WMN opinion: Storm of emotions show badger cull issue needs addressing
"Shock, disbelief and horror, frustration, anger and desperation".
"Staggered... disgustingly irresponsible... shame on you."
Two examples of the emotive language used in the last two days in discussions around the postponement of the badger cull pilots.
The first set of words were those used by NFU president Peter Kendall describing, in the Western Morning News, the reaction of farmers who have been told their cattle are infected with TB, and their desperate need of a solution.
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The second are those of Queen guitarist Brian May, a leading campaigner against the cull, who was "tweeting" in response to comments made by WMN columnist Antony Gibson.
If ever there was evidence that an issue needed addressing – the Twitter storm that has broken out around Mr Gibson's column is it.
Emotions are running high and the recent postponement of the culls planned to start this autumn have left people on both sides of the argument frustrated.
Those against have seen both the Government and the NFU reaffirm their commitment to the cull, and argue again that the delay was necessary in order to make sure the pilots were carried out effectively and efficiently.
Meanwhile Westcountry farmers, already battered and bruised by the disease which has caused enormous heartache and the loss of valuable breeding stock, face another eight to ten months haunted by TB.
And that delay is just for the farmers in the pilot cull areas.
For those in other TB-affected areas, a solution could be even further away.
The decision to postpone was taken with the best interest of the farmers and badgers in mind.
But, however torrid the storms on Twitter, or on the letters pages of the Western Morning News, the Government must restore its credibility on this issue by sticking with the cull and ensuring it is brought forward as quickly and efficiently as possible next summer.
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Meanwhile some good news at last for struggling farmers who yesterday welcomed Waitrose's decision to increase the amount it pays for milk.
The supermarket chain is now paying farmers just over 32 pence per litre.
It is a significant step in the right direction for the small number of farmers who supply the supermarket, but on an industry-wide level there is plenty more scope for improvement.
Ian Johnson, regional spokesman for the NFU in the South West told us: "There are lots of farmers and any number of outlets they supply. We now need other leading processors to come knocking on the door."
We urge those processors to do so. Farmers cannot be expected to continue producing milk at a loss, and with prices of fuel high, and the appalling summer weather driving up the cost of feed, loss-making production is reality for many.