Saving Rochford’s badgers

In amongst the emails I have received today is this:

The following response has been made to the ePetition titled “Save Rochford District’s Badgers from Culling” that you signed:

Thank you for contacting the Council in respect of this matter. Rochford District Council is committed to safeguarding animal welfare and has published a policy, our Animal Welfare Charter, that identifies the basic freedoms that we believe animals are entitled to enjoy and the steps we will take to facilitate this. It states that the Council supports the view that all animals have a right to life free from cruel treatment and unnecessary suffering. It recognises that animals are capable of feeling, capable of enjoying a state of well being and equally capable of suffering and therefore considers animals have the right to enjoy five basic freedoms: • Freedom from fear and distress. • Freedom from hunger and thirst. • Freedom from pain, disease and injury. • Freedom from unnecessary constraint. • Freedom from physical discomfort. This policy was last reviewed on10 March 2014. This Council has no intention of instigating a cull of badgers on our own land and you may be aware that the government has recent stated that it will not expand badger culling to other areas this year to reduce TB in cattle. Defra’s own independent assessment shows that culls in two pilot areas were not effective, and raised questions about their humaneness. A vaccination project is now under way by the Essex Badger Group, with initial surveys of badger setts on Essex Wildlife Trust reserves being carried out by members of the Essex Badger Groups. These surveys will inform our list of priority sites for vaccination, to start in the late summer; our initial target in the first year is to vaccinate 100 badgers before reviewing progress. This operation is expected to last five years, although an oral vaccine is currently being developed that can be scattered near setts. It is understood that as soon as this is available they will stop cage trapping and switch to this much less invasive method. It is considered that the point raised by this petition is addressed in the Council’s Animal Welfare Charter.

The petition can be viewed here.

In amongst the signatories are several names that readers of this blog will be familiar with, three of which are Southend-on-Sea Borough Councillors. It is appropriate that I give an honourable mention to Cllr Anne Chalk, who drew my attention to the petition.

Fitness and foxes

I sit on the board of Active Southend, being appointed after my election as councillor last year. This is chaired by Cllr Derek Jarvis and brings together various sports, fitness and health groups. I am on this body as a councillor, but do have a sporting interest as I have been involved in local football for almost twenty-nine years. Although now retired as a referee I still sit on the executive of the Southend Borough and District Football Combination.

At yesterday’s meeting I sat next to someone from Active Life and had a brief chat about that organisation before the meeting formally commenced. A number of topics were covered and when the discussion on obesity unfolded I confess to feeling somewhat sheepish. My lack of exercise and fondness for food has left me overweight, bordering on obese, and I have been making resolutions for many years to do something about it. Crisis is an overused word, but it is appropriate when considering the weight of the collective British. Many of us are fat, and we are getting fatter. Active Southend hopes to play a role in reversing this disturbing trend.

In the evening I caught the train to Westminster to attend a Fox in Parliament meeting. Here I met the ‘other’ Angela Smith. Prior to the 2010 General Electi0on there were two Angela Smiths in the House of Commons. The former MP (and now Baroness) for South Basildon and East Thurrock is well known to me; meeting the MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge was a first. Discussion covered the impending badger cull, as well as the likely vote to repeal the hunting ban next year.

The badger cull is a tragedy, best explained by Team Badger. The repeal of the hunting ban is a step towards barbarism. This government is not animal friendly.

Pick it up!

I would hope that all dog owners would also love their neighbours and their community as well. Alas, some are somewhat neglectful – allowing their beloved pets to foul the pavements.

Good dogs owners clear up after their doggies have done their business. It is unsightly and unhealthy to not do so.

I am getting quite a number of complaints about dog’s mess. It is no exaggeration to describe this as a most vexatious issue for many Milton residents.

Dog ownership comes with a number of responsibilities. Looking after their health with good food and regular exercise comes with a by-product. Food in must inevitably result in excrement out. Owners must pick up after their pets, and dispose of responsibly. This does not mean throwing the bag of excrement into someone’s garden or onto railway embankments, etc. This means putting in dog bins or a dustbin.

When dog owners do not behave as society expects then all of us bear the cost. Council tax bills include an element of clear-up costs. Dog owners who want to see ever rising bills will doubtless feel vindicated in allowing doggie to do his do-do on our pavements; those who wish for lower bills may take this as an incentive to be more civic minded. Whatever, it is against the law, and I am encouraging our police to prosecute the irresponsible, the stupid, and the lazy.

Please be a good neighbour – pick up after your dog.

I am two ahead of Sir Paul McCartney

The European Union was due to be free of all new animal tested cosmetics by 2013. However officials are now considering exceptions for certain types of animal tests. This would mean that animal tested cosmetics could still be imported and sold in the EU. That’s despite massive public opposition to animal tested cosmetics and an existing ban on animal testing for cosmetics inside the EU. Join me in saying NO to cruel cosmetics in Europe.

Say NO to cruel cosmetics in Europe by signing the petition here.

I am signatory number 125,400. Sir Paul McCartney is signatory 125,402 – I guess he saw me signing there.

For those whose wish to buy cruelty free the Go Cruelty Free website is a useful resource.

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