Wednesday, 28 December 2011

It is even getting into the textbooks now!

It is bad enough when things appear in the newspapers that are incorrect. There is at least an opportunity to write a letter correcting it but when things get into textbooks there is a real problem. Any bad information tends to be believed even more strongly. A case in point is the textbook Practical Horse Law - A Guide For Owners and Riders by Brenda Gilligan which makes the following incorrect statement.
"Under the Weeds Act 1959, ragwort is an 'injurious weed' and one that on agricultural land must be controlled."
This is not the case. The Weeds Act does NOT say that ragwort must be controlled on agricultural land. It gives powers, that were apparently never used until the current hysteria, to order ragwort control where it is thought necessary. This is a completely different matter and the current guidance issued after the publication of the book says that ragwort should not be controlled everywhere. You can hardly blame the author for getting it wrong. This is a common myth that has been put out repeatedly by the anti-ragwort campaign. The British Horse Society had one of their leaflets stopped by the advertising standards authority for saying just this kind of thing and even after this they carried on saying it on one of their websites!
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Monday, 19 December 2011

East Sussex Council distributing false information

East Sussex Council is distributing false information about ragwort on the internet
In their Document on highway responsibilities they make this FALSE STATEMENT.

It is also an offence to allow certain weeds to spread from your land onto the highway verge, including ragwort and certain types of thistles and docks.

This is NOT true.

There is no such offence in UK law. The council, like many, has not checked its facts.
For a full briefing on the law see Ragwort Law
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Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Badshot Lea Equestrian Centre WRONG on ragwort

It has been a little while since I blogged here. It isn't for want of material.

The latest little story comes from the Badshot Lea Equestrian Centre's blog
Where it says.

Make sure you wear gloves when touching ragwort. We don't let kids handle it at all. It can give you flu like symptoms and make you feel quite grotty.

The story about ragwort poisoning you through the skin has been thoroughly debunked. There is no evidence to support it.

You can read this article on ragwort absorption throught the skin which is co-authored by a man with a Phd on ragwort.

But in this case it the usual story has been embellished with the story of flu like symptoms. These are not usual for the alkaloids in Ragwort, but this is of course how it happens on the internet. One person says it and it is repeated uncritically by others and suddenly like a lot of the ragwort scare stories a lot of people believe in it, even though there is no evidence to support it.

It probably is a good idea to wear gloves when handling ragwort as some people can get a rash from handling members of the daisy family. This however has nothing to do with ragwort causing the rare animal deaths that it does. It is caused by a different set of chemicals.
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