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Essay Ideas 21 to 25

21. Strong Opinions

A badger group managed a public relations event at a very prestigious farming event in the North of England. At that event they happened to upset many farmers, because they very strongly criticised the use of highly-intensive farming methods (like battery farms, etc). Some months later the badger group are holding their own fund raising event, which is shouted down by farmers saying "Kill badgers before they give your children tuberculosis". There has never been a single proven case of a badger giving tuberculosis to a human, and the farmers know that.

  • What motivates the badger group and the farmers to take such strong views?
  • Is there any morality in trying to shout down an opponent, even if they are wrong?
  • Is it "free speech", if your intention is to do no more than shout-down an opponent or to damage their event?
  • Is there ever any justification to lie to a journalist, in order to get your point across or to damage your opponents views?

22. Compensation or not?

If a window of a state school gets broken, the school has to pay for it to be repaired out of its own funds. However, if the school is burned down, it is rebuilt using government funds. As the school would be covered by an insurance policy, the government will then be able to reclaim most of the rebuilding costs from an insurance company.

In contrast, an independent school would always have to pay for its own repair bills; and the government would never provide any compensation if the building burnt down.

The average cost of damage caused by badgers in the UK is about 12 per farm per year.On rare occasions badgers may cause more substantial damage. That said, most farmers are run as independent businesses. Some people say that independent businesses (such as farmers) should get no state financial aid at all.

  • Compare the treatment of compensation for financial losses for state schools, private schools and for farmers.
  • In what circumstances should farmers be able to recover the cost of badger-related damage from the government?
  • Should the government ever pay subsidies to independent businesses.

23. Chemical deterrents

A golf course keeps getting their lawns dug up by badgers looking for food. There have also been several complaints that the greens have also been damaged by deposits of dog-dirt too.

To keep the badgers and the dogs off the greens, the golf course spray around the edge of the green with a legal chemical called Renardine. This smells so bad, that badgers and dogs can't stand to be within about 6 feet of it, so they stay off the greens. Discuss whether the golf course has rightly balanced the needs of the badgers and their golfers.

  • Would they be right to treat the fairways with Renardine too?
  • What if the badgers used the fairways to gather food?
  • Should golf-courses be managed as wildlife-free areas or as green spaces?
  • What if the chemical deterrent effectively stopped people coming on to the golf course with Guide Dogs for the Blind or Hearing Dogs for the Deaf?

24. Conflict of Interest?

A badger group (who are a registered charity) provide free advice to people who are interested in badgers. They also provide a fixed fee service (which costs a one-off 25) to advise on planning applications and cases of subsidence. One of their members is a badger consultant who charges 25 per hour for advice work; and a minimum of 1000 for advising on a planning application by a property developer.

  • Discuss the pros and cons of the badger consultant being on the management committee of the badger group.
  • Should there be any rules about how he deals with enquiries?
  • Should he be on the committee at all?

25. Problems with natural predators?

On a remote Scottish island, there is a serious problem as ground-nesting birds are being made extinct by the hedgehogs which eat their eggs. The hedgehogs are not natural to the island, but were brought over by several residents as garden "pets". Knowing that badgers kill hedgehogs, some people have suggested that a few badgers should be shipped over so that can kill the hedgehogs by a natural means.

  • What are the pros and cons of using badgers in this way; and what other information might you need?
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