‘Row as BBC chooses badger photo for Countryfile calendar’

Posted on October 9, 2012

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Today (9th October), an item was posted on telegraph.co.uk titled ‘Row as BBC chooses badger photo for Countryfile calendar’.

‘… Farmers have accused the BBC of allowing animal rights activists to hijack a competition after a picture of a badger was chosen for the front cover of the corporation’s Countryfile calendar –

With the cull in West Somerset and West Gloucestershire only weeks away, the Corporation has found itself facing questions about its impartiality in a debate which has triggered strong feelings on both sides.

The photograph of the badger taken by Dave Foker, a viewer, made the shortlist of 12 in a competition to choose pictures for the 2013 calendar to represent a programme with a regular audience of more than five million viewers.

Viewers, who were asked to choose which of the shots should be used for the calendar cover.

While they chose the badger, the judges – including the presenter John Craven – preferred a picture of a rainbow.

One farmer, David Minish, turned to twitter to voice his distaste at the choice. “The cover of your new calendar is unfortunately themed. As cute as badgers may be to your viewers TB is destroying lives.” …

Adam Quinney, the vice president of the National Farmers Union, was also surprised. “It did raise an eyebrow that they had chosen it, though it is a good picture.

“Of course we are not anti badger, we are anti TB.”

However the choice was hailed by those opposing the cull which could eventually see as many as 100,000 animals killed as part of a drive to prevent bovine TB spreading to cattle herds.

“I’m sure the BBC were aware of the political implications of the photograph of the badger,” said Jeff Hayden, finance director at the Badger Trust.

“We certainly enjoyed the irony of it and we’re delighted that the photograph is on the cover.”

He added: “My guess is that the BBC had nothing to do with it. It was chosen by the viewers, not the BBC.”

Countryfile’s website says Mr Foker teaches photography at a college near his home in Woking, Surrey, and took the picture of the badger in Caerlaverock, Dumfries.

Programme-makers say the calendar costs £9 with at least £4 from each sale going to the BBC Children In Need appeal.

A spokesman for Countryfile said: “The Countryfile Calendar competition showcases amateur photography of the British countryside, of which wildlife is an obvious part.

“All of the images on the shortlist were selected on photographic merit and the winner was chosen by viewers of the programme.” …’

Read the item in full at www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9525945/Row-as-BBC-chooses-badger-photo-for-Countryfile-calendar.html

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