Posts Tagged ‘Bovine TB’

Focus on the disease not ‘scape goats’?

October 6, 2015


Badger & mayweed

A report has been draw to our attention and is worthy perhaps of a wider audience, click on the heading below for the full version. 

Despite the continuing call for abandonment of the expensive cull the Government persist in wholesale slaughter, in parallel as reported recently they also seek to consult on the reform of cost protection for Judicial Review applications by the public or environmental organisations and charities.  The phrase ‘evidence-based’ seems to have lost favour when it comes to addressing inconvenient issues?

Cattle testing key to bovine TB control & how Wales achieved a major decline in bTB

The role of cattle testing is fundamental to the control of the disease.

Accurate diagnosis is crucial to identify disease and remove infected cattle to prevent the disease spreading. But the SICCT test used to diagnose infected cattle can miss up to 1 in 5, or about 20%, of infected animals.

This means that infected animals can still be present in the herd when movement restrictions are lifted and Officially Tuberculosis Free (OTF) status is regained

Because of this limited sensitivity, intensive and repeated testing is needed to identify, locate and remove infected animals to prevent them spreading the disease within the herd or to other herds.

In the Area Eradication Strategy(AES) of 1950’s & 60’s the number of reactors slaughtered was brought down in just 4 years from 25,571 in 1959, to 5,901 in 1963.

This reduction was achieved by using a high testing intensity applied across the UK, in conjunction with strict movement controls and tight bio-security.   In 1959 over 11 million tests were carried out.

With the AES of the 1950’s & 60’s, the high level of testing was maintained for many years, and by 1976 the number of reactors slaughtered because of the disease had fallen to 1,058

By 1982 the number of reactors slaughtered had fallen to 569, but still circa 2.5 million tests were being carried out

But between the late 1980’s and 2006 various changes to the testing regime led to the re-establishment of the disease due to:

  • Major reduction in testing intensity
  • The relaxation of movement controls
  • The move to 2, 3 and 4 yearly testing which failed to identify emerging disease
  • Outbreak of BSE which required re-stocking, which was carried out without any pre-movement testing, and often with cattle not under annual testing
  • The abandonment of testing during the FMD epidemic
  • Re-stocking post FMD with cattle that had missed their tests, without any pre-movement testing and which were also moved to areas of the country not under annual testing, therefore any infection present may not have been identified for a considerable period of time, and also allowed for significant onward transmission
  • The scaling back of testing generally which allowed un-identified infected cattle to be moved, traded, etc leading to an expansion in disease incidence

These changes in the testing regime resulted in an ever increasing spread of infection. By 2012, although the incidence of disease was much higher than during the AES, (37,000 reactors slaughtered) only just over 8 million tests were carried out.

So currently, despite a much higher incidence of disease now, (37,000 reactors in 2012) the number of tests still lags far below the level needed to identify and remove all infected cattle.

DEFRA’s response:       In the last 2 years Defra has begun to greatly increase the number, frequency and effectiveness of the testing regime by:

  • Increasing the areas of the country under annual testing
  • Using gamma interferon testing to supplement the SICCT test
  • Zero-tolerance of overdue tests
  • Greater use of severe interpretation of test results
  • Treating inconclusive reactors as confirmed cases

These measures are beginning to take effect, with the number of cattle slaughtered in 2013 14% below that for 2012.  In Wales, which moved to annual testing in 2008 and has tightened up its testing programme, the number of cattle slaughtered in 2013 was 34% down on the number slaughtered in 2012.   Wales has nearly halved the number of cattle slaughtered per annum since 2009; from 11,671 in 2009 to 6,102 in 2013. This represents a very significant reduction of 48% in just 4 years.

In addition, other measures such as pre-movement testing, re-introduced in 2006 and 2007, have also identified infected cattle prior to movement and resulted in limiting the onward transmission of disease.

The level and frequency of testing, now introduced by Defra, is beginning to take effect, and should replicate the reduction in disease incidence as shown during the AES.

SICCT test limitations

Also Defra has recognised that the SICCT test (Single Intradermal Comparative Cervical Tuberculin test) has a variable sensitivity, which means that it can miss up to circa 20% of infected animals which are either in the early or late stages of disease.

This means that infected animals can still be present in the herd when movement restrictions are lifted and Officially Tuberculosis Free (OTF) status regained.

As a result Defra, has ramped up of the frequency of tests, increased the areas under annual testing and introduced gamma interferon testing as a supplementary test.

However, the limitations of the SICCT test do not appear to have been made clear to either farmers or those involved in the livestock industry. Indeed the NFU is silent on the matter in its advice to farmers.

Given the SICCT test limitations it is crucial to introduce and maintain high levels of testing across the country and ensure pre and post movement testing is carried out to identify, locate and remove latent infection before it can be passed on to other animals..

Such intensive testing regimes are onerous for the farming industry, but if the need for them could be carefully explained, then all involved would understand the need for these measures and how they will bring the disease under control.

Further information: including the AWG papers submitted to Defra, are available from: Animal Welfare Group, Co-ordinating Office: 3 The Common, Siddington, Cirencester, Glos GL7 6EY.   Tel: 01285 656812 / 01285 644319      Email

The Government statistics available in Incidence of TB in cattle in Great Britain – statistical notice (data to June 2015) make interesting reading when considered against the revised costs of the cull (in excess of £16m or the equivalent of £6,775 per badger), one might ponder the value of the spend of public funds when there has been a demonstrable improvement in Wales through the adoption of an improved testing regime.  If better bio-security and vaccination were added to the tool kit as well, then a collaborative address would deliver better for both the dairy farmer and their customers as well as poor ‘brock’, a convenient scape goat?



Politics, fracking & a Rally for Nature?

December 4, 2014

Those of you not travelling to London next Tuesday, 9 December to take part in the Rally for Nature are offered an alternative option for an evening out ….

Haxey Fracking Poster


With around 150 days or so left until the 2015 General Election there is still time to contact MPs and indeed Ministers and their Shadows to establish where they stand on various environmental issues?  Not sure who your MP is, then it’s time to find out via They Work For You? The website programme uses the Royal Mail postcode software, so unfortunately it is not always accurate.  Certainly not in rural communities, on a par with the quality of rural broadband provision perhaps?

One might wonder if any party is interested in the shopping list of starters for 10 below?   Which party, if any, have any similar variations in their draft Manifestos?  They seem reasonable, but perhaps some might be deemed controversial in upland areas of the country?

Ensure the protection given to  our wildlife through the EU Birds and Habitats Directives is strengthened not watered down or lost. 

Make wildlife crime a reportable offence and introduce vicarious liability for wildlife crime, to ensure that protected species like the Hen Harrier are not driven to extinction as a breeding species in this country.

How many will we see in the Humberhead Levels this winter? Image: Tim Melling

How many will we see in the Humberhead Levels this winter?
Image: Tim Melling

Ban lead ammunition further to Quito agreement (supported by UK as part of EU delegation).

Ban driven grouse shooting, there is now evidence that water bills are increased as a result of heather burning as well as other damage consequential of intensive moorland management for red grouse.  

140818 Middlemoor butt hrk 430

Commit to addressing the issue of bovine TB in cattle through a vaccination programme of cattle and badger and the introduction of measures to ensure improved biosecurity.


Reform of the planning system to ensure that safeguards are in place to protect SSSIs and other environmentally sensitive areas.

Ensure that agri-environment schemes deliver public benefit and provide value for money, seek reform of the CAP to ensure that the environment is not damaged for short term economic gain.  Ensure public funds do not subsidise environmentally damaging programmes, schemes and projects.

140823 Round bales & turbines hrk 475 


Review the role of the various Defra agencies and Departments as it would appear that there may be some with conflicting interests even within organisations themselves?

Review the Marine Act with a view of extending protection of important areas.

Then there’s the issue of energy efficiency, energy conservation, waste reduction and recycling, politicians, bankers, big business, the NHS, ‘old fashioned’ values such as honesty, integrity and principles above political agendas (we can dream) ….

A recent description of life in Westminster village …. The weird and wonderful traditions that make it a cross between Hogwarts and a Gilbert and Sullivan Comic Opera?  The barracking and routine dishonesty?  The way the lobbyists for the energy companies and arms companies swan around, knowing they’ve practically bought the place?  Another view by a parliamentarian expressed was the desire (or was it intention) to get rid of “green crap”.


Perhaps we should try to see which party is nearest to the issues above, Voteforpolicies might provide a bit of insight until the various political party Manifestoes are made available for public scrutiny?  How do we make them accountable for breach of promise, otherwise it is all rhetoric?  The public we are told have lost faith and few trust politicians, but with the party system we suffer there is little wonder?


Badgering Defra & Natural England

August 21, 2014

Tim M Badger 7465227996_e7b29e0ea9_h

The Badger Trust are to be congratulated ….

Badger Trust High Court legal challenge over monitoring of badger cull

The Badger Trust will be in the High Court on Thursday 21 August for a Judicial Review challenge against the DEFRA Secretary of State Liz Truss and Natural England on the Government’s highly controversial badger cull policy.

The Judicial Review will argue that Liz Truss and Natural England have unlawfully failed to put in place any Independent Expert Panel for the continued culling of badgers in Gloucestershire and Somerset in 2014. The Trust contends that the use of such a Panel to oversee the design of data collection, its analysis and interpretation was promised by the Secretary of State. Without such a panel, there can be no proper assessment of the safety, effectiveness and humaneness of the culling operation, something that would be needed before any lawful decision could be taken to continue with further culls around the country.

The Badger Trust legal challenge has received strong support from some members of the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) set up by the Government to monitor the safety, effectiveness and humaneness of the badger culls carried out in 2013.

Commenting on the Judicial Review challenge, Professor Tim Coulson a member of the IEP who has confirmed his support for the challenge, said:

“The Independent Expert Panel’s report states clearly the rationale for ensuring that independent monitoring and the use of the statistically robust sample sizes and analytical methods, as used in the 2013 culls, are followed in further culling exercises. If this scientific advice is ignored then the data collected during the proposed 2014 culls will be insufficiently reliable for assessment of humaneness and effectiveness. This means that farmers, veterinarians and scientists intimately involved in controlling bovine TB will be denied the information necessary to allow them to assess whether the IEP’s recommended changes to the culling process have corrected the failings identified by the pilot culls.”

Dominic Dyer CEO of the Badger Trust and Policy Advisor at Care for the Wild commented on the Judicial Review challenge saying:

“The refusal of the DEFRA Secretary of State to put in place any independent monitoring of the badger culls due to commence in Gloucestershire and Somerset over the next few weeks, against the advice of the Independent Expert Panel which DEFRA set up, is a national disgrace.

“The caring, compassionate British public will not remain silent whilst NFU contract gunmen move through our countryside at night shooting badgers with rifles and shotguns despite serious concerns regarding the levels of training, monitoring and scrutiny. We know from recent reports in the Sunday Times that contractors employed by both the NFU and Animal Health Veterinary Laboratory Agency were alleged to have regularly breached operating procedures by falsifying hair trap data, stalking badgers outside designated cull zone areas and using firearms in a way that put public safety at risk.

“I am very pleased to see that we have strong support from members of the Independent Expert Panel for the Judicial Review challenge brought by Badger Trust.

“We expect to see hundreds of people outside the High Court during the hearing on Thursday supporting the challenge, for what could be one of the largest wildlife protection protests in its history.”

Supplementary snippets ….

Coincidentally The Wildlife Trusts have just published their Badger Vaccination Progress Report 2011 – 13 and this in conjunction with the findings of the IEP puts another metaphoric nail in the coffin of the ‘cull’ argument?

Natural England appear to be failing the nation’s wildlife and special places? They dropped the case against the Walshaw Estate and made an astonishing agreement which effectively funds grouse moor management. Thankfully the RSPB have subsequently taken the case to Europe.  Their ‘Briefings’ of October 2012 and March 2014 can be found here and here.

Why is it that NE appear to fail to ensure robust science where badger culling is pushed through?

In 1997 their predecessors (English Nature) were described in a WWF Report as “A Muzzled Watchdog”, they morphed to become Natural England and one wonders what of the future for them with an ever changing climate around government attitude to environmmental conservation and wildlife?

“bTB and other wildlife issues” …. a talk by FERA to the YMG

March 27, 2014

We are informed that there is to be a topical talk

 “Using models to help make decisions on rabies, bovine TB and other wildlife Issues”

being given to members of the Yorkshire Mammal Group by Dr Graham Smith of FERA.

The meeting is, ironically, being held on Tuesday 1st April at 7pm at the Black Swan Pub, 23 Peasholme Green, York.

For more information contact the YMG.


Badgering away ….

February 23, 2014

The weather was pleasant, the kind of weather you feel like rambling around the moors.  But, a gathering was calling …. what is the collective noun for a group of naturalists?  In the interim of discovering the noun, a distinguished collection had gathered for Sorby Natural History Society’s fifth South Yorkshire Natural History Day.  We set up the Forum’s display – I have to say the new roller banners look great but the invertebrate exhibits that Peter and Paul brought along go a long way to evidencing what science the Forum has been undertaking.

There was a crammed programme of talks, all the kind that leave you feeling that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do what you’d really like to do.  Garden acculeate hymenoptera, which illustrated opportunities which might exist on your doorstep.  Odonata target species towards the atlas in prepThe state of scientific collecting in Yorkshire was an interesting presentation following analysis of a survey undertaken amongst Sorby NHS members.  Somehow it fell flat for me and that was in no way down to the speaker who was quite rightly a justified enthusiast for the practice of collections and voucher material accompanied by accurate data.  Is it a sign of age when experience acknowledges that the area where you live (or rather pay Council Tax to) has no real interest or enthusiasm for its Museum service?  Doncaster Museum for example houses some significant collections including George Hyde’s substantive series of Large Heath Butterflies.

The real passion verging on understandable anger came from the South Yorkshire Badger Group’s speaker who provided an update on the ‘badger debacle’.  You only have to look back over the last four decades or so to realise what started out as a disease of cattle has now been media managed by the agri-industry to become a badger problem.

Badger & mayweed

Badger by Tatterdemalion.   Image courtesy of Flickr – Creative Commons license.

It seems astonishing that it is the country’s badger groups who are funding vaccination programmes in hot spot areas.  Owen Paterson prefers a cull despite the fact that the Kreb’s trial tested some 11,000 badgers and found that only 166 animals were infected.  I reckon my calculator must be dodgy because it makes that 1.5% of a pretty significant sample!  What more recent independent science had been commissioned?  David Miliband commissioned the following: Bovine TB: The Scientific Evidence A Science Base for a Sustainable Policy to Control TB in Cattle An Epidemiological Investigation into Bovine Tuberculosis Final Report of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB Presented to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs The Rt Hon David Miliband MP, June 2007

An interesting quote by Professor John Bourne (Chair of Independent Scientific Group (ISG) on bovine TB) who said “I think the most interesting observation was made to me by a senior politician who said ‘fine John, we accept your science, but we have to offer the farmers a carrot.  And the only possible carrot we can give them is culling badgers’. 

When you start researching the various arguments it is absolutely astonishing to discover the facts and the fiction.  How many readers are aware of which way their MPs voted, for or against the cull?  When did the incidence begin to reach the plague proportions we hear reported in the media, why did poor ‘Brock’ become the scapegoat?  I can offer no better background reading than ‘Badgerlands’ a well researched book by Patrick Barkham (also author of The Butterfly Isles).  The book takes the reader through the centuries and mans relationship with the badger.  Barkham explores and appreciates the complexities faced by farmers whose livelihoods are impacted by the disease but equally he delves into the politics of the problem and here you sense frustration.  Barkham’s style is enthusiastic and infectious at times and if it achieves readers actively engaging in the debate then that is an added bonus.

Brian May championed the call to the Coalition Government to rethink the cull, that petition is now closed having reached a staggeering 300,000+ signatures which requires a response from the Backbench Business Committee (BBC).  Mmmh, call me a sceptic (although I’d prefer realist) but I shan’t be holding my breath for anything positively proactive or pragmatic from many of the incumbents in the Westminster penthouse.  But at least that action sparked a chain reaction which has seen groups work collaboratively and that is people power promoting change, let’s have ‘moor’?  Team Badger for example is an interesting mix who champion the case for that crepuscular and enigmatic black and white icon of the British countryside.  It supports vaccination as an alternative to culling.  According to the tbfreeengland website 213,799 cattle have been slaughtered since 1 January 2008, from 8 million animals tested, that represents 2.67% of the test sample which was a considerably larger sample than that of the Kreb’s trial.

If the Wildlife Trusts and Badger Groups are funding vaccinations in hotspots why haven’t the NFU assisted?  Damien Carrington’s Environment Blog reports on an interesting NFU approach to opposition.

Katy Brown writes for Ethical Consumer magazine and asks “Why are the supermarkets keeping so schtum about the badger cull?”

Surely, it is not beyond the wit of man if there is a will there is a way forward?  We can fly a man to the moon, why have successive Governments failed to find a scientific solution to this disease?  But, whilst this is not a new problem clearly it does need a new approach.  Dump the polarised views, the black and white exremes and collectively collaborate?  Now that really would be something?   If we subscribe to the view that we all share this planet and it is on loan from future generations, the we need to leave it rich in wildlife not depleat ….

Rethink the badger cull is an epetition still running by 38 degrees.  See also Petition against badger cull.  Another HM Government epetition, initiated by Nigel Ross is still running here.  It runs until 09/09/2014 and currently stands at 7,618 signatures.  It needs a bit of help to reach the required 10,000 to ensure that the Government’s BBC discuss it!

Tim M Badger 7465227996_e7b29e0ea9_h

Quintisentially a charismatic character of the British countryside, but also if you’re lucky a garden visitor!  Image: Tim Melling.

‘Moor’ about badgers ….

September 1, 2013

Sorry to keep ‘badgering’ you about negative issues, let’s face it we hear so many positive ones that I really should learn to set aside (ooops, no pun intended) a few bits of bad news?  Can you forgive another batch of BADGER related ramblings?

Here’s the delightful face of those wonderful black and white beasts, the quintessential mammal of the English countryside :




Here’s the other side of the coin, the cruelty illegally inflicted by those who see badgers as vermin and a threat to their business:

Hours of suffering as a result of an illegal snare badly set.

Hours of suffering as a result of an illegal snare badly set.


Bad enough the image above but, there’s now ‘legalised’ murder going on as I write this post, the cull sanctioned by Government is underway and being conducted in Wales.

Badgergate is well worth a read, there are some interesting facts to consider as well as suggestions as to how you can help, who and where to write to and possible pointers as to what you might include.  I appreciate that there are some who hold views that ‘mass protest’ outwith an imminent election is not effective, but to claim that this is a trial and there is no intention to test the shot badgers for bTB!  How do they claim any credibility for that lack of science?  Badgergate is to be applauded, their strapline of “Bovine TB: facts, fantasy & politics” sums up quite eruditely the situation in my view.

Whilst you’d like to be able to trust Government, I struggle to understand what they have based this decision on.  The Krebs report analyses data from the UK 1973 – 2007, so why do they look abroad for support?  Why have successive governments failed to implement a vaccination programme in areas of high risk?  Why have the NFU and their counterparts not supported this, why have they not funded independent science?

If any of you watched the recent BBC2 series “The Burrowers: Animals Underground” you would have gained a fascinating insight into the research by Chris Cheesman, someone who had over 35 years studied badgers and still as a result of this programme learnt new facts about the species.  His view is well worth the few minutes you need to read it here.  In fact I’d say if you’re only able to read one of the links here in today’s post then this one by Dr Cheesman has to be it!

Another well made selection of points can be found on Steve Backshall’s Facebook page, whilst I don’t do ‘social media’ I do recognise that it can be effective communication.  In case you are not familiar with the gentleman he’s the television presenter well known for programmes such as ‘Live and Deadly’.

A totally random thought but I just wonder how the 635 MPs would react if all their constuituents regularly twittered, tweeted or facebooked them about the badger cull?  Even if just say 10% did then surely it would create a reaction?  In fact, I reckon if just 1% did then that would have them a tad worried I suspect …. Likewise the various PR companies employed by government departments, or the NGO hierarchies?  Reality kicks back in ….  and along with it I am reminded of the apathy and lethargy demonstrated by the public over hen harriers etc.  However, Brian May’s petition creeps up and it is after all on a Government epetition website!  Just in case you need a reminder it can be accessed here.    291,126 as I ramble – come on let’s help it to 300,000!  Voices for nature where are you all?

What do other people think about this mass murder I wonder, Iolo Williams surely he has something to say about the subject?  Excellent, he has and so do quite a few other ‘celebs’ Chris Packham, Simon King, David Attenborough et. al.  Chris Packham also warns of potential consequences of direct action (his skit, see earlier link, at the Welsh tourism board or variant was noted though on the website).

Is there a solution that all parties can sign up to?  Sadly, I doubt it.  There are vociferous advocates on both sides of the argument, that’s democracy but I do so love ‘Ralph’s’ definition on Mark Avery’s blog, it just sums up the politics to a tee!  Logic requires that science must surely have a key role in any analysis and eventual decision?  That science must similarly be conducted and evaluated independently?  Then if there is dissent and the public purse is to fund any action, then reasoned logic and dare I offer democracy requires that the public have a say?

Oh dear, if that were the case then STOP & RETHINK  Open Access on National Nature Reserves too might be a ‘moor’ open and transparent discussion?

Images courtesy of the South Yorkshire Badger Group.   


Doom & gloom or a call to arms?

August 31, 2013

It seems that it’s all doom and gloom at the moment, The State of Nature illustrates well the collective failure to redress the damage and the decline in habitats and species.  We read that Hen Harriers are predicted to become extinct in our lifetime and now the badger cull has started.

Mark Avery’s blog discusses the merits of on line petitions and the one most often cited is that calling for the licencing of upland grouse moors in an attempt to protect Hen Harriers, just in case you’ve not signed it then see here.  Currently there are 6,334 signatories, so what happened to those million voices for nature, similarly the 800,000, accepting of course that it’s highly likely there will be many who are members of both?

In terms of the badger cull which, as many of us will be aware of has already started, so again in case you’ve not signed the ‘directgov’ epetition then click on this link.  In terms of the ‘debate’ there is an amazing volume of blame laid at the door of the badger, yet there seems to be deafening silence from defra or the farming lobby about finding real solutions to the problem, that is to say other than culling badgers.  There are some excellent points made by readers of Mark Avery’s ‘Standing up for Nature’ blog, well made and anyone needing persuasion should read here.   Avery’s recent post ‘Bovine TB’ has attracted 54 comments, that’s quite some response which seems to infer that there’s been too much war mongering and too little science, some basic questions about the ‘intensification’ of beef and dairy farming have also come to the fore again.  The cartoon, in my humble opinion, sums up the state of the nation’s democracy – in general and not just the badger debate, politicians as a species – one wonders if their decline be missed, do we really need 650 as well as another 800 unelected?

These badger cull ‘trials’ are being conducted in Gloucestershire, so do we write to MPs, Ministers, the NFU, CLBA and the tourist boards indicating that we will no longer visit, purchase British beef, British milk and oh dear, that lovely Shropshire brie has to go as well – but let’s think positive: less calories so a healthier diet!  It’s somewhat extreme, rather too radical …. but, what else are we left with when approaching 300,000 voices are ignored?  Money talks and if the farm gate receipts fall then farmers might be persuaded to reconsider, or will they expect to be bailed out by the ‘welfare state’ (aka tax-payers)?  Should we suspend the Single Farm Payments used to support farmers in that area, after all how can they argue the case that they are the custodians of wildlife and the countryside?  I don’t know the answer, does anyone?  The arguments are emotive, highly charged and will still not be resolved by the shedding of badger blood.

We have to ask is the dire straights which the countryside finds itself in, the ongoing decline of once familiar species, a sorry barometer for the state of mankind in general?  Should we go along with the apathy or should we act to ensure that there is accountability and that history attributes accurately the facts of the matter?

Which if we may be forgiven for bringing another petition to readers attention, they say things come in threes?  So can we appeal to readers who haven’t yet signed the Forum’s petition STOP & RETHINK National Nature Reserves as Open Access Areas to consider doing so here. 




Once ravaged for its peat, saved or so we thought …. is it destined to become a theme park now, no longer the idyllic tranquility local people treasure?

To those who have, a massive thank you and to those who have twittered or tweeted it or posted it on facebook ‘moor’ thanks.  We wondered what the response would be to our challenging the proposal of Open Access, it seemed contra to the conservation campaigning of the past.  We have been heartened by the many supportive comments posted on the 38 degree’s campaign petition.  This approach, by Natural England, is demonstrative of a failure to listen, to conduct business behind closed doors as well as compliance in terms of the Habitats Directive.  Senior Directors have failed to provide assurances that sufficient funds have been secured in perpetuity to monitor and manage for Likely Significant Effect.  Instead, it appears that it will come from core funds.  Does that mean that less will be spent on ensuring that National Nature Reserves, not just here at Thorne and Hatfield Moors, will slip into decline in terms of favourable condition status for their special interest features because funds are diverted for fences, gates, stiles, interpretation boards, picnic tables rather than management which will benefit habitat and species of nature conservation interest?

 I leave you all with a thought, borrowed from a report produced and downloadable at Common Cause

“What is wild cannot be bought or sold, borrowed or copied. It is. Unmistakable, unforgettable, unshakable, elemental as earth and ice, water, fire and air, a quintessence, pure spirit, resolving into no constituents.”  Jay Griffiths.



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Mark Avery

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a new nature blog

I write about politics, nature + the environment. Some posts are serious, some not. These are my views, I don't do any promotional stuff and these views are not being expressed for anyone who employs me.

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