The ideal time period for shooting things has been severely reduced this year, squeezed between the Olympics and poor weather. Nobody likes to slaughter in a steady drizzle, so it's being put off until next year. 2013 is expected to be a perfect year for firing off a few rounds into defenceless beasts.
Farmers had been issued with licences to kill badgers last month but Natural England has taken too long to approve the plans and the window passed. Naturally, Natural England does not move at a city-type speed. It doesn't have an urgent inbox. It has two streams of application: amble and saunter. No one's really sure which is faster.
The government considers the cull necessary to control the incidence of bovine TB in cattle, which is rife in England and Wales. However, shooting a certain number of them isn't going to stop TB, as the survivors will still be able to infect cattle. It will, however, be lots of fun for people who like shooting things.
Opponents of the badger cull, such as Queen guitarist Brian May, suggest vaccinating the cows against TB instead and buying the farmers a games console and Call Of Duty 3.
There are plenty of things to shoot in the country though, and not just burglars. Pheasants are so dim-witted they practically beg to be shot, running around on the road promising a lovely roast dinner. Pheasant shooting is so easy it can only be considered a sport by people who are rubbish at games.
City folk see badgers as cute, stripy-headed cuddly things whereas farmers see them as diseased vermin. Mind you, farmers see city folk in much the same way.
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