Persuasive argunment

“Apart from the Woodland Trust, which appears to be gaining some access to Defra ministers, the UK conservation movement is remarkably absent from these meetings, while the fieldsports lobby has done very well.” https://anewnatureblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/10/time-to-rename-defra-the-ministry-of-agriculture-and-fieldsports/

The shooting industry has UK government over a barrel.

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Badge of Success

“Almost 1,500 badgers were killed during last year’s badger cull, according to Defra. The government described the effort as a success.” (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/23/badger-cull-protesters-change-tactics-in-response-to-expansion)

Ah, the answer to my question “what is the motivation for culling badgers?” – ‘Success’ is not measured as fewer cows with bovine TB, it’s a great big pile of uninfected, inhumanely killed, badger carcasses.

Five ways to take action against the cull, from dairy boycotts to non-violent protests.

Henaction

“‘I welcome this plan – not because it is perfect, it isn’t – but because it reflects real potential for progress on one of the most deep-rooted conflicts in conservation. We needed action. The prize is that the landowners are now part of the conversation. The test will be if we succeed in getting the hen harrier flying again over upland England. This is progress,’ said Martin Harper, director of the RSPB.” (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/14/long-awaited-plan-to-save-englands-hen-harrier-gets-green-light)

Potential for progress, is, as Mark Avery succinctly puts it, inaction.

The petition to ban driven grouse shooting has over 30,000 signatures and only a few days left…

Natural Selection

Natural England, a non-departmental government body sponsored by DEFRA, is recruiting for 29 professional posts (https://www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk/csr/jobs.cgi?jcode=1472685%20 and https://www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk/csr/jobs.cgi?jcode=1472667%20). Twenty-nine. At £24,120pa each, that costs £700,000 even without employer’s pension contributions. Where’s that money coming from during the current sustained attack on environmental public spending, including severe cuts to DEFRA?

Interestingly, these roles are in “Sustainable development” – that delightful oxymoron – as Planning or Wildlife Management Lead Advisers. Could these be aimed at combatting wildlife crime and protecting our wildlife?

Perhaps the role specifications may offer clues:
“Support the delivery of the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS)”
“Working with a range of partners, customers and colleagues to implement changes in the delivery of land use work.”
“Building partnerships with customers (primarily LPAs [Local Planning Authorities]) and stakeholders to resolve complex and often contentious planning issues and to develop collaborative strategic land use approaches to conserving and enhancing the natural environment.”
Curiously open to interpretation. “Changes.” “Enhancing.”

More curiously,
“Spotting opportunities for income generation through our Discretionary Advice Service including preparing Customer Contracts and delivering the service specified.”
“Spot opportunities around income generation, draw up contracts and work with customers on Pre Application advice.”

Perhaps government is expecting these roles to pay for themselves through licensing land owners to indulge their delusions of military control over nature. Perhaps I’m over-sensitive since our equivalent, Scottish Natural Heritage, is on its own crusade to monetise nature. Ah, time for my anti-cynicism medication.

Intensed Milk

“The Government itself declined to comment directly on the intensification issue but said that an over-supply of milk on the world market was partly to blame for the sharp fall in milk prices and therefore increasing production was ‘not the answer’. ‘It’s about increasing the great things we do with that liquid milk.'” (http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2986357/the_march_of_the_industrial_megadairy_is_this_the_future_of_milk.html)

DEFRA once again offers penetrating insight that an over-supply will not be solved by increasing production and that milk is liquid.

Water Protection Zeroes

“Investigations by WWF-UK, the Angling Trust and Fish Legal have revealed that, in January 2011, Defra Ministers and the Environment Agency decided to put the brakes on the use of WPZs [Water Protection Zones], except as a ‘last resort’. This was despite overwhelming evidence that other measures to tackle the pollution problem would not be sufficient. … It also flies in the face of Defra’s own analysis which has repeatedly shown that relying on voluntary action by farmers alone will not solve the problem of agricultural pollution.” (http://www.wwf.org.uk/about_wwf/press_centre/index.cfm?uNewsID=7722)

The High Court is expected to award habitat damages to the plaintiffs and 100 lashes by angling flies in the face to Defra.