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A good day in the countyside? Seven brace of pheasant. Photo: Mark Seton via Flickr.

In Defence of Life - standing up against the lust for culling wildlife

Lesley Docksey

14th Septmber 2014

British officialdom and those they serve are obsessed with the killing of wildlife, writes Lesley Docksey. It seems that whatever the 'problem', from bovine TB to the serendipitous arrival of beavers in Devon, the reflex is the same - to kill wild animals. But increasingly, the British people aren't having it. And our fightback is making waves .... more...
Never mind the questions, never mind the answers, never mind the evidence. The badgers will be culled. Photo: b/flickr, CC BY-NC-SA.

Badger cull fail - government throws science on the scrapheap

Rosie Woodroffe

9th September 2014

England's 2014 trial badger cull starts today - with no independent oversight, and no gathering of essential scientific data. The government's 'science-led' policy consists of asking scientists for help, writes Rosie Woodroffe - then completely ignore everything they said, and order them off the premises. more...
The bloodied corpse of badger 200, whisked away before it could be retrieved by cullers and subjected to a post-mortem that showed it had been shot in the wrong place and suffered a slow and painful death.

Defying reality - Natural England authorises 'unlawful' cull

Lesley Docksey

27th August 2014

A High Court judgment on the lawfulness of the 2014 badger cull is awaited. A criminal investigation is under way on the dangerous and illegal behaviour of culling contractors. Obviously, writes Lesley Docksey, it's the perfect time for Natural England to authorise another round of culling. more...
The familiar and attractive flower of Himalayan balsam could be about to get a whole lot less common in the UK. Photo: CABI.

Parasitic fungus introduced to attack Himalayan balsam

Oliver Tickell

28th August 2014

Even if you love Himalayan balsam, it has surely become too much of a good thing as it takes over Britain's wetlands and riverbanks. But now it's facing a major setback - the deliberate introduction of a parasitic rust fungus from its native range in the mountains of Asia. more...
The Asian hornet is a voracious predator of bees - as if they were not suffering enough already! Photo:  Danel Solabarrieta, CC BY-SA.

Confronting the threat of invasive 'ecosystem engineers'

Jodey Peyton & Helen Roy

26th August 2014

Mussels, crabs, hornets and ... racoons? Future invasive species are not what you might expect, write Jodey Peyton & Helen Roy. In particular, we have to beware of 'ecosystem engineers' that can transform the environment they inhabit, creating ecological havoc for other species.
more...
Letting the seeds grow free on a vegetable garden in BC, Canada. Photo: Christopher Porter via Flickr.

Free the seeds to feed the world!

Jack Kloppenburg & Irwin Goldman

20th August 2014

Patented and 'indentured' seeds are fast taking over the world's food supply, write Jack Kloppenburg & Irwin Goldman, terminating farmers' and gardeners' ancient right to develop new varieties, and forcing them to buy seed anew for every crop. Enter the Open Source Seed Initiative ... more...
The social structure of badger families is perturbed by the loss of a single member, and this can cause the spread of any TB they may be harbouring. Photo: Tim Brookes via Flickr.

NFU and cull companies out of police control rooms

The Ecologist

18th August 2014

Avon & Somerset police say that National Farmers Union and cull company representatives will be excluded from the control room in the 2014 cull. Their presence in control rooms in the 2013 cull caused a major loss of public confidence in the policing operation. more...
At least this badger at the British Wildlife Centre is safe from culling. Photo: Helen Haden via Flickr.

Whistle-blowing monitor reveals: how not to run a badger cull

Lesley Docksey

14th August 2014

New revelations show that the rifle-wielding badger cullers were often acting criminally, writes Lesley Docksey - pursuing badgers with loaded weapons on both private and public land outside licenced areas, with impunity, while the IEP was apparently kept in the dark. Strict controls are essential - or just an end to the cull. more...
Western pygmy possums use tree hollows that take decades to develop in mallee ecosystems. Photo: Lauren Brown.

Over-burning could be damaging Australia's wildlife for 100 years

Dale Nimmo, Andrew Bennett & Michael Clarke

29th August 2014

We know that Australia's dry bush has co-evolved with fire, so that means regular planned burning is a good thing? Up to a point ... some increasingly rare species depend on 'old growth' bush up to 100 years old, and over-frequent burning is putting them under long-term threat. more...
Changing climates ... the polar vortex played havoc with Niagara Falls (and much of the rest of North America too). Photo: Rick Warne / EPA.

The 'pre-Holocene' climate is returning - and it won't be fun

Peter Fisher

16th August 2014

A string of events earlier this year provided a sobering snapshot of a global climate system out of whack, writes Peter Fisher. Could it represent the end of a rare 10,000 year island of stability in global climate? If so, we had better get used to it. The Earth may never be so comfortable again ... more...
Does this seed library look to you like 'agri-terrorism'? Photo: via Sharable.net.

Agri-terrorists accuse seed bank of 'agri-terrorism'

Kevin Carson

13th August 2014

A Pennsylvania seed library stands accused of 'agri-terrorism' over alleged breaches of the Seed Act 2004, reports a bemused Kevin Carson. Have USDA and state agriculture departments become the enforcement branch of the agribusiness crime syndicate? more...
Photo: Jared Rodriguez / truthout.org via Flickr.

Can 'Public Interest' protect Britain's wildlife?

Lesley Docksey

8th August 2014

Last week the Upper Tribunal of the Royal Courts of Justice ordered Defra to release key information about the badger cull based on a 'public interest' argument, writes Lesley Docksey. Could this judgment open a new era of transparent and accountable government? more...

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Photo: Badgers in the wild by Tim Brookes via Flickr.

Badger Trust wins 'right to know' about badger cull development

The Ecologist

1st August 2014

The Government must release key documents about its secret development of England's badger cull with the National Farmers Union. The Upper Tribunal ruled that the public interest would be served by a full disclosure. more...
A mother badger with three cubs to feed looks for food in garden in rural Dorset. Photo: Lesley Docksey.

Carry on Culling - the fiasco continues

Lesley Docksey

28th July 2014

'We need to look at the best scientific evidence' on badgers and bovine TB, says Environment Secretary Liz Truss. But as Lesley Docksey writes, the 'best scientific evidence' appears to mean only that which supports the cull - and there's precious little of it! more...
Front cover of Badgerlands by Patrick Barkham.

The beguiling magic of badgers at dusk

Lesley Docksey

25th July 2014

To live sustainably we must learn to live with wildlife, Patrick Barkham argues in his book Badgerlands. To do this we have much to learn from our ancestors - but we must also discard their barbaric practices and outrageous myths that, even today, some are so keen to perpetuate. more...
The social structure of badger families is perturbed by the loss of a single member, and this can cause the spread of any TB they may be harbouring. Photo: Tim Brookes via Flickr.

Badger Trust's High Court cull challenge

The Ecologist

21st July 2014

The Badger Trust will challenge the trial badger culls in the High Court next month, claiming that Environment Secretary Liz Truss and Natural England are acting unlawfully in failing to appoint an expert panel to oversee the experiment. more...
Liz Truss threatens a badger with a garden fork at the Family Action's Escape Allotment in Swaffham. Photo: Matthew Usher / edp24.co.uk/

Truss - the badgers must die!

The Ecologist

17th July 2014

The new Environment Secretary Liz Truss flunked her first 'Green test' today as she told Parliament that the badger cull goes on. We run this excerpt from the Parliamentary record in which she states 'We are progressing with our programme!' more...
Colorful Heirloom Potatoes - 'Carola', 'All Red', 'All Blue', and 'Purple Viking' - collection  from Seed Savers. Photo: Susy Morris via Flickr.

Building an International Seed Savers Exchange

Andrew Kimbrell / Center for Food Safety

19th July 2014

Recent decades have seen a hardening global clampdown on the rights of farmers to use, save, develop, share, swap and distribute the seeds that produce the food we all eat, writes Andrew Kimbrell - and which constitute an essential common heritage of mankind. Here's his plan to fight back against the seed monopolists ... more...
Vandana Shiva leads a protest in India against Monsanto's GM seeds. Now she's on the warpath against Avaaz. Photo: Daniel Voglesong via Flickr.

Avaaz's global 'ebay of seeds' - how did they get it so wrong?

Julian Rose

16th July 2014

Already 56,000 people have pledged to support a global 'internet seed swap' initiative promoted by Avaaz, writes Julian Rose. Trouble is, the plans are deeply flawed, and have been developed without consultation with major seed saving groups worldwide. more...
Owen Paterson MP with Joe & Sephs Gourmet Popcorn. The 'Mad Dog' sign refers to a brand of lemonade. Photo: UKTI via Flickr.

Owen Paterson sacked: the end of 'badger bashing'?

Lesley Docksey

15th July 2014

Owen Paterson's departure from Government could see the end of the hated badger culls and a wider return to environmental sanity, writes Lesley Docksey. Given his disbelief in climate change and his arrogant disregard of science, it's not a moment too soon! more...
MP Liz Truss with wind turbine at the Family Action's Escape Allotment in Swaffham. Photo: Matthew Usher / edp24.co.uk/.

Britain's new Environment Secretary is a breath of fresh air

Oliver Tickell

15th July 2014

Britain's new Environment Secretary is young (38), female, blonde, believes in climate change, and has floated imaginative policies to deal with it from a carbon tax to 'personal carbon allowances'. As for badgers ... her silence on the topic promises well. more...
Model's prediction vs recorded data of (a) reactor (infected) cattle, shaded region shows 95% credibility from 5,000 simulations, and (b) distribution density of infected cattle. Image: Brooks-Pollock, Roberts, Keeling / Nature.

Culling badgers is no way to stop the spread of bovine TB

Matt Keeling

3rd July 2014

Published in Nature today, a new cattle herd model shows how bTB infects cattle and how to halt its spread, writes Matt Keeling. Most effective is the slaughter of entire herds with even a single TB infection detected. Culling badgers has very little impact. more...
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson faces a High Court appearance when his 'irrational' decision to hold the 2014 badger cull with no independent expert scrutiny is subjected to Judicial Review.

Badger cull High Court challenge goes ahead

The Ecologist

2nd July 2014

The Badger Trust has been granted leave for a Judicial Review of Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and Natural England over their 'irrational' decision to conduct the 2013 badger cull with no independent expert scrutiny. more...
Wild beavers caught on film in the River Otter, Devon, by Tom Buckley. Photo via BBC News and Youtube.

Let England's wild beavers be!

Oliver Tickell

1st July 2014

A family of wild of beavers has established on an English river for the first time since Henry VIII. But now the Government has decided to trap them and consign them to captivity in a zoo or wildlife centre. Defenders of wilderness are now demanding: keep our wild beavers free! more...
These cows on the Kerry Ridgeway in Wales are subject to annual TB testing - key to halving TB incidence over 5 years. Photo: John Clift via Flickr.

Bovine TB - biosecurity works, new Defra figures show

Lesley Docksey

18th June 2014

With the 6th International Conference on Bovine TB under way today in Cardiff, Lesley Docksey reports on Defra's latest statistics. BTB in England is falling - and it's falling fastest where the strongest biosecurity measures are in place, confirming the experience of Wales and Scotland. more...

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