Guest post by Lawrie Phipps, Vice Chair, League Against Cruel Sports and avid birder:
- What’s in a name? Quite a lot actually. Sometimes an accidental naming through translation can have comedy results such as when advertising copy in Italy for UK-owned Schweppes Tonic Water encouraged Italians to mix their gin with “Schweppes Toilet Water.”
Language is also playing a part in the politics and decimation of British Wildlife. Aside from the scientific evidence that already demonstrates that a cull is pointless, cruel and will fail, DEFRA seem to be using language as a marketing tool. Informing the British public that Badgers will be culled by Marksmen. A term that many of the public will associate with a clean shot at long distance, with the subject being killed outright.
In the UK British Army to qualify for Marksman a soldier must achieve a score of 85% or more of the total Highest Possible Score for the entire shoot. Soldiers achieving a non-marksman passing score are NOT permitted to re-shoot practices in order to qualify for Marksman. Soldiers who qualify as Marksmen are entitled to wear the Marksman badge for one year before they must requalify.
The Government have not licensed Marksmen, that is just a name that they have given to the contractors. These are not men that have gone through the rigours of marksman training, they are just men with guns, gunmen.
Obviously DEFRA thought long and hard with the name, and news corporations have brought into the rhetoric. The reality of the cull is that gunmen will be going out into the countryside at night, with guns and taking pot-shots at a small dark mammal that grubs around in the undergrowth. DEFRA claim that it will be humane, efficient and clean. We know that to be a lie waiting to be shown through the suffering of British Badgers.
The Cull, is unnecessary, Badgers will suffer, if you care at all please lobby your MP for the vote on 5th June, details here. And whilst we’re at it perhaps we could ask the BBC to use the correct term, gunman, not marksman.