Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Shame on you Ann Nash for ragwort nonsense

I blog on this issue because the nonsense that circulates about ragwort offends me. I have a well developed sense of reason, science and critical thinking.
I also have a musical sense and it is like listening to bad off key singing. 
It is excruciating.

It comes from one Ann Nash. My researches indicate that she lives in Bromsgrove and it was posted on Facebook and has been widely circulated.
It is a prime example how this ignorant trash is spread around.
Shame on you Ann Nash for posting such nonsense
"To all my friends and family - you need to know this (some if you already do). This plant - lovely wild flower to some - common Ragwort is extremely dangerous, not only is it toxic to animals and will kill horses, it is highly dangerous to humans."
This is gross misinformation and exaggeration It is toxic to animals if they eat a 
 lot of it. It is only a problem for horses if they are fed bad hay or starved into eating it. The same toxins are in other plants, but we never hear about them.

It is certainly not highly dangerous to humans.

"If touched can make you extremely ill, attacking your liver function."
This is utter claptrap! It is complete and total nonsense! You cannot be poisoned just by touching the plant.

"Landowners can be prosecuted under the Dangerous Weeds Act 1959, for allowing it to grow, it is that dangerous."
More claptrap!. There is a pattern of exaggeration in this whole posting and this is a fine example. It is the Weeds Act . It doesn't contain the word dangerous.
The 1959 Act wasn't debated in parliament and is a restatement of legislation from the early 1920s which was concerned with stimulating agriculture after World War I. The weeds aren't dangerous. Some are even edible! They were considered in those days as problematic in the context of largely unmechanised agriculture. Until the recent plague of hysteria it was hardly used and it doesn't make allowing these plants to grow illegal it merely gives the power to issue control orders.

"Local councils used to spend more time and effort cutting verges to prevent the spread by seed, but this work is now unaffordable - apparently If you see it do not touch it unless you are wearing gloves - seriously."
More frightening nonsense. The idea that ragwort is increasing has been around for years but is not supported by the evidence.

"Complain to your local council. The more complaints made, the more chance there is of getting something done. Please share this with your friends - horsie [sic] or not - and make sure everyone is aware of this dangerous plant."
Here comes the crux of the problem because of hysterical and ignorant nonsense like this being circulated councils pick up on it and even repeat it.
One council was recently asked via a Freedom of Information request where evidence was for statements made on their website. They were forced to admit that they didn't have it, because of course it didn't exist and then removed the web material. Even with these efforts  it circulates and circulates.

I am somewhat reluctant to  name individuals but this seems to me to be an obvious example of gross exaggeration and deliberate use of misleading and frightening language.

So if you know Ann Nash please tell her to behave properly. check her information properly and stop spreading unfounded scare stories on-line.

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