Monday, 8 October 2012

Horse and Hound prints more ragwort nonsense

Horse and Hound is a frequent source of nonsense on ragwort. I blogged on this earlier this year. They have now done it again with more inaccurate and unscientific material.

We are told that ragwort is worse than ever. Why? Because of the weather. You know, ragwort must be the oddest plant on earth. According to the press any kind of weather causes it to grow more luxuriantly.

As I blogged last year,  Horse and Hound were saying it was cold weather and the Western Daily Press had been saying it was hot summer weather. Now we have a cold summer and that is causing it to grow more.
It is a miracle! And apparently you can use to to change water into wine, cure lepers and raise the dead too. :-) (Please note the smiley. I don't want another set of myths going around!)

The facts are that when the research is done properly by an official government survey ragwort is actually shown to be decreasing. It doesn't stop these silly articles though.

Apparently they justify it because , due to the mounting publicity people have sent more replies to the British Horse Societies "Ragwort" ( or rather yellow flowered plants) survey.  This is the same society whose publicity material  led to the Advertising Standards Authority stopping  adverts because they were wrong or had no evidence to support them.

Worse that this the story is being passed, as true, around websites. It got repeated  on the MRCVS.couk site. On the site of and tweeted by many people.
It seems that critical thinking skills are not always in good supply out there.

Oh and while we are at it there is a classic example in the article of the misunderstanding of terminology. It comes about because of the lack of teaching of Latin in our schools. We noticed   that even an Eton educated patrician toff like the Prime Minister didn't know what Magna Carta meant when asked recently on US television. Fortunately,  even plebs like me can study Latin and I hope to spend some time this evening working on a book on Latin poetry that I am supposed to be writing.

This example is the use of the word "injurious" which  appears as "injurious weeds"  in the  Weeds Act 1959.
The article has a  Mrs Claire Harding-Brown saying :-
It’s an injurious weed and it’s by my horses.
Injurious does not mean poisonous in this context. It derives from the same roots as Justice and Jury. It means harmful to the interests of something. In this case agriculture. Most of the listed weeds are not poisonous. The link in this sentence leads to a briefing  on the meaning of Injurious Weeds with full details.
Remember, as I have blogged before most of the scarey stuff about ragwort has been made up.

Ragwort Hysteria latest entries

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