Michael Eavis and Glastonbury

Michael Eavis, Brian May and Michael Gove
Michael Eavis, Brian May and Michael Gove

Storm in Teacup … but some hopes that new TB review will lead to new strategy on eradication of TB rather than unreliable skin test and tragically cruel and ineffective badger cull.

I’ve just noticed on social media that this whole Glastonbury business is in danger of spiralling needlessly out of control. I’m very grateful to Peter Egan and the RSPCA and many others for springing to my defence, but I have no wish to stop anybody enjoying themselves at future Glastonbury festivals. I haven’t been in touch with Michael Eavis personally, but I suspect that his quote was taken out of context in an unguarded moment, and indeed may be a complete fabrication of the newspapers. It wouldn’t be the first time, and it was for this reason that I didn’t respond to the piece in which he apparently accused me of ignorance in the matter of bovine TB.

I’ve never believed in cultural boycotts anyway, and I would like to make it clear at this point that I have no intention of escalating this storm in a teacup. There are much more important things to spend our energies on. Strangely enough, only this morning we (as Save-Me) were part of a hugely constructive ‘stakeholders’ meeting at DEFRA with the eminent scientist Sir Charles Godfray, the head of the new panel who will be reviewing the whole question of TB in cattle in this country. I have every optimism that in the foreseeable future we will be able to demonstrate to his panel that the new regime we (Save-Me) have helped to establish under the direction of Dick Sibley in Devon will prove to be the way forward in tackling this disease which has caused so much misery and become so divisive in this country. Our pilot farm in South Devon has just been declared officially TB free, a major triumph for a farm right in the middle of a TB Hotspot, and this is without killing a single wild animal. The scheme relies on enhanced TB testing and new strategies to control reinfection from undetected infectious animals within the herd. We are confident that this is the way forward, and it is just a matter of time before the whole Community abandons the idea that killing badgers will somehow magically make the problem go away.

For the first time in 10 years we have a Minister of State for the Environment, Michael Gove, who is actually listening to all sides of the argument, and has the skills to make a decision which will benefit farming, wildlife, and the country in general. It was Michael Gove who gave us the review that we asked for, and a chance finally to find a solution to the problem of bovine TB which actually works.

And Michael Eavis ? I think he has been misinformed, but in truth I don’t blame him for that. There has been an awful lot of misinformation out there in recent years, and it’s only now that farmers across the country are beginning to realise that, in an unreliable skin test and a badger cull, they may have been sold a pig in a poke. I would be very happy if everyone laid down their loud hailers at this point; we now need to work together and get on with the business of eradicating our common enemy, the cunning mycobacterium Mbovis.


Daily MailDaily Mail, Saturday 12 May 2018, page 32 "Eden Confidential"
Daily Mail, Saturday 12 May 2018, page 32 “Eden Confidential”

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