Farmer David Barton

Harvest safely gathered in but TB concerns continue

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It’s been a month since I last posted a blog as its been a very busy time on the farm with harvest and other things. The harvest is now safely in the barn thank goodness.
As it’s now autumn, I assume the pilot badger culls will start sometime soon. It is so important they continue and that the contractors are allowed to carry out their work unhindered which I believe is done in the most professional way. I visited the cull area in Gloucestershire last year and saw first-hand how professional and well organised the contractors were with the greatest attention to detail employed. It was disappointing and frustrating that they were repeatedly faced with intimidation and harassment from some of the protesters.
The contractors are people employed to carry out a Government policy to help wipe out a disease that is devastating livestock and dairy farmers in the county. Let’s see what the results are after the four years have been completed. There will be no need for mathematical modelling or scientific reports to be pulled apart. I am not afraid of the result, and we must put things in to perspective. – It is estimated up to 5,000 badgers may be culled over the four year period. Let us not forget that last year alone 32,000 cattle were culled for bTB. Let’s fight for the rights of our cattle and our Great British Beef and Dairy industry. Surely we must do everything we can to stop the reinfection of our cattle from wildlife and, in so doing, rid the countryside of this dreadful disease .I believe the right to peaceful protest is very important. Let’s make sure any protests this year are peaceful and lawful.
I think it is important to clarify the issue of the independent expert panel to the General Public. The message getting out there is that the IEP won’t be overseeing the cull this year. This is correct, but lessons learnt from last year will be implemented and DEFRA and Natural England will be overseeing and monitoring the culls. My experience with both DEFRA and Natural England is they are more than capable and will do a very thorough job in a very professional way as you would expect. It is quite frankly ridicules to suggest any different………….
Our next bTB test is not so far away now and we are planning again for the whole herd test. I will need two clear tests before I can have restrictions lifted on my farm and be able to sell and market my store cattle. It has a crippling effect on my business. I saw on TV last week how young farmers are having to cope with bTB breakdowns. It’s so hard for them and it just strengthens my resolve that we must now get this dreadful disease under control without delay
We need an independent body to run the bTB policy in the UK – to work in partnership with farmers and government to move us forward to being bTB free. It is essential now. Doing nothing or keeping the status quo is simply not an option. There is simply too much at stake. We must all work towards a healthy living working countryside.
I wish everyone involved in the cull in Gloucestershire and Somerset well in their courageous and determined fight to help start making England bTB free.

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