In many ways holidays this year have been such a disappointment for so many people. We never had any intention of going abroad, which was just as well under the circumstances. In early March we were worried that the May break we’d booked in rural Shropshire, a holiday let on the banks of the Severn, would be cancelled due to the devastating floods in the area. Luckily the lodge was on higher ground and escaped undamaged.
Then Covid-19 arrived, and lockdown happened, and it had to be cancelled anyway. Happily were able to re-schedule our booking for the beginning of October. Surely things would be OK by then.
We make a point of avoiding taking holidays in areas where badger culling happens. However, there is so much secrecy regarding which areas have signed up and are licensed to kill that the only way to make sure you avoid a property that may be in the killing zone, or let by landowners who support the cull, is to avoid a county completely. Imagine relaxing in your peaceful rural retreat, then hearing gunshots throughout the night.
Since the culling started in 2013 we’ve had to avoid some of our favourite places. We’ve never stayed in Shropshire before; we thought it was safe. We’d read that, as in Derbyshire, Shropshire vaccinates badgers, and that the Government was going to phase out culling anyway. Not true; despite the spin the Government is not going to phase out the inhumane and pointless killing anytime soon, in fact the cull is to be extended.
A recently leaked document lists Shropshire as one of this year’s new cull zones where the licensed slaughter of a minimum of 4187 and a maximum of 5676 badgers will be authorised from the 14 September. We hadn’t realised either that the Staffordshire culls have also been covering the fringes of Shropshire, or we would not have booked this holiday in the first place. Our choices are getting smaller every year. The cull is getting closer to home, with Derbyshire signed up now. Most of our favourite holiday destinations have become, for us, no-go areas because of the cull. We thought badgers were safe in Shropshire; sadly we were wrong. We no longer want to come.
The government’s culling policy flies in the face of scientific evidence. Experts have said that if every badger in the country was wiped out, we’d still have bovine TB, because it’s in the herd. You can’t help but wonder if there’s actually a hidden agenda behind such unprecedented slaughter of a protected species.
Maura and Alan Whitehead, Holmfirth
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