Licence to Kill
Environmentalists have been outraged by the number of licences issued by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales for the killing of protected species, mostly birds. Whilst most of these species are numerous, some are on the red and amber lists of species of conservation concern. The revelations came as a result of a Freedom of Information request, but the authorities have defended their actions saying that the issue of licences was necessary for air safety, public health and safety and to prevent serious damage to livestock.
More than eighty dairy farmers in England and Wales ceased milk production in October and November this year. After a couple of years when the numbers of those leaving the industry seemed to be slowing, this was a dramatic reversal. It is too early to say whether this is a blip or the start of a trend but it shows that the profitability of milk production is still hard to achieve. The number of dairy farmers today is less than half those registered in 2002.
The number of badgers culled this autumn as part of the Government’s strategy to reduce the incidence of bovine tuberculosis was 32,601. Culling was carried out in 32 areas across ten counties, Cheshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Somerset, Staffordshire and Wiltshire. Defra’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, reported that the culls were reducing TB outbreaks with the number of new confirmed cattle breakdowns dropping by around 50%.
Woodcock Numbers Up
The number of migrant woodcock arriving in this country has surprised experts. It was thought that the hot dry summer in Scandinavia might have reduced breeding success but a huge number of the birds arrived in the second half of November. Heavy snowfall in Scandinavia and easterly winds from central Europe are thought to have helped the migration.