Monday, 23 July 2012

Ragwort Awareness Week British Horse Society's silly poor survey

Ragwort Awareness Week is the annual burst of hysteria we get from the British Horse Society.
This year they are running their silly survey again. This is the  "Yellow plant survey". The information given to people doesn't  seem to inform them how to be sure they have seen ragwort. Neither is there any apparent attempt to validate reports.

The BHS has a very poor history of using statistics. Last year a set of companies who were repeating information put out by the BHS had to stop using it in adverts after action by the Advertising Standards Authority. (ASA)

It is also worth pointing out that a leaflet bearing their own logo was actually stopped by the ASA as it got the law wrong. They were still repeating the false information on one of their websites weeks after the story had been in the national press.

Again this year they are equating reports of ragwort with prevalence and implying an increase. They appear to use statistics in the manner that a drunk uses a lamppost, for support rather than illumination.

The properly done survey by the government using proper measurement methods actually has shown that ragwort is decreasing.

Oh and then there is the fact that they have changed the date of the survey. Last year they wrote.

‘While the results of this survey are important (see below), it’s not enough. By carrying out the survey in the same week annually  (my emphasis), we are hoping to gain an insight into trends in ragwort proliferation and to strengthen the argument to control it.’

It seems that they are more interested in campaigning than the accuracy of the information.. One does wonder if they are moving it into the school holidays to encourage more recording and that next year we will hear again some bad argument that ragwort is increasing.

Only a few months ago I blogged about one of their own spokespeople seemingly making herself look a complete fool in a BBC interview.

Ragwort Hysteria latest entries

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