign.
We need you. Our Wild Animals need you. More than they ever did.