National Trust AGM outcomes 2013

National Trust members today (Saturday 26 October) voted against a members’ resolution to introduce an immediate and widespread badger vaccination programme on the charity’s land.

The resolution was suggested by a group of members to help tackle bovine TB and prevent National Trust land being involved in a cull of badgers if one is rolled out by the Government next year.

The charity’s Trustees stressed that their recommendation against the resolution did not mean that the Trust is in favour of culling badgers, and they will take on board the views expressed by many members as part of the AGM debate.

The Trust advocates an evidence based approach to tackling bovine TB which covers an integrated package of measures, including those to improve biosecurity and prevent cattle-to-cattle transmission.

“This is an emotive issue on all sides of the debate,” said Patrick Begg from the National Trust.

“We are in favour of doing what works to solve the problem that is affecting so many of our tenants and farmers across the country.

“Vaccination is our long term preference, both of badgers and cattle, but our badger vaccination trial at Killerton in Devon is only half way through.  It may prove costly and hard to administer in practice.

“We have deep concerns about how useful the Government’s pilot badger culls will now prove, and have sought assurances from them that they remain committed to upholding high standards of scientific rigour in the conduct and analysis of the pilots.  Changes to the original design has shaken our confidence.

“We will judge the outcomes of the pilots, and the Government’s subsequent approach, against the criteria for success set out by Professor Bourne in his review of the Randomised Badger Culling Trial.”

The results of the member votes were:

  • Badger vaccination: 7,808 for the resolution, 8,694 against.
  • Fairtrade tea: 7,337 for the resolution, 9,036 against.

The following members were also elected to the Trust’s Council:

  • John Godfrey, 10,708
  • Rosie Corner, 9,735
  • Irving Lord, 8,175
  • Cristina George, 9,918
  • Geoffrey Nickolds, 7,397
  • John Lyon, 7,548
  • Dylan Williams, 8,406
  • Roseanne Williams, 7,875
  • Caroline Goodall, 9,781
  • Rupert Thorp, 7,524

Notes

[1] More information on the members’ resolutions, including the full resolution and the trustee response, is available here: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/agm

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30 thoughts on “National Trust AGM outcomes 2013

  1. It appears that the Board used proxy votes to overturn the Members decision to OPPOSE the culling of Badgers on NT land My question : WILL THE NT ALLOW THE CULLING OF BADGERS ON IT’S LAND? I would like a proper RESPONSE to this question,I am very close to resigning our long term membership (publically and with press attention), if you cannot confirm that you will not allow the culling of Badgers on NT land

    • Dear Jill
      Members can instruct the chairman how to vote or leave him to vote on their behalf. His view is made clear in the members’ magazine and on-line; and he voted as per the Board’s recommendation.

      The charity’s Trustees stressed that their recommendation against the resolution did not mean that the Trust is in favour of culling badgers. The Trust advocates an evidence based approach to tackling bovine TB which covers an integrated package of measures, including those to improve biosecurity and prevent cattle-to-cattle transmission.

      Vaccination is our long term preference, both of badgers and cattle, but our badger vaccination trial at Killerton in Devon is only half way through. It may prove costly and hard to administer in practice.

      • In other words National Trust are sitting on the fence! I really don’t think that members understood the proxy vote rules, I was speaking to one lady who said she had always trusted the Trust with her vote but now they have Pro Hunt members with alarming ideas totally opposite to the usual National Trust way of thinking she feels really uneasy.

  2. Can you guarantee that my proxy votes were cast the way I wished today? Are you totally sure of these figures?
    ■Badger vaccination: 7,808 for the resolution, 8,694 against.

    • Hi Catherine
      The vote of our members wasn’t over-ruled. A significant number of members asked for the Chairman to vote on their behalf. His view is made clear in the members’ magazine and on-line, therefore he voted as per the Board’s recommendation.

      • Your Chairman seems to hold the opposite view to the majority of your members. I suggest you need a new Chairman. A more expected/fairer use of those proxy votes would have been to cast them in the same proportion as the members votes had been cast.

      • Yes National Trust but members were used to being able to trust the organisation, members were not informed in biographies that the Chairman had Pro Hunt interests! In an organisation like this there has to be true transparency, I really do feel his hunting interests were not disclosed for a reason……very worrying!

  3. As the members voted for the vaccination of badgers which was subsequently overruled by dubious proxy voting, I can no longer support the NT and will not be renewing our membership.

    • Hi Alan
      Members can instruct the chairman how to vote or leave him to vote on their behalf. His view is made clear in the members’ magazine and on-line. Therefore he voted as per the Board of Trustee’s recommendation outlined in the magazine.

  4. Is the National Trust a supporter of blood sports, including but not limited to the hunting of wildlife with dogs, either as a pack or singly such as the use of a terrier to physically hold on to a badger to allow it to be shot? The reason I ask is that in the agm discussion on badger vaccination two proponents of blood sport both spoke for far longer than anyone else against the motion. They were Edmund Marriage, founder of British Wildlife Management a blood sport group, and Dr Lewis Thomas, secretary to Veterinary Association for Wildlife Management, another blood sport interest group. I did think the NT was there to protect our wildlife on its sites but looks like I was sadly mistaken. The NT is gradually being taken over by the sort of person that thinks wildlife exists only to provide sport.

    • Hi Alison
      The National Trust is very much aware of the importance of countryside traditions. We allow field sports to take place on our properties where traditionally practised, providing they are within the law and compatible with the Trust’s purposes, which include public access and the protection of rare animals and birds and fragile habitats.

      • How wonderful that you call the murder of innocent animals “field sport”, it was once traditional to put people in stocks, to burn witches, to take people as slaves, I’m sorry but times change, it is no longer acceptable to allow these “blood sports” just for the enjoyment of the landed gentry

      • Just because something has been done in the past does not make it right to do it today. I believe we did abolish things like slavery which was enjoyed by many in the past. I believe that another ‘countryside tradition’ of hunting foxes and deer with dogs was also outlawed. Hiding behind so called countryside tradition just shows the trust up to be a blood thirsty slur on decency. It becomes obvious that the National Trust is not here to preserve properties and open spaces for the ordinary folk but just as a sop to the landed gentry who are stuck in the past. Shame on you.

      • Blood sports the true description of so called Field Sports. Not all traditions are good and at long last, as a result of this dreadful cull fiasco, the public are waking up and being informed about the horrors of the Blood Brigade and their wanton destruction of both our wildlife and habitat in their pursuit of wealth and pleasure. The sooner an organisation such as the National Trust, which to date has been a respectable organisation, speaks out, the sooner these vile pastimes can be cast into the history books. The people who partake in blood sports; and I include the royals in this, are dinosaurs. They are living in a dim and distant past where the landed gentry looked down on all the enslaved peasants. The world has moved on and these people need to be informed that their bizarre passion for killing countless factory farmed birds and other animals is no longer acceptable.

  5. what a crock of shit, the NT is suppost to protect our wild life & beautiful lands, if you allow culling on your lands you are no better than the murdering scum that is already out there

  6. The vote regarding badger vaccination is quite close , especially considering the Trust’s recommendation to vote against it.
    I hope you will interpret this as strong support to continue your “preference” for vaccination.

  7. Due to your wishy-washy stance on the issue of vaccinating our badgers and the sly way you have gone against your voters’ wishes then I have cancelled my joint membership.

    • Dear Joanne
      Members can instruct the chairman how to vote or leave him to vote on their behalf. His view is made clear in the members’ magazine and on-line and he voted in accordanced with the recommendation from the board.

  8. Culling is a very ineffective way to deal with bTB. Even if you are prepared to disregard all the independent experts and just look at what DEFRA say.
    DEFRA want to kill over 100,000 badgers (by their own admission inhumanely).
    DEFRA estimate that only 15% of the badgers will be carriers of bTB. This means that 85% of those killed are perfectly healthy.
    DEFRA are not testing any of the dead badgers to see if they have bTB. Probably because they will be very embarrassed if even less than 15% have it.
    DEFRA say they are hoping that killing all these badgers will reduce bTB by 12-16%
    It will not eradicate it. In fact even if you killed every badger in the UK it would not get rid of bTB. No badgers live on the Isle of Man but they have bTB.
    So even if you disregard the Independent Scientists and believe only DEFRA – it is too high a price for far too small a result.
    Vaccination is cheaper (no policing costs) and it is a long term 21st century solution.
    If the NT are prepared to allow the fiasco that is culling on their land then they care more about supporting the Conservatives than they do about Conservation.
    The NT should be about the members at its core who stick with them year on year – not about a few rich & powerful people who they pander to.
    My membership expires in June.

    • Dear Denise
      We are funding a pilot programme to test the practicality of vaccinating badgers at our Killerton Estate in Devon. Vaccination of wildlife or cattle – if we can make it viable and effective – would be a game-changer and this is our preferred method. Indeed, we are half way through badger vaccination trials on our Killerton estate in Devon.

      • We’ll let me tell you it will be far more cost effective than culling Badgers, the cost of this cull so far is more than £2500 PER Badger killed, your members will fall as well National Trust. People run this country not Defra and this stupid government. They are only a small minority and the people are getting fed up!

      • Hi Diane
        Our position on badgers can be found if you follow our link below. As you are aware we are involved with a pilot vaccination of badgers at the Killerton Estate in Devon. Our preferred approach is for a portfolio of measures to be used, including vaccination, better testing and surveillance of cattle and looking at whether increasing ‘biosecurity’ measures to keep badgers and cattle apart can help.

        http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/article-1356398760842/

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