NFU criticises Christmas song

By Ross Findon

Monday, December 3, 2012

 

NFU criticises Christmas song

Chris Packham and Martin Drake-Knight in the video for The Present of Life, the Isle of Wight company's charity song in aid of the Badger Trust.

A CELEBRITY Christmas charity record in aid of the Badger Trust by eco-clothing label Rapanui has been criticised by the Isle of Wight branch of the National Farmers Union (NFU).

Isle of Wight NFU chair Caroline Knox said The Present of Life, which has had backing from naturalists Sir David Attenborough and Chris Packham, trivialised the issue of bovine TB.

But the Sandown-based business rejected the claims and said it stood by the effort to raise cash for the Badger Trust, which opposes a cull.

Mrs Knox said: "This festive pop song and video, released by eco-clothing brand Rapanui, may at first seem humorous on the surface but, actually it trivialises the whole issue of bovine tuberculosis.

"Bovine TB is the biggest issue facing the cattle industry, causing misery to hundreds of farming families and resulting in the slaughter of 34,000 cattle across England and Wales this year alone. It also affects a growing number of species of animals in the countryside."

She said there was no single solution to the problem of bovine TB.

"Ideally action should have been taken decades ago to curb the spread of bovine TB on the mainland, fortunately, here on the Isle of Wight, we are bovine TB free as the Solent is a barrier to badger movement.

"This proves how effective the cattle movement and testing regime is in preventing the spread of the disease as we bring in a lot of cattle to the Island.

"It is a tragedy that bovine TB has taken such a hold and we all need to work together to trial every available tool to achieve healthy badgers, healthy cattle and a healthy countryside."

But Rapanui supporter and television naturalist Chris Packham — who appears in the video for the song — said: "85% of our countryside is farmed, and farmers are therefore major custodians of wildlife and sustainability in the UK.

"Farms are also businesses. It's understandable that a farmer on the verge of bankruptcy might look to drastic measures to reduce their losses. But science shows the cull isn’t the answer. If we supported farmers more and bought their produce, perhaps they'd lend their ear to environmentalists a little more easily. British consumers can help British badgers by supporting British farmers.

"We should be working together based on the science towards the best solution for farmers and the Badger population."

Reporter: ross.findon@iwcp.co.uk

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