Ragwort plague spreas across Britain - but Why??
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Thu Aug 18 22:47:39 BST 2011
Time to restart campaign to blitz ragwort
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - Western Morning News
Remember all the fuss about ragwort a few years
back how its steady advance across the
countryside was going to kill off all our cattle
and horses, unless we rooted it out and burnt it?
Local authorities were encouraged to send teams
out along the roads and lanes pulling it up, and
it was a positive social offence to have the
nasty yellow stuff growing on your land. The WMN
even ran a campaign for ragwort eradication.
To what end, one might wonder, looking at the
magnificent array of the intrusive weed all over
the place. A drive through eight counties of
south-western and southern England last week ably
illustrated the current situation, every hedgerow
festooned with it and, in these financially
challenged times, no evident effort made by councils to sort it out.
Now the NFU has started a drive to make farmers
and land managers vigilant, reminding them to be
aware of their responsibilities when it comes to
"a toxic weed that is potentially fatal for livestock".
The union's Dr Andrea Graham said: "Common
Ragwort poses a real risk to animal health
because it can have potentially fatal
consequences if ingested either in its green or
dried state by horses and livestock.
"Livestock owners should be vigilant so that
their stock isn't exposed to the risk of ragwort
poisoning. Grazing land should be regularly
inspected for ragwort when animals are present
and it should be pulled, removed and disposed of responsibly when discovered.
"Non-compliance may be used as evidence in any
legal action and leave farmers open to
enforcement action and possible prosecution under the Weeds Act."
It's always worth looking at the ancient, and
evocative, nicknames of weeds. For ragwort, they
are St Jameswort, Ragweed, Stinking
Nanny/Ninny/Willy, Staggerwort, Dog Standard,
Cankerwort, Stammerwort and Mare's Fart.
The march of the ragwort ravers - Daily Telegraph
By Robin Page
Unfortunately Im never going to be hailed as a
ragwort eradication champion (Daily Telegraph
letters July 14 2011), as the march of this
highly noxious weed is so rapid that it will take
more than me to stop it. Speeding the march are the...............
Yes, I concede, the ragwort plant is the
foodplant of the attractive cinnabar moth
(below). But the moths managed before ragwort was
allowed to get out of control. The reason for
ragwort's rampant state is simply that people
have become separated from nature. People just
don't understand how the.........................
Ragwort is a very poisonous weed.
Inside its cells, the leaves and stalks contain a
highly toxic form of cyanide.
This deadly contaminant means the plant is a
dangerous pest in any agricultural field you care
to mention and for the naïve young horse or cow
that eats it, the results are very often fatal.
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