I felt like I was in a surreal movie today. It’s a day I will never forget as long as I live.
Anne Brummer and I basically ran around all day … inside and outside the House of Commons, the Lords, and every TV studio in London.
I have a very swollen knee as a result! But it doesn’t seem to matter. Tonight the badgers in Somerset and Gloucestershire are in peace … and they are safe, provided there is no awful vengeful unilateral behaviour, until Summer. I can hardly believe it. We were a hair’s breadth away from wholesale slaughter … the timing was literally God-given. I have to thank EVERYONE who contributed to the mounting pressure on the pro-cull movement. Thanks to all the members of all our charities, NGO’s, all the friends out there who worked so hard to make the Petition pass the 100,000 mark and even now to be approaching the top position in the ‘league table’.
Thanks to all the people in the Press and TV and who have helped. Thanks to all the good people in and around the Pilot Cull zones who monitored development, and lived in dread of the guns going off every night. Thanks to all the unnamed people in all layers of the mechanisms of Government and facilitating bodies who did their bit to help us through.
It was that close. It could have been a day, today, of us running around the TV stations knowing that badgers were dying and being piled in bloody heaps. I don’t know how I would have got through that. Instead, everywhere we went, people came up to us to congratulate us and tell us they were behind us in our quest.
Killing badgers is WRONG. Thank God they did not get away with it. The fact that we have got a postponement, even though that is not the same as an abandonment of the policy, will make a difference to animal welfare decisions in Britain in the coming months and years.
We cannot relax. In Paterson we see a man who is absolutely obsessed with culling badgers. He will never change, even when confronted with irrefutable evidence that he is wrong. He is not a man anyone will be able to reason with. He’s almost a perfect caricature of the kind of ruthless old-style toff that nobody wants in their party.
On the other hand, the NFU men are honest, decent men, I believe … who just come from a different place from us. When Peter Kendall said to me tonight that he didn’t want to cull badgers, I actually believed him. I venture to hope that when we get a little further down the route to vaccinating cattle. His chagrin will turn into a new optimism, based on the fact that a true solution will be in sight, to the spectre of Bovine TB in British cattle.
I could be wrong of course. We can not rest. The danger will be there for a long time .. for as long as this government is in power. Culling is still an emotional totem for these people, and is attached to a whole other agenda relating to a desire to bring back blood sports and generally allow rich landowners to do what the Hell they please, unchallenged by the likes of us.
We must continue to challenge this antisocial agenda at every step. They will try every trick known to man, and try to sneak in every back door.
But I believe the farmers have just escaped a disastrous mess of a blood bath, which would have resulted in the farming community being alienated from the public. I believe there is a chance to get everybody in Britain batting for the same side. I am committed to playing a part in that. I want to see the end of bovine TB … just like we saw the end of Human TB years ago.
Culling was never going to achieve that.
Vaccination of cattle will.