Letters, Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Have your say

Culling badgers is not the answer

I WISH to make some comments about Ken Spencer’s letter published on July 28, as chairman of Durham County Badger Group (covering the area south of the Tyne to the Tees area and Cumbrian border).

I sympathise with the problem of the damage to the graves of Mr Spencer’s grandparents and I would be interested to know where the cemetery is to see if we can offer any alternative advice. I would ask Mr Spencer to get in touch with me on 0191 584 2293 or email via our website www.durhamcountybadgers.co.uk

Badgers usually come into conflict with humans as a result of their territories being disturbed – for example, where housing or industrial development have covered the foraging areas that may have been used for centuries.

Regarding Mr Spencer’s implied suggesting that a badger would attack a human – the only people I know who have been bitten by a badger have been handling an injured animal.

TB in humans in Mr Spencer’s childhood was contracted by consuming unpasturised milk, or diseased meat or possibly by coming into close contact with a person with the disease. Bovine TB is a cattle disease which has populated the wider environment.

The North East is classed as being free of bovine TB and it has never been found in our badger population. Bovine TB will only enter the North East by bringing in diseased cattle.

A cull of badgers in other parts of the country will not finalise the matter as Mr Spencer suggests. Incidents of bovineTB increased when the farming industry restocked after the foot and mouth outbreak when the normal movement management rules were chucked out of the window.

Where there has been no killing of badgers, the number of incidents is decreasing.

Persecution of badgers is rife in the North of England and over the years I have been close to tears when I find or attend incidents where these beautiful ancient animals with their sophisticated lives and territories have been dug out of their sett and torn apart, abused and killed by so-called human beings, using ironmongery and their dogs.

Personally, I cannot separate the problems associated with BSE(CJD), foot and mouth, blue tongue, mastitis – the list goes on, from bovine TB. The problem lies with the farming/food industry first and foremost.

Lesley McNaughton, Chairman, Durham County Badger Group

Thanks to Galleries

MANY people living in Sunderland and Washington might not be aware how pillars and other parts of buildings can just merge together if all the same or a very similar colour for sight-impaired people like myself.

Visiting The Galleries shopping centre in Washington, I used to find it very difficult to navigate, so when I heard a while ago it was to be developed I let them know how the tonal contrasts of the pillars there was an issue that needed to be improved.

I am so delighted that my request has come to fruition, with the management and those responsible for the development having listened and made these changes. I wanted to pass on my thanks that on this occasion the calls of disabled people not for special treatment, but simple adjustments to help us live independently, have been listened to.

The pillars will be much more visibly accessible to those with some residual sight. I would like to express my gratitude to those who made it possible for myself and other sight-impaired people to access the shopping mall more safely.

Mary Hewison, RNIB key campaigner

Workplace ageism

RE “The cleaner treated like dirt” (Echo, August 3), I am afraid that Mrs Morrison is quite correct in her assumption – no law passed will take away ageism.

Despite being a sales person for over 30 years, made redundant at 53, now 55, having applied for 770-plus jobs, despite having the exact qualifications and experience for some of those applications, I have been turned down.

Omitting my year of education and qualifications from my CV, as advised by agencies and job centres, you can see the uninterested look from interviewers in a room full of 20+ age group applicants, when it’s my turn. With other jobs I have been told that my interview was impressive and I would certainly be called for a second interview, only to receive a letter two days later saying “you have been unsuccessful”.

So all I can say to this hard-working, conscientious lady is that she has been lucky to work to work till 70 years old. Still only 55, with no such thing now as a retirement age (I am sure I speak for many others) I have little or no chance of employment.

Tony Isles

Charity night

WE would like to thank everyone through your Letters Page who attended our recent charity night in the Blue Bell.

We are pleased to say we raised £274 for the Alzheimer’s Society who do a good job looking after our nana, Lily Gilston.

Everyone was very generous and it was a very good night. Also, we would like to say a special thanks to our Uncle Colin.

Nicola and Kelly Taylor, Gladstone Street, Sunderland

Plenty of time

I READ with interest your article about the vast number of missed appointments at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Can you wonder this happens? I have an appointment for March 4, 2016. Yes, 2016 – five years’ time.

Can you believe that?

Liz Gardiner