Saturday, February 08, 2003
The cost of farm subsidies
posted by Jonathan Calder |
More than 150,000 miles of hedgerow have been lost in England alone since the introduction of subsidies. And they are still disappearing at the rate of 10,000 miles a year. Water meadows, moorlands, marshes and wetlands - all with their own particular flora and fauna - have been sacrificed to the obsessive drive for production.
When an important site is threatened, somewhere like the Lower Severn Valley or the Somerset Levels, government protection is usually provided. But there is no protection for the small local sites, the ones of little scientific value yet which are which are far more important to most of us: the local pond, the boggy patches in the field corners. Before the coming of subsidies they were hardly worth draining. Now, in the surreal world of the CAP, they have acquired a value.
And in the real world a generation of children are denied the chance ever to discover a water forget-me-not, a yellow wagtail or a dragonfly.
Graham Harvey The Killing of the Countryside (1997)