Defra to Review Gamebird Release
Defra has announced a review of the release of gamebirds in protected areas. It has been described as a cave in to demands by Chris Packham and Wild Justice, who claim that the release each year of 43 million pheasants and 9 million red-legged partridges is causing damage to other wildlife. Defra has said that the review will take time and, only after a thorough examination of the evidence, will it become clear if any changes are necessary.
Badger Cull Extended
George Eustice, recently reappointed farm minister, has spoken of the Government’s decision to extend the badger cull to 11 new areas, taking the total to 43. Up to 64,000 badgers will be culled this autumn, up from a maximum of 42,000 last year. The cull now covers 90% of Wiltshire, 84% of Devon and 83% of Cornwall with areas in other counties. Critics say that there is too much emphasis on the spread of bovine tuberculosis by badgers rather than by cattle.
There has been a big expansion in the number of heather beetles on moorland this year. It is thought that this may be due in part to the weather last year, the cold spell in the spring known as the Beast from the East followed by the long hot dry summer. It is not practicable to control the beetle by pesticides, making it very difficult to limit numbers. The beetles eat the heather and may lead to the loss of many plants, a major scourge of the much-loved and hugely important heather moorland. Rotational burning of the heather can help as beetles will be killed and he regenerating heather may be able to outgrow the attack.
Cambridge drops Red Meat
The University Catering Services that supplies 14 food outlets at the University of Cambridge has dropped ruminant meat, beef and lamb, from all menus. Claiming that this has dramatically reduced the greenhouse gas emissions footprint of food procurement, vegan and vegetarian dishes are promoted although it is still possible to get chicken or pork. This follows a similar move at Goldsmiths, University of London, that has banned all sales of beef on its campus. Not surprisingly, there has been a furious reaction from the farming community.