Farmers attack RSPCA
Perhaps there is some kindly soul out there who will assure me that the RSPCA really hasn't lost the plot with its latest attempt to scupper the badger culls.
Because from where I'm standing it clearly has.
The RSPCA, one of the country's top five charities, has now informed farmers who have signed up to its Freedom Foods initiative that they will be stripped of their elevated status – and therefore the financial benefits that come with it – if they consent to or even support culling on their land.
No wonder the NFU's legal department is now studying the text of the announcement with the aid of a large magnifying glass.
The point is that there is a whole segment of the buying public that basks in almost total ignorance about farming and assumes that only meat bearing the Freedom Foods decal comes from welfare-friendly farms – a delusion which ignores the fact that unless you look after your animals they won't look after you in the market ring.
Freedom Foods is the only farm assurance scheme based solely on welfare of livestock. As far as I know there is nothing in its finely-detailed code of practice which mentions badgers.
But the RSPCA has now arbitrarily chosen to scribble an addendum which says that even though a farmer complies with all the requirements of the scheme, even if he goes the extra mile, he won't quality for the label if he takes the only remedy open to him to prevent his stock contracting and dying painfully from the effects of a pernicious and highly infectious disease.
There is a measure of desperation about the RSPCA's ploy. It is mean-spirited, vicious and illogical – the hallmark of many of the tactics being deployed by opponents of badger culling. It has certainly demeaned the RSPCA in my eyes and those of most farmers.
It has relegated the charity from a position in which it was seen as pursuing a noble cause, to the ranks of the twisted-logic extremists, the militant vegans, the animal-rights activists who prosecute their misguided aims by bombing research scientists.
It's now down there with the rest of the fanatical extremists in the verminous gutter of the animal-welfare movement.
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