Posts Tagged ‘Backbench Business Committee’

Badger the Backbench Business Committee?

March 10, 2014

Here we go again, badger is back on the ‘Greenest Government ever’ menu ….

Badger & mayweed

The Badger Trust have issued a briefing note ahead of the Parliamentary Backbench Business Committee debate scheduled for Thursday 13 March, and if you are interested in the issue then it is certainly worth a read.  It is well researched and referenced and makes pretty astonishing reading in places, to quote cold

The high cost of culling makes a mockery of claims most recently made by Agriculture Minister George Eustice in a letter to Angela Smith MP dated 7th January 2014, that “It [culling by controlled shooting] will also be far less costly [than vaccinating badgers], with badger vaccination costing £662 per badger or £3900 per square km in Wales in 2012”. 

The briefing note does say that costs have yet to be published, but it reports that the estimated cost of the cull has worked out at around £7m which equates to about £4,000 per badgerAs soon as we learn of actual costs then we will let you know.

The Badger Trust have asked people to contact their MPs and to send a copy of the briefing immediately asking them to read it and attend the debate on Thursday to vote against any further badger culling.

In case you’ve not already done so, then readers might consider signing the latest epetition on the Direct.Gov.UK website “Stop the cull NOW”  It may be, and call me a sceptic (although I’d prefer realist) but the pro-cull lobby will hope that the issue will fall off the radar, but the BBC debate needs to know that people are following up the signing of Brian May’s epetition with more pressure for science based evidence.

A few other reports worth reading

 BBC accepts it was wrong to state that badger culling in Republic Ireland reduced TB in cattleTo avoid confusion BBC is the Parliamentary Back Bench Committee, not a television company!

Charity Findings cocur with IEP Report.

Culling inhumane and ineffective.

NFU Conference Commentary.  This is a quite astonishing read.  Setting aside PR and media politics, fundamentally the facts have to be accurate or surely the NFU would litigate such potential libel?

Tim M Badger 7465227996_e7b29e0ea9_h 

Poor old ‘brock’ …. villan or scapegoat?

Image Tim Melling

We appreciate and recognise that the issue of badgers and bTB is an extremely emmotive subject, family farms can be devastated and lives ruined.   It seems that science is often neglected when debates become polarised, but why will the Government (past, present and probably future) not listen to evidence based science, why have they failed to begin vaccination programmes of both badgers and cattle (ok the EU complicates the issue in terms of cattle vaccinations), there has to be a way, to collectively and collaboratively address and resolve this issue.  This disease has been around since the 1970s, surely it is not beyond the whit of man to find a sensible solution?

Please, if you decide to contact your MP please let us know the response you receive, via execsec@thmcf.org

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Are you actively participating or simply overwhelmed by the rise of epetitions requests?

October 18, 2013

The number of on-line petition sites appears to be growing.  Why is that?  Is it because our elected representatives take little notice of us in between elections, local or national?  Is it that we are registering disquiet at the manner in which some matters are dealt with or business conducted?

Campaigns are also run through blog sites and the plethora of social media options such as Facebook and Twitter.  Communication is easy today with the improved access to the internet, but I fear that it has not kept pace with the destruction and decline of habitats and species.

If I think back to the early days of epetitions and their topics, they illustrated an amazing diversity of subject matter from the attempt to sell off public forests, badgers & TB to the NHS and education.  Eventually the Government too joined in with their own version, I have to say I like the one Remove the subsidy  from the House of Commons Catering and Bars, an instant saving to the treasury of £5.8m, a no brainer surely in these times of austerity?  Yet it has only received 12,877 signatures so far and it closes in less than a week!  So, seemingly we happy to subsidise politicians eating and drinking habits?

Licencing of upland grouse moors and gamekeepers is another which has only received low volume sign ups, 6,566 thus far but you have until February next year to add your support.  There are calls for stopping GM crops being grown in the UK, the subject matter is fascinating and can be searched by Government department, currently there are some 384 epetions open (855 closed and 317 rejected) relating to Defra alone.  I wonder how many of these have gone on to be discussed in ‘The House’?  The badger cull received in excess of 300,000 signatures and the campaign continues …. Look at the cartoon by Ralph Underhill on Mark Avery’s blog post of 12 October, it just sums the badger issue and the politics of it all to a tee!

Note that epetitions.direct.gov.uk alerts prospective campaigners to the fact that epetitions “will be considered for debate by the Backbench Business Committee should it pass the 100 000 signature threshold”.  There is a timeframe in which any campaign has to achieve the target, but what happens in the BBC (above) will very much depend on the knowledge, expertise, qualifications of its members?  The current Chair is Natasha Engel .  The eight members comprise 4 Conservatives, 3 Labour and 1 Liberal Democrat.  I must establish what criteria they have to achieve for discussion to take place in parliament proper, that is to say a full House of Commons or Lords?  In the interim if anyone knows, drop me a line ….

I seem to be rambling, perhaps I should remind myself why I decided to post a piece on ‘campaigning’ …. I’d received a request to sign the Avaaz petition Free the Arctic 30.  The thought process then drifted as we are oft inclined!  So ….

May I also remind readers who have not already done so that the Forum has a petition currently running on the 38 Degree website: Stop & Rethink National Nature Reserves as Open Access areas.  Please think about signing it and please ask your friends, family, network colleagues to consider doing so.  We’re not averse to appropriate access, irresponsible risks from inappropriate access brings potential Likely Significant Effect on the interest features of the 87 Natura 2000 sites.  Habitats Directive compliance I hear you ask?   It seems that Natural England’s Senior Director does not consider it necessary to undertake one …. one might be forgiven for thinking that there is a potential conflict of interest by the judge & jury here, surely not?

DSC_1916_lowres

Both 38 Degrees and Avaaz offer would be campaigners the opportunity to create petitions, ok you have to be reasonably IT literate but the guys at 38 Degrees were certainly helpful to us (I’m sure the same would apply to Avaaz).  A quick search reveals others Change.org and Care2petition along with many more, choice – there’s certainly plenty out there available with a couple of clicks!  Then the work continues and all you have to do is use the result through follow up media &c. ….


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