When we choose to brush morality aside
THE current cull of Badgers has, as expected, opened up a very lively debate. Although I don't say it with any relish.
The TB link with badgers and cattle has always been there, but it has always been contentious. But looking at the varied information from the scientific experts I'm not sure a cull will do any good in the zones of Gloucestershire and Somerset. Although I openly admit I am not an expert. We all know that human tuberculosis is a dangerous disease but Bovine tuberculosis is a problem for cattle, and our hard pressed dairy farmers.
Various groups have warned of direct non-violent action against the supermarkets selling milk for the areas effected as some supermarkets have made a public statement of support for the cull, where as others have opposed it.
I'm not a big fan of supermarkets – but they are part of the choice us shoppers and consumers. What concerns me is not every one jumping on the band wagon to bash the supermarket or the ever-struggling dairy farmer trying to make ends meet in a world which is controlled by corporate giants – that the real issue here, and we may lose it if we are not careful, is the power of the consumer and their own inimitable sense of right and wrong.
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I've said it before and I'll say it again: when it comes to ethics or conservation, put large animals like elephants and leopards or badgers and foxes on the telly and you'll get support. Flash a scary beetle, a worm or a bacteria across the screen and people lose interest. Many consumers who patronise certain companies have no idea of the company's green credentials or ethics – many of whom have very questionable records around the globe. We can and do brush morality aside when we choose to. One might save a quid here or there or 10p on this or that and by and large we're happy...
Morality is a double-edged sword: we talk about morality and yet parents will happily let their kids sit in front of a computer war game simulation (with all the blood & guts) or allow their children to surf the net and see God knows what and yet they turn their noses up at the idea of bloody meat in the supermarkets or the moral question of an animal cull. To be honest it doesn't make me laugh, it worries me that for so many of my countrymen one may see either their capriciousness or blatant apathy.
Our countryside and the people and communities that farm it need our support. They don't necessarily need corporate office wallahs or townies lecturing them as to what is best.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not sure what all of the answers are, but one things for sure; the larger debate about who controls our food and what they do to obtain it is something we need to discuss sooner rather than later.