The Princess Royal speaks for Stone Age thinking


So what of Princess Anne’s timely comment about badgers on Countryfile, which actually made International news?

It seems she said: eating horse meat is OK, culling badgers is good, and gassing is a “nicer way” to do it.

Well, yes, it’s sad. But, of course, not completely surprising, as we shall see. Of course, the first point is … there is no need to be killing badgers. In fact, it’s counter-productive. Do you know that millions of the tax-payers money was spent on a 10-year experiment, in which 11,000 badgers were killed, the conclusion of which was “Culling badgers can make no meaningful contribution to the control of bovine TB in cattle”? Because of the much-discussed effects of ‘perturbation’, and the pitifully inefficient (and inhumane) spectacle of Owen Paterson’s disastrous cull in Somerset and Gloucester last Summer, killing badgers is, right now, making the TB problem worse. And how hideous is the prospect of gassing these highly intelligent family-oriented creatures. How painfully disappointing that a public figure of The Princess Royal’s stature should be advocating such senseless and needless cruelty.

Of course, the timing of this interview – the day after Paterson’s announcement of his plans to continue his failed policy of badger slaughter – can hardly have been coincidental. Could it be that the Princess was manoeuvred into making this statement at this crucial time on Countryfile by the pro-cruelty farming lobby? It probably really represents just another piece of game-playing from those who consider that animals and their suffering do not matter.

The BBC’s Countryfile programme has been heavily criticised in the past for its bias towards the NFU’s point of view, and its implied endorsement of blood sports. This whole episode comes as no surprise, but does not alter the fact that culling badgers has been entirely discredited as a policy and must be replaced by a comprehensive badger vaccination plan, and the prioritisation of cattle vaccination, which must go hand in hand with the radical updating of biosecurity, cattle movements, and testing regimes in cattle farming. Culling badgers is a blind alley which will go on costing the taxpayer untold fortunes – and achieving nothing for farmers.

This is a tedious battle, which is wasting Britain’s resources. The longer it goes on, the longer this Government continue to shy away from the measures that will really work, the more is our ancient and beautiful countryside is being polluted and despoiled by irresponsible farming practices. There are plenty of good, enlightened farmers out there – we hear from them all the time. But the NFU is intent on encouraging the stone age attitudes which enable the rest of farming to continue to bury their head in the sand. “We’ll just keep on doing the same things which got us into this mess, and killing badgers will solve the problems. Right?” Well, this is the attitude which is generating support out there for ‘Dairy Free’ foods. This is the attitude which is already speeding animal farming towards an early grave. This is the attitude which will continue to expose David Cameron’s regime as the least green and least humane ministry of modern times.