YP Comment: Badger cull extension row - Solution needed for bovine TB

NEWS that the badger cull is being extended across England to five new areas has provoked a storm of protest from animal rights campaigners.

The debate over badger culling continues to rage. (PA).

The RSPCA says the cull – part of the Government’s 25-year strategy to eradicate bovine tuberculosis - is unnecessary. The charity argues there are better ways of tackling the disease and that culling is both more expensive and more inhumane than the alternatives.

It has once again thrust this emotive and contentious issue back into the spotlight. According to Defra, England has the highest rate of bovine TB in Europe, which results in thousands of cattle being slaughtered every year.

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However, anti-cull campaigners insist the government’s “blanket-culling” approach is doing little to reduce the level of TB in cattle. Instead, they want the Government to invest in tighter controls and more vaccinations – both in cattle and badgers.

The fact of the matter is this issue has been dragging on for decades and yet both sides continue to squabble over the scientific evidence.

But let us not forget it is the livelihoods of our beleaguered farmers that are at risk here. There is still uncertainty over the long-term funding of the farming industry, despite assurances from the Chancellor Philip Hammond that EU money will be replaced by the Treasury after Brexit.

The bottom line is we must look after the interests of our farmers who have worked so tirelessly to safeguard the Great British countryside that we all cherish. This means dealing with the vexed question of badger culling.

The Prime Minister has made a point of saying that Yorkshire is top of her list of priorities, if this is the case she must now ensure that an effective plan of action is introduced to deal with this age-old problem once and for all.

It has been dragging on for far too long and there is too much at stake for it to be allowed to rumble on.

Careers choice - Time to end ‘postcode’ lottery

MUCH has rightly been made this week of the world class coaching afforded to our Olympic athletes who performed so superbly at the Rio Games. It is a shame that the same cannot be said of the careers advice being handed out to young people.

Research carried out by City and Guilds says that schoolchildren in Yorkshire are aware of less than a fifth of the jobs potentially available to them after they leave education. In Leeds, the figures are even worse with just one in seven youngsters aware of the type of jobs open to them.

The findings, released a day before pupils receive their GCSE results, highlight a worrying disparity across the country in the careers advice given to teenagers.

This “postcode lottery” has led to fears that not only are young people missing out on fulfilling careers but in some cases it is sending them on a path towards unemployment.

We face a situation now where popular careers such as medicine and computer programming are becoming oversubscribed, while jobs in property and marketing, despite being well-paid, are overlooked with the fear this will lead to a skills gap further down the road.

Just 14 per cent of young people are likely to find out about their future career from a careers adviser, which is why City and Guilds is right to call for a new national approach to careers guidance, including school drop-ins by employers and better information about which skills are in the greatest demand.

If the UK is to succeed on the global stage then future school leavers need to enter the workplace equipped with everything they need in order to have the best chance of success.

Heroes return - Yorkshire Olympians celebrate

HAVING exceeded all expectations following a pulsating fortnight in Rio, Britain’s record-breaking Olympics team arrived home yesterday to a fitting heroes’ welcome.

More than 300 athletes and support staff touched down at Heathrow in a specially chartered Boeing 747 complete with a gold nose cone and a “victoRIOus” livery, in homage to the team’s record 67 medal haul.

Leeds’s Nicola Adams, the first British boxer since 1924 to win successive golds, and double gold medal-winning gymnast Max Whitlock led the triumphant team off the plane amid jubilant scenes.

Our Olympians deserve all the praise and accolades that come their way for the herculean exploits that so enthralled the nation.

But the party is far from over. In a fortnight’s time we have the Paralympics when the likes of Halifax’s Hannah Cockroft will be going for gold once again. And if it’s half as good as the London Games we will be in for a treat.