I can accept that the countryside consists of mainly farmland, but I cannot accept the view that the countryside consists of nothing but the farming industry. In fact it’s probably reasonable to say that modern farming is destroying the countryside. Pesticides and chemical fertilizers are responsible for causing immense damage to the countryside, converting it from it’s natural state to a baron and sterile landscape where the only thing living is the thing the farmers put there. Even the good-guy organic farms are hard to maintain as “Mr Countryside” next door is indiscriminately spraying chemicals all over the place.
Once all the natural undergrowth has been killed off, it’s time to start on the wildlife. For decades now there have been badger culls in the South West of England aimed at deciding if badgers transmit bovine TB. Badgers are captured in traps and then shot the next day by the nice man from DEFRA. This alone doesn’t kill enough badgers for the farmers liking, so industrial measures are taken, such as pumping poisonous gas into the badger sets so they can be killed off in larger numbers. To my utter disbelief I’m now hearing discussions on the news that they may attempt to eradicate badgers.
It seems we have reached a point where nature is perceived as an inconvenience. The countryside is no longer a complex self-sustaining ecosystem, it’s a factory floor that must be customised to maximise productivity at all costs. It’s also jealously guarded and trespassers will be shot, gassed or poisoned. The time is coming when I’ll have to drive from the countryside to a city in order to see wildlife, in a zoo.
The biggest irony of all is that the group largely responsible for destroying the countryside and its natural inhabitants is called “The Countryside Alliance”.
From The Countryside Alliance website:
The Alliance campaigns on a wide range of rural issues under the headings:
food, environment and rural affairs
So the self-proclaimed defenders of the countryside are in fact concerned with killing wildlife and the conversion of countryside for the production of food. I dispair sometimes.