reminder of this extraordinary story
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Sun Jan 23 14:26:37 GMT 2011
>The NFU 'doesn't care about its membership'
>Wednesday, April 14, 2010, 09:00
>After seven years as the Somerset delegate for
>the National Farmers' Union, I'm afraid I have
>come to the conclusion that the NFU is there
>merely to promote itself and really doesn't care
>about the interests of its membership.
> From all I have seen and heard, I am driven to
> the conclusion that it is far more concerned
> about maintaining the supermarkets' margins and
> playing lapdog to Defra the well-worn route
> by which retiring office-holders collect their
> non-executive directorships and knighthoods.
>One of the main reasons I stood for presidency
>of the union in February was because it was my
>belief that the voting system is totally unfair.
>And how can I substantiate that claim? Simple:
>the ballot papers used to elect candidates to
>the top three posts are all numbered, so
>officials can plainly see who voted for whom.
>I was so disillusioned with the way the NFU is
>run I was actually going to resign last year.
>But I was encouraged to stay because so many of
>my council colleagues told me I was one of the
>few people who was prepared to say what I really
>thought, and had a chance of making a
>difference. But in the end they didn't have the guts to vote for me.
>Predictably, under such circumstances, I only received three votes.
>One of them was mine, and the other two were
>those of Somerset NFU chairman Mark Pope and
>Charles Bourns, chairman of the poultry board.
>Charles Bourns is a man who stands up for his beliefs.
>He and the board deserve to be thanked for their
>work in ensuring the Little Red Tractor actually
>means something and has the Union Jack wrapped
>around it despite opposition from others who
>wanted to see it applied equally to any imported food that met UK standards.
>I would like to thank him publicly for voting
>for me, because it caused him a lot of
>aggravation, sparking a campaign to remove him
>from the chairmanship of the poultry board though one he managed to survive.
>My old colleagues in Farmers For Action, David
>Handley and Paul Reynolds have repeatedly told
>me that I would never change the NFU and I'm
>sorry to say that I now have to agree with them.
>After all, what has it achieved over the last 15
>years? We have seen the steady decline of
>British agriculture, we have lost status as an
>agricultural nation, lost the Royal Show which
>used to showcase the best of British farming,
>and lost the Smithfield in
> and despite what may be claimed the
>replacement shows are no more than very pale
>imitations of a once-great event. We are only 50
>per cent self sufficient in food and the proportion continues to fall.
>A quarter of all farmers are below the poverty
>line and supermarket profits are still rising.
>We have 62 million customers on our doorstep and
>only enough food for three days.
>We are, as someone put it, three days away from
>anarchy. It is an absolute disgrace.
>This all rests at the door of the NFU, its
>failures in leadership and its emerging role as
>the government's propaganda machine.
>The only positive sign is that Peter Kendall has
>removed the bovine TB brief from Meurig Raymond
>and he is now dealing with it directly himself.
>I have already had a couple of discussions with
>Mr Kendall, but the situation is getting worse.
>While politicians have been allowed to dither we
>have seen TB spread to sheep, wild boar and
>deer. Yet to all intents and purposes Mr Kendall
>still appears to be dithering while the South
>West's livestock sector goes to the dogs.
>One man I have a lot of time for is badger expert Brian Hill.
>Unfortunately, we have gone down with TB
>ourselves but we have had him on the farm and he
>has shown us the logical, sensible way to tackle the problem.
>Meanwhile, the government continues to waste
>millions (on top of the compensation bills)
>trialling an untried vaccine using untested
>techniques and telling farmers where they can
>send stock from closed-down farms, instead of
>tackling the disease at its root and removing the infected badgers humanely.
>For all the hate mail, the vicious, snarling
>attacks by the badger-huggers and (sadly) the
>perception among some sections of the public is
>that all we farmers and countrymen really want
>are healthy badgers and healthy cattle.
>If there were any justice in this situation the
>pro-badger lobbyists should be taken to court for cruelty to animals.
>TB is a terrible disease and a terrible way for
>a badger to die. If you had a domestic animal or
>a farm animal suffering in a similar way, it
>would have to be put down humanely because it
>is a criminal offence to leave it.
>The problem is that as a result of legal
>protection there are now too many badgers in the
>countryside and certainly more than can be
>comfortably accommodated given their territorial nature.
>But we do not want to see the mass slaughter of
>badgers, as is about to happen in Pembrokeshire.
>There are farmers there who are very frightened
>because some areas have never had TB and have healthy badger populations.
>So why take out these and increase the risk of
>infected ones eventually moving in to take their place?
>I believe there is common ground between farmers
>and badger groups and I honestly believe that
>the next move is for us to talk to them and see if we can identify it.
>We may have to, as an alternative to swapping
>insults, because Hilary Benn's refusal to take
>an unpopular decision and to listen only to the
>'science' that he wants to hear has ensured that
>this has become a long-term problem which will require a long-term solution.
+44 (0)7786 952037
"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic
poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Diggers350