Sunday, 20 March 2011

Many in the Welsh Assembly Government are undemocratic wildlife killers

Many of you may now know that Elin Jones has, once again, ignored science and the voice of the public, and has decided to kill badgers in Wales.

She took the decision after the 'consultation' - inverted commas because the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) just paid lip service to the theory of consulting. Not only were the questions so badly written that a primary school child could have spotted the bias towards the pro-killing brigade, but the greatest affront is that of the 13,431 responses, more than 11,300 were against a cull - yet the voice of this massive majority is being ignored by Elin Jones and WAG because it does not fit the decisions they had already made to renew their attack on Welsh wildlife in an attempt to win votes from a subset of farmers. If you want to see the responses people made to the consultation they can be viewed here. The decision by the Minister can also be viewed on the same page - in Annex 1 Summary. That document outlines how many responses there were.

Is it any wonder that many people feel disenfranchised by modern politics? A small group with vested interests (Elin Jones is from an animal farming background, the same group that wants to kill badgers) go ahead and do what they wish, ignoring any fact which does not fit in with their plans. Facts such as the vast majority of people opposing a cull.

The PAC group (Pembrokeshire Against the Cull) has excellent advice and information on their website and blog. The Badger Trust are also actively looking into the legality of the cull.

The main things to note are:
  1. The killing will start from 31st March when this law comes into effect.
  2. Badgers will be killed in the intensive action areas of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion. Forced entry will be made on all land. This will be incredibly intimidating for landowners, who will face armed and anonymous killers who gain entry to land against the their wishes through force and police threats.
  3. The WAG elections are on 5th May. AMs in your area will want your vote. Ask ALL the parties and individual AMs what their policies are on badger culling. You may find that your local AM, or prospective candidate is anti-cull, although their party is pro-cull - notable examples include a few Lib Dems like Peter Black who is totally opposed to the cull, whilst Lib Dems in England are supporting localised killing. It is vital that the political parties and all prospective AMs understand that they will not get your vote if their party or their candidate is pro-killing. The PAC website has more information on lobbying your AMs. If you see prospective AMs canvassing in your local town, don't avoid them, go up to them and ask them for their position on badger killing.
  4. Peter Black has tabled a debate - 23rd March - in the Senedd before the Assembly is dissolved prior to the elections. Contact AMs prior to this so they know how you feel.
  5. If you are financially in a position to do so, PAC and the Badger Trust would welcome donations to help fight the cull. They got the last Welsh one stopped in the high courts, and let's hope this one can be stopped too.
  6. There have been significant reductions in the incidence of bovine tuberculosis in Wales over the last two years - this is due to the much stricter controls and measures on cattle movements and testing. Culling is not needed.
  7. Write to Elin Jones, Rural Affairs Minister. Every email or letter has to be answered within 17 working days of receipt. The more letters and emails she receives it will show her how strongly people feel about this. Email her here or write to her at the address here.
Further craziness ensues from the fact that Elin Jones has decided to enact cattle control measures at the same time as the cull. How will she separate one factor from the others? She won't. Because in that situation she won't be able to. And therefore she will falsely attribute any lower bovine TB rates to the cull, not to the real reason: restrictions on transporting cattle around Wales. If they were serious about bovine TB they would also prevent huge-scale intensive dairy farms, which make it so easy for diseases to spread. However that would reduce profits for some of their supporters, so will not happen.

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