I received an email today from a member of his staff, confirming that he is to meet with Lord De Mauley, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Natural Environment and Science, next week to discuss the issue.
Mr Paterson has not yet replied to Mr Swire about my initial concerns about capturing the animals. I am informed that a reply is expected imminently however.
A letter from Lord De Mauley to the Angling Trust – link below – reveals that the Scottish beaver trial will finish next year and Scottish ministers have already decided to introduce the beaver there…. so why is our government so massively overreacting to a tiny (so as to be virtually theoretical) risk of a tapeworm?
Certainly, the Angling Trust have been lobbying Mr Paterson hard on the reintroduction of beavers. However, it seems that many local fisherman are actually happy to leave the creatures alone.
Beavers are strict vegetarians and contrary to popular belief they do not eat fish.
They have been extinct in this country for about five hundred years, thanks to man’s obsession with their luxurious fur.
They can help with purifying water and offset flood risks.
And they are a native species!
Evidence suggests that previously wild beavers tend to die in zoos.
I cannot see any logic whatsoever for removing them like this.
The most obvious way forward is to monitor them carefully and see what impact (if any) they have over a number of years. Why can’t our ministers be as sensible as the Scottish ministers?
Link to the letter from Lord De Mauley is here, as well as the Angling Trust’s reaction to plans to remove the animals – http://www.anglingtrust.net/news.asp?itemid=2189&itemTitle=Angling+Trust+Welcomes+Action+to+Remove+Beavers+from+Devon+River§ion=29§ionTitle=Angling+Trust+News
The story has gone viral very quickly, after it was broken by the Western Morning News on Monday. So far I have seen most, if not all, the national newspapers cover it, as well as the Ecologist, the New Statesman and other specialist publications.
BBC Spotlight ran a story last night and I have been inundated with messages from people all over the country who have pledged their support for the animals remaining on the river.
All bar one or two the local people I have spoken to are in favour of them staying put.
Let’s hope Defra sees sense.