Letters, November 1: A Sunday shower, the problem with farmers and the life of a badger
Sunday shower and Archbishop at fault
I think it is quite disgusting to see that in a so-called Christian country a shower of strange individuals should get media exposure for calling themselves "The Sunday Assembly" and worse, they are allowed into a church.
I see this weekend that the "new" Archbishop has criticised the utilities for increasing fuel prices instead of having a go at his political masters – the Government.
Best wishes to Mr Peter Kendall who is standing down from the presidency of the NFU and if Mr Adam Quinney decides to stand then may he be congratulated.
Robert M Tubman
Farming the cause of two biggest problems
There are two major problems in our countryside: TB in bovines and flooding – both caused by the way farming is allowed to carry on by Defra.
Fertilisers and crop spraying have killed most of the earthworms, slugs etc – the natural food for badgers, who now feed on mainly farm products, maize and other cereal crops and possibly poultry manure. All these in their digestive system and TB could be the outcome, remember what happened with bovines when fed with meat: BSE.
Going back to the problems of floods, the water runs straight off the land due to there being no drainage due to the loss of earthworms. The weather is no different, this is all due to bad farming practice created by Defra, where a cull would be a good idea – though not in such a severe way, perhaps.
I have been in farming all my life (I am 77) and never used fertiliser. In my early years nobody used fertiliser only basic slag/lime, farmyard manure etc. Now the fertilisers ruin the soil, but if farmers did not use them, they would grow very little. We are told that half the food in this country is wasted. If farmers worked on supply and demand, they could dictate to supermarkets, not the other way round.
In 50-plus years I have kept an average of 120 cattle and never had TB in my livestock. As a livestock agent, I took 150 to 200 head to slaughter per week and in that time there were three carcasses condemned with TB out of well over three million.
Malcolm D Lake
Badgers live a hard life under the ground
For several years I looked after three badger setts in and around the Quantock Hills. Two were difficult to reach; one was quite a large one used by several badgers under rocks and on very steep ground in a wood and it fell away to a usually rushing stream. Anyway this sett was used and still is by several badgers.
For some years I left straw near the setts, soon taken down to sleeping areas. To get their own bedding meant dead grass and bracken had to be rolled up and taken backwards for some long distances to their setts. At certain times the setts were cleaned out, so my straw must have been a godsend. I should think at various times their sleeping quarters must have been very wet and damp.
On fox hunting days, one of the setts was blocked up by some person for obvious reasons. I unblocked this many times, which was no easy task but helped the fox to escape inside the sett when being chased by the hunt.
I now have an illness which prevents me helping the fox or badger.
The lifestyle of the badger is very tough. Living underground most of their lives is none too good, maybe they get ill by living in such damp conditions.
Unlike the fox, badgers use the setts year after year, although I have found much smaller setts which are used from time to time.
Some years ago I found some pieces of plastic piping around one of the setts, perhaps used for gassing. May be this has been going on for some years? Well, I did what I could for them.
We now have a badger cull. I do not know what to make of it. Shooting them has its problems, some badgers must be wounded and die a slow death.
Time to give other wildlife a voice
You have given enough publicity to the badger cull, and should start to campaign for other animals and birds.
I read that hedgehogs will be extinct in a few years, apparently badgers roll hedgehogs on their backs and eat them. Badgers also eat the eggs and chicks of ground-nesting birds. Chris Rundle wrote an interesting article about this on October 16.
Then there are the raptors, now protected, that feast on small birds in my garden.
Finally there are the pheasants and partridges that are bred in captivity then put in the wild to be shot for what they call sport.
There must be some protection.