A serious topic to begin with. There is no doubt that TB in cattle is a highly emotive subject. It is a devastating disease for the livestock industry, and as well as the financial costs to the UK taxpayer, the consequences of a TB breakdown extend far beyond the farm gate.
Apart from the East Sussex hot spot, the South East has a relatively low incidence of TB, compared with other areas of the country. Over recent years, however, a number of breakdowns have occurred in our low risk counties, meaning more and more farmers are having to get to grips with complex rules and regulations either as a breakdown herd, or when they are brought into a radial testing zone.
For farmers in the edge area of East Sussex, help is at hand through the TB Advisory Service, which provides free, bespoke advice to farmers on how to reduce the risk and impact of TB. Farmers can contact the service on 01306 779410 to request either an on farm advice visit, or over the phone advice from an experienced TB consultant. Sadly, TB was close to being eradicated in the seventies and it was only the tree huggers and animal rights activists who prevented us from completing the job. Let us hope we are successful this time.
Badgers are undoubtedly vermin and need to be kept under control given that they have no natural predators. What puzzles me is why, when we farmers make a small mistake in filling out the various forms we are obliged to complete, any discrepancies discovered by our “friends” at DEFRA are pounced upon with undue vigour and we too are treated like vermin. A friend of mine recently had his knuckles rapped because a bovine animal bred on his farm several years ago had never been signed off in his movement records.
Having spent all day checking his records, it transpired that said animal had died as a calf in 2004 and had been consigned to a knacker’s yard together with its passport, from where the appropriate documentation was not forwarded to the relevant authority. Given that there are probably close to two million illegal immigrants in this country, some of whom have criminal records, and many are without bona fide passports, perhaps those working for DEFRA should lend their enthusiasm and expertise to those working for border control.
It has slowly dawned on me why civil servants on the whole are pretty much against Brexit. It has been proven time and time again that some of their departments are overstaffed and totally ineffective – NHS management, overseas aid and the Foreign Office to name but a few. Their staff are box tickers, bored to tears and merely going through the motions. No doubt many are fully qualified to go through the motions, but I suspect they fear the challenge of having to knuckle down to a new dawn when Brexit happens.
It was interesting to hear that one or two enlightened minds, including the French government, believe we should bring back national service. I wholeheartedly agree. Any youth who leaves school with no qualifications, no further formal education in prospect and no desire or ability to get a job, should have two years national service. They will have a great chance to experience discipline, respect and civility, while at the same time being taught a trade. Where is the downside?
What an absolute shambles the House of Commons is right now. Has there ever been a time when so great a proportion of our MPs, on both sides of the house, are more intent on furthering their personal interests rather than doing what is good for our country. No wonder Barnier and Juncker believe they hold all the cards. Where is the messiah and who is she or he?
HEADLINE: “Woman jumps 55 metres from stern of cruise ship”. If this does not turn out to be a scam I am a Dutchman. No broken bones, no bruises and she climbs onto the rescue boat unaided. Professional cliff divers usually jump from 20-30 metres and go in feet first. The impact would have knocked out every breath in her body, while she tumbled about in the ship’s wake. And she is not even traumatised!
Finally, I believe Corbyn is still a big fan of Venezuela and its politics. Well the economy is so sound that it now takes more paper money to buy a toilet roll than there is actual paper in the roll! Rock on communism and socialism.