Tag Archives: cull

‘If Johnson refuses to save our bacon, farmers should dump pig carcasses outside Number 10’

Pigs in peril: yes, I’m using the same image as before – of a pig that looks like Boris Johnson. It’s to establish a ‘running theme’ between stories on this topic.

A shortage of butchers and abattoir workers caused by Brexit means 4,500 pigs are likely to be culled within days – and the government isn’t even talking to farmers.

It seems the government is not only failing to help the UK’s livestock farmers; it is refusing to help them.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s only reaction to the crisis was a poor taste comment last week that the pigs would have become “bacon sandwiches” anyway – stupidly missing the point that they’re not going to become any kind of foodstuff at all.

Meanwhile, it seems his government is failing to help the UK farming industry – which faces implosion – while signing trade deals with foreign countries for substandard food.

It seems this is the true meaning behind the Brexit slogan about “Taking back control”: destroying the UK farming industry and buying bad food from abroad.

For a snapshot of the situation, watch this BBC interview with a pig farmer – and take note of the comment on Twitter that this is someone who campaigned for Brexit . Undoubtedly this person is now regretting turning a blind eye to Johnson’s lies:

Personally, I like Sam Brook’s suggestion of how farmers should deal with this issue:

It really is the only way to bring the situation home to Boris Johnson: dump it on his doorstep. Do any of our farmers have the guts to do it?

UPDATE October 12, 2021: Minutes after this story went up, a Facebook commenter wrote: “Don’t do that – we know what those Tory boys do with dead pigs.”

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The UK is collapsing – and the threatened pig cull is just a symptom

Boris Johns- oh no! This is just a pig! But if Johnson’s fate was the same as that awaiting up to 150,000 porkers, he would undoubtedly have thought twice before telling all those porkIES about Brexit.

Who thought the sunlit uplands, post-Brexit, would look like this?

And now we’re being told that potentially 100,000 pigs will be killed – not for their meat, but because there is a nationwide shortage of butchers and abattoir workers.

According to Sky News,

The crisis has been blamed on an exodus of eastern European workers, many of whom returned to their home countries after Covid-19 travel restrictions were eased but have not returned.

That has meant the abattoirs where they worked are operating at as much as 20% below capacity – unable to take as many pigs as normal – leaving farms overcrowded.

Meanwhile

The UK faces a shortage of pigs in blankets this Christmas as a lack of butchers threatens to disrupt supplies of pork, industry leaders have said.

Over to our pigs-in-blankets correspondent, Katy Brand:

At least nobody is trying to blame this crisis on Covid-19.

The shortage of butchers and abattoir workers represents a significant threat to the UK economy.

How much is a pig worth? How about 100,000 – or 150,000, as we’re now hearing the losses rumoured to be?

A lot of money, This Writer would reckon.

And James Rees’s neighbour isn’t the only one. Here‘s Peter Mortimer, 73, whose pigs aren’t ready for slaughter and will therefore miss the currently-mooted cull, but who

said rising costs and a lack of local labour were among issues that had made his business in Metfield, Suffolk, “unsustainable”.

“It’s about time he [Boris Johnson] realised action is needed immediately to sort this problem out,” said Mr Mortimer.

“He doesn’t understand or doesn’t want to understand the situation – he’s lost the plot.”

Asked why he was bowing out, he said: “There have been a few issues, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was that I needed to employ some more staff, and I advertised locally and I got no response at all.

“The job involves getting your hands dirty – like abattoir work – and people don’t want to get involved.

“We’ve also got high feed prices – wheat passed £200 a ton on Friday, and its unsustainable to feed pigs, with the prices we’re getting [for them], for any length of time.”

The knock-on effects are frightening. The abattoirs are losing money, as is every other business along the chain from farmer to plate.

And those of us who enjoy a nice slice of pork, or bacon, or gammon, or sausage, or – yes – pigs in blankets will end up going without.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson and his Brexiteer friends are still saying Brexit will bring enormous benefits to the whole nation.

I have a doubt, though.

How will our businesses prosper if they have all gone bust because of Boris Johnson’s short-sightedness?

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Israel’s CULL in Palestine: a campaign of lies?

The Israel-Palestine conflict is not about Jewish survival: many Jews actively protest against the persecution of Palestinians by the extremist government of a nation state that claims to represent all Jews, whether they support it or not.

This observation from the social media about the Israel-Palestine conflict rings true:

As I write, Israel is most likely raining dozens – or hundreds – of bombs onto carefully-targeted (we’ll come back to this) sites in Palestinian territory, while Palestinians can only respond (you can hardly call it retaliation) by firing a few fireworks back.

Don’t get me wrong – fireworks can be deadly. But the resulting casualties have been equivalent to one of the more damaging Bonfire Nights of the 1960s or 70s, when people were less observant of the Fireworks Code. Palestinian deaths and injuries number in their thousands.

The scale of the imbalance makes the US media claim ridiculous: It is not a war; it is a cull.

The following tweet provides a few figures supporting this assertion. The number of deaths is not enough to support claims of genocide. But those numbers do speak for themselves:

The exact numbers in the current situation are debatable – as always in an ongoing situation:

A war on children?

Let’s consider who the Israeli Defence Force has been targeting:

The evidence seems clear: Israeli forces have clearly and positively targeted Palestinian families – civilians – for murder. Consider the response if the shoe was on the other foot and an overwhelmingly strong Palestine was treating Israeli Jews in the same way:

But there’s more: Israeli forces aren’t just targeting civilians and children.

You’ll have read in the tweets above that a clinic run by Medicins Sans Frontieres, an independent, humanitarian medical organisation, has also been struck. It’s not the only medical facility to have been hit; its staff are not the only medical staff to be harmed:

Does that seem an extreme judgement? “They want to kill most of them and let Covid do the rest”?

But then, why target a Covid-19 testing lab at all, if not for that purpose?

The Israeli government has been swift to counter the evidence with its usual claim – that Palestinian terrorists are hiding behind children.

This has been debunked as a racist lie:

One of the sites where the Israeli government claimed Hamas had been hiding was an office building housing news broadcasters Al-Jazeera and AP News – the Associated Press. The latter is one of the most well-established and -respected news agencies in the world, and its comment on the bombing is damning:

The last line refers, in This Writer’s opinion, to the intention of this particular airstrike: “The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what tranpired today.”

Isn’t that exactly what the Israeli government would want, as it targets civilians including children for murder?

Al-Jazeera has also commented – that Israel had still provided no evidence of any Hamas presence in the building, two days after the strike:

As a journalist of more than a quarter of a century’s experience, I find it interesting that Benjamin Netanyahu’s people feel the need to attack news reporters; to hide what they’re doing.

News media around the world have already given Israel the easiest ride possible during what can only be seen as an infamous, scandalous slaughter:

See what I mean?

There is now evidence showing that attempts to promote balanced reporting of the situation are being suppressed by supporters of the Israeli government.

For example, Canadian journalists are currently being pursued for signing an open letter calling for balanced reporting of the situation.

The letter criticises the “lack of nuanced” coverage.  “Some groups believe the attacks amount to an ‘ethnic cleansing.’ It should be covered as such,” it says.

“It’s time for Canadian newsrooms to carry out the necessary due diligence and report on this region with nuance and context.”

Pro-Israel organisations have been quick to attack the letter – and any journalist signing it, leading to the ridiculous situation of reporters being forced to defend something that it is our duty to provide: fair, balanced reporting:

See, being told your lack of objectivity means you can’t cover a story, when the grounds for saying you lack objectivity include your demand for objectivity, is perverse.

Below, we see the US pro-Jewish newspaper Algemeiner demanding that Canadian journalists who signed the letter should not be allowed to report on the “Arab-Israeli” conflict (the wording in quotation marks indicates this organisation’s own bias) because they have anti-Israeli bias. Isn’t it more accurate to say that Algemeiner fears balanced reporting that might present Israel in a less-than-glowing light of positivity?

This is the same organisation that gave UK daytime TV parlour game-player and repeat libel litigant Rachel Riley a “Warrior for Truth” award, the value of which I think we may all now question.

The Israeli government itself appears to run an organisations dedicated to disinformation – and to discrediting those who try to publish fair and accurate reports on the Israel-Palestine question:

I remember discovering adverts by this organisation on Google Adsense. If I recall corrrectly, readers of This Site had discovered that Act.Il had bought space here so that this organisation could make false claims about it.

I blocked it from advertising here. There’s no point in doing anything else like taking court action – it’s an organisation based in a foreign country, with a lot of that country’s money behind it (as I understand it), and I don’t have the means to deliver upon it the justice it deserves.

I can certainly sympathise with the sentiment in this tweet, though:

And it seems reporters aren’t the only ones being attacked:

And still, in the UK, many of our MPs are refusing to condemn Israel. Read the letter Labour’s Lisa Nandy sent to Dominic Raab and you’ll see it is disproportionate – it blames Palestinians equally with Israelis for a situation that has been forced on them.

Robert Jenrick has been roundly criticised for a mealy-mouthed propaganda routine in which he said anti-Zionism was anti-Semitism. Zionism is a racist ideology which the Israeli government uses to force Palestinians off the geographical area it defines as Israel (as opposed to the land given for the purposes of providing Jewish people with a nation of their own in the 1940s).

There are many anti-Zionist Jews. None of them are self-hating; none are anti-Semites. So Jenrick deserved the following critiques:

There are a few honourable MPs, though…

And of course they can’t do anything about grassroots protest:

It is hugely encouraging that so many people are arguing against the Israeli government’s web of lies.

But still the killings continue. Still civilians are targeted in their homes – including children – by an Israeli government and military that does not care what we think and will counter our facts with falsehoods that it can rely on the international media to parrot.

So who do you believe?

Do you believe a group of well-spoken suit-wearing dissemblers?

Or do you believe the person who wrote the following?

The answer should be so obvious it isn’t even a choice.

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Coca-Cola fox cull halted after campaigners raised the alarm

This article was going to be a call to arms – but now it seems the pressure is off after Coca-Cola announced it has put plans to shoot foxes at its Sidcup factory “on hold”.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the multinational drinks firm won’t kill large numbers of the animal by other means, but at least it signifies that bosses are willing to discuss what can be done.

Residents launched a passionate “Stop the Cull” campaign after they discovered a plan for the mass killing of foxes – to take place today, February 11 – on the Cray Road, Sidcup site.

They pointed out that at this time of year it would mean the targeting of pregnant vixens.

This Writer is not particularly fond of foxes as, in large numbers, they can become pests.

But I have always opposed fox hunting (and any blood sport) and killing animals because they interfere with industry is unacceptable because it ultimately leads to the mass extinctions we are causing across the world.

Coca-Cola has released a statement, quoted in some news outlets as follows:

“Unfortunately foxes can, on occasion, cause damage and we have found the need to keep their numbers under control at our Sidcup site.

“We have taken on board people’s feedback and understand their concerns.

“We have put these control measures on hold at our Sidcup site and we are now reviewing what other options are available.”

Campaigners favour a humane, non-lethal fox management service called Fox-a-gon and it is to be hoped that the firm will take that into account.

Source: Fox culling at Coca Cola’s Sidcup site criticised | News Shopper

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Badger cull is expanded to ‘unimaginable scale’. Why do Tories hate them so much?

What is the Conservative fascination with killing badgers?

Was a Tory agriculture minister once baited by one?

Or is the badger cull the Tory response to the hunting ban?

It seems they are determined to get their kicks from killing animals somehow.

The badger cull certainly has no justification in terms of beating TB in cattle.

So, why are the Tories determined to expand it, if not for cruelty?

The controversial badger cull in England has been expanded to an “unimaginable scale”, according to a leading expert who warned the government is paying far too little attention to the transmission of tuberculosis between cattle when they are traded.

Ministers approved culling in 11 new areas on Wednesday, taking the total to 43. Up to 64,000 animals are likely to be killed this autumn, up from a maximum of 42,000 last year.

TB infections in cattle blight farms and cost taxpayers more than £100m a year in compensation payments. But scientists and conservationists oppose the cull, saying there is little evidence it is effective and is being badly run.

Source: Badger cull in England extended to ‘unimaginable scale’ | Environment | The Guardian

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Once again the Tories show they have plenty of money to spend on killing

[Image: Alamy.]

Science has shown that the Tory-sanctioned badger cull is a huge waste of time and money*, but that won’t stop Tories wasting money on it.

They love killing things and people – look at the wars they support across the world, and their ‘Aktion T4’-style policies toward people with long-term illnesses and disabilities.

Now, half a million pounds has been spent on efforts to ensure that their badger killers are less likely to be disrupted by people dedicated to protecting the animals.

Do you think that’s a worthwhile use of our money?

Hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ pounds have been spent on equipping badger cull marksmen with radios that link them directly to police, the Guardian has learned.

Police have advised the government to invest in the same communications system they use to make it easier for officers to get to conflicts with cull saboteurs in remote areas where the mobile phone signal is poor.

However, anti-cull activists plan to turn the tables on the marksmen by investing in devices that trace the signals produced by the radios, meaning they can pinpoint their position and disrupt shooting.

Source: Taxpayers spend £500,000 on radios for badger cull marksmen | Environment | The Guardian

*Vaccination of cattle and/or badgers, increased levels of testing, improved biosecurity and stricter controls on the movement of cattle would be better. Ah, but the UK keeps running out of vaccine, doesn’t it? Odd, that. It’s not as if there isn’t any money available, after all.


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If you think the Conservatives can be trusted with the economy, look at the cost of the badger cull

161113-badger-cull-waste-of-money

I like Tom Pride’s comment on this: “Some people so thick they think the Tories are good at the economy just because the Daily Mail tells them they are.”

I should point out also that Wales currently has a Labour administration, which is praised by the Wildlife Trusts for its “financial efficiency”.

So, Labour=financial efficiency; Conservative=waste of money. Has everybody got that?

Between 2012 and 2014, the tax payer spent £16.8 million on the culling of 2,476 badgers. This is nearly four times more expensive than Defra anticipated and is a cost per dead badger of £6,800. Of this figure, more than £4.9 million was spent on policing costs – equivalent to the annual salary costs of more than 120 police officers over a two-year period.

5,000 badgers have been vaccinated in Wales in four years – and all for the price of two weeks of badger culling in England. It costs £293 per badger vaccinated in the Wildlife Trusts’ vaccination programmes. That’s a difference of £6,482 per badger culled and badger vaccinated.

Financial efficiency is not the only benefit of vaccinating badgers over culling them. There is evidence to suggest that vaccination of adult badgers reduces the likelihood of infection in cubs. Also, unlike the disruption of culling and its associated increased risk of TB infection of cattle, there is no significant perturbation following badger vaccination programmes.

Source: Cost of the badger cull | The Wildlife Trusts

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Ending badger culls will save the next Labour Government more than £120 million

Stop the cull - vote them out: Bill Oddie shows his support for the end of the badger cull (and also the end of Conservative-led government). This image was taken from Brian May's Twitter feed.

Stop the cull – vote them out: Bill Oddie shows his support for the end of the badger cull (and also the end of Conservative-led government). This image was taken from Brian May’s Twitter feed.

A Labour government would save £192 million from the environment, food and rural affairs budget – mostly by ending the costly and pointless badger culls, the party has revealed.

Labour would save an estimated £24.5 million a year – £122.5 million in the next parliament by ending the Government’s inhumane and ineffective badger culls.

The party would establish strategies to increase the income of arms-length bodies like Natural England, including moves towards fuller cost recovery there, which could save £40 million in the next parliament.

It would improve water quality by supporting best practice in the farming and water industries and saving £4 million a year and £20 million in the next parliament in environmental protection spending. This involves freeing up £150 million for spending on environmental protection and rural development in 2018-20 by re-allocating payments made under the Common Agricultural Policy.

Labour would increase – by £2 million a year – income from environmental protection and abstraction charges, bringing in £10 million in the next parliament, and review the cost of other DEFRA agencies – to get a better deal for taxpayers and raise the proportion of regulatory costs that are recovered from the industries under supervision.

The report on DEFRA also highlights a series of wasteful and short-sighted measures under this government, including its failure on flooding and climate change: Failing to maintain to the appropriate standard three-quarters of existing flood defences, triggering an increase in emergency spending and storing up further costs for the future, and cutting the number of departmental officials working on climate change adaptation from 38 to just six.

“This Tory-led Government never should have pressed ahead with these ineffective and inhumane badger culls when they knew from the start that this policy had the potential to make the problem of bovine TB worse,” said Maria Eagle, Labour’s shadow secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs.

“Instead of ignoring the overwhelming evidence the Government must work with scientists, wildlife groups and farmers to develop an alternative strategy to get the problem of Bovine TB under control.”

zBadgerCull

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Labour’s plan to protect animals

150221labouranimals1

Here’s another terrific Labour Party policy announcement that seems to have been overlooked by the news media: Animal protection.

The policy was announced by Maria Eagle and runs as follows:

1)         Labour will protect the Hunting Act
Ten years ago the Labour Party ended the cruel practice of hunting with dogs, because we believe that causing defenceless animals to suffer in the name of sport has no place in a civilised society. But just as we celebrate the Hunting Act, the Tories plan to repeal it. Only Labour can protect the Hunting Act because Labour is the only major party committed to defending it.

2)         Labour will ban wild animals in circuses
Travelling circuses are no place for wild animals. Being moved from place to place in cramped and substandard enclosures, forced training and performance, loud noises and crowds of people are the unavoidable distressing realities for animals in circuses. Despite promising to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses, the Tory-led Government has failed to do so. The next Labour government will ban this cruel practice.

3)         Labour will end the ineffective and inhumane badger culls
Badger culls are supposed to reduce Bovine TB but experts say the Tories’ culls will make the problem worse. Following repeated failures to meet deadlines and targets, the Tories are effectively pursing an unscientific mass cull with no rigorous monitoring or evaluation. Labour will end this and develop a better plan to eradicate Bovine TB.

4)         Labour will improve the protection of dogs and cats
At present we have ineffective regulation, a lack of information for pet owners and a failure to deal with irresponsible and cruel breeding practices. Labour will review the inadequate regulations on the sale and breeding of dogs and cats and develop a new strategy to improve their welfare.

5)         Labour will tackle wildlife crime and reduce animal cruelty on shooting estates
More needs to be done to protect animal welfare on shooting estates. The next Labour government will undertake an independent review into the most effective way to end the illegal persecution of birds of prey, such as the hen harrier; prevent non-target animals getting trapped in snares; and ensure the humane treatment of game birds.

6)         Labour will lead the fight against global animal cruelty
The humane treatment of animals should be a benchmark for any civilised society. National governments have a duty to work together to prevent cruelty around the world. Labour will push to end all commercial whaling and prevent the poaching and near extinction of endangered species such as elephants, rhinos and tigers.

These are great strides forward for animals.

What are the Tories doing?

Oh yes: Subsidising grouse-shooting.

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Badger cull expansion is abandoned

The government has abandoned its planned expansion of badger culling to reduce TB in cattle, according to a BBC report. Let us hope Brian May is delighted.

“The environment department’s original plan was to announce up to 10 new cull areas in South West England each year,” the report states.

“Defra’s own independent assessment shows that culls in two pilot areas were not effective, and raised questions about their humaneness.”

But it wasn’t all good news: “These pilot culls will continue, though there will be no independent oversight to assess their future performance.

“In a Commons statement, the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson proposed a programme of vaccination around the edges of the most badly affected parts of the country.

“This, he said, would create a buffer zone of immunity that would stop the disease from spreading.”

Wasn’t that what the experts wanted in the first place?

The rest of the report is here.

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