The NFU and the animals (and plants)

Appropriately enough it was The Animals whose refrain, ‘I’m just a soul whose intentions are good, Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood‘ has been taken up by NFU President Peter Kendall.

Last week he said ‘Government should switch its focus from bio-diversity and concentrate on farm productivity‘ and ‘The point is we haven’t got a bio-diversity crisis in this country’ in a speech to the Agricultural Industries Confederation.

This week he said ‘There has been some deliberate misunderstanding of our position on this in recent days. When we say, as we do, that agricultural productivity must be stepped up, that does not mean that we want it stepped up at the expense of the environment.

“And when we say, as we have done, that there is no biodiversity crisis in this country, thanks to the progress which has been made with reducing fertiliser and pesticide use, improving water quality, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the success of Environmental Stewardship, it does not mean that biodiversity is not important to us, or that we are in any way complacent or that we are anything less than 100 per cent committed to the Campaign for the Farmed Environment.

“But the fact has to be faced that if, in 40 years’ time, biodiversity in Britain is no worse than it is now, that will be a fair achievement.‘.

The fact is that the NFU President got the mood wrong and went too far in public last week and was surprised by the backlash that he received.  And this blog led the way on that.

The NFU is terribly weak on the environment and knows that it is on weak ground too.  Its website contains little environmental information but does have a handy factsheet for farmers entitled, rather objectively, Positive Facts about Farming.  It’s a pretty thin and highly selective document.

The NFU will push food production as hard as it can all the time and play down the problems with greenhouse gas emissions, water quality and biodiversity loss.

I see FWAG is appealing to the farming industry for funding to maintain its central capacity. I wonder what the ‘voice of farming’ has to say on that subject.

And yes, Peter, I’m sure you do ‘feel a little mad‘ sometimes, and you do ‘seem to be bad‘, and when it comes to biodiversity you do ‘seem edgy‘ but you haven’t persuaded me that you’ll be ‘long regretting some foolish thing, some little simple thing‘ you’ve done. Just sometimes remember The Animals (and plants).

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6 Replies to “The NFU and the animals (and plants)”

  1. I could be wrong but is this not a photo of an asian short clawed otter?

      1. DavidH - i did point out to the NFU that they may have the wrong species of otter on their website (thanks to you and others for pointing it out - I hadn't noticed)

  2. Certainly looks like an Oriental Short-clawed Otter to me too. I guess the NFU was always unlikely to use a photo of a Corn Bunting... both suffering dreadfully in the hands of the 'custodians of biodiversity' *and* far less photogenic than a cute, non-native diurnal mammal...

  3. Priceless. And classic NFU avoidance. Hide the problem, pretend it never happened. Sometimes it happens with small, inconsequential things, like using a stock image of an 'otter' because you're ignorant about wildlife, and frankly couldn't care as long as you pay lip-service to those strident townies who think that the countryside is all bucolic, just like 'Springwatch'. And sometimes it happens with great big howling important things, like taking decades of public subsidy to produce food at the detriment of the environment in which you work, but that's okay as long as you pay lip-service to those strident townies who think the countryside is all bucolic, just like 'Springwatch'.

    News flash for Mr Kendall and his employees and members. The public are on to you. We know how much money (our money!) you have taken down the years. You plead poverty, but really, the only thing you have in common with those genuinely poor folk in society is that you too receive State benefits - the difference is yours are SO much bigger than those in genuine economic dire straits.

    We're not all ignorant townies. Many of us are from farming backgrounds, just like you. Many of us went to agricultural colleges, just like you. And we know you're being disingenuous and mendacious, playing on public fears to drive your agenda for a new CAP that intensifies agriculture once more. A return to the 'good old days' when you could do what the hell you liked. It's not going to happen, you know.


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