Letters, October 22: BBC and trust, fall in badger numbers and celebrating the English language
To refer to trust and BBC is an oxymoron
An article in one of our major Sunday newspapers posed the question "Can we still trust the BBC?" The answer is a resounding and unequivocal "no"!
It is now – as a result of having being packed with Blairite cronies and yes-men – the mouthpiece of the Left, a propaganda machine for Brussels and increasingly profligate with licence payers' money – the latter being a direct result of the former. In fact, to even refer to trust and the BBC in the same sentence is an oxymoron.
Just how did those badger numbers fall?
There have been three official attempts to count badgers in West Somerset and West Gloucestershire prior to the cull. The latest data suggests the population in both areas has fallen from around 8,000 badgers in October 2012, to around 4,000 badgers a year later in both zones.
Defra has given a number of reasons for the apparent 50 per cent decline, including the impact of last winter's bad weather, disease and lack of food. But funny they do not mention illegal badger killing; either shooting, gassing or via snares.
However many animal welfare charities are concerned that illegal killing of badgers may be the real reason behind this large fall in their numbers. Last week Sky News claimed that farmers in the Somerset cull zone had admitted on camera to gassing badgers.
This is of grave concern as many farmers are in receipt of farming benefits for wildlife management and possibly also land and environmental stewardship schemes.
The bovine TB is the result of the incompetence of Defra and the NFU where they have failed to manage the spread of bovine TB by their reluctance to implement better bio-security measures and properly validated and enforced cattle movement controls but most critically failing to invest to improve TB testing.
Days of celebration for English language
Sunday, October 13, was English Language Day, chosen as the anniversary of the day in the 13th century when English was legalised. It would have been better to have named it International English Language Day, because it is dedicated to Ancwe (Ancillary/World English); rather than National English.
October 13 is also the saint's day of St Edward the Confessor, an early patron saint. He was the Francophile king who willed the kingdom to the Norman duke William the Conqueror. By the time that use of English had been made legal, a couple of hundred of years after the Norman Conquest, it was well on its way to becoming Ancwe having absorbed a host of words from Norman and Central French.
In a couple of weeks, we will be celebrating King Alfred's Day, on Saturday October 26. He was a key figure in the story of the English language. He set in train a process of combining the tongues of the Angles and Saxons that produced the Anglo-Saxon language which he named Englisc. He translated books from Latin into that English and employed scholars on the task of making his Anglo-Saxish language into a literary language. He also kept his own Saxland and West Mercian England from being taken over by the Danes, after their surrender at Chippenham, thereby keeping his Saxish kingdom within Christendom, although England north of the Thames became Danelaw.
T R Spratt
Voresbreker, We be Saxons – We beoth Zeahse
An untrue response to a serious issue
I would like to point out to Lorraine Platt (Daily Press October 17) that the "hunting" issue is not between town and country but between those who are prepared to listen to facts and those who peddle complete myths.
The Federation of Welsh Farmers' Packs' proposal to amend the Hunting Act by Statutory Instrument is not an attempt to re-introduce hunting by the back door. The only change to the Act would be to replace two dogs with 30 dogs in the flushing to protect livestock exemption.
It is a fact that under the present Act, for the purposes of protecting livestock, I can use two dogs to flush foxes from cover to guns ensuring that as soon as possible they are shot dead by a competent person. However restricting this to two dogs renders the exemption inefficient. It also has serious welfare consequences for the fox, due to the prolonged chase before being flushed from cover, as the study presented by Dr Jeremy Naylor shows.
So amending the act to allow 30 dogs would both improve welfare implications for the fox and utility. The fox still must be shot as soon as possible by a competent marksman and it would still be an offence under the amended act to chase a fox without shooting it.
The emotional hysteria from those opposing these measures, trying to insinuate that farmers in wellies with shotguns are really toffs on horses in red coats, is a rather pathetic and inherently untrue response to a serious issue.
Secretary, Federation of Welsh Farmers Packs
Efforts to neutralise popular Hunting Act
The proposal to amend the Hunting Act to allow wild animals to be flushed from cover using a full pack of (around 40) hounds rather than the present limit of two is just a cynical attempt to further muddy and undermine the law and make it even harder for monitors and prosecutors to bring transgressing hunters to justice.
Knowing that they do not have the votes, let alone public support. to repeal the Hunting Act, the pro-hunt forces, including our Prime Minister, have cooked up a vaguely plausible sounding excuse to just amend it, purportedly for the sake of poor, suffering Welsh hill farmers whose flocks are allegedly under seige from packs of ravening foxes. In fact, Defra itself has long said that fox predation is an "insignificant" factor in lamb mortality – as many scientific studies have confirmed – and nobody has ever produced film of a fox attacking a viable lamb.
They cite in support of the proposal a "study" conducted by, you guessed it, hunters and display their usual grotesque hypocrisy by arguing this would somehow actually help fox welfare.
The "full pack" exemption would, of course, be available to all hunts, intentionally blurring yet further the line between "pest control" and hunting for "sport", and giving them even more opportunity to pretend that any chases, or kills, that resulted were "accidents".
The proposal would effectively re-legalise perhaps the most gruesome and distressing aspect of the "sport" – cub hunting. Hunts would be free once more to unleash dozens of hounds to chase and dismember young foxes, the means by which they train the new hounds in their bloody business.
To allow the use of full packs for "flushing" will largely neutralise the Hunting Act. I would appeal to your readers to write to their MPs to ask them to oppose this cynical attempt to so weaken this essential and popular law.
POWA – Protect Our Wild Animals