Vicious Vegetable

by June McNicholas

It's great to be back as your PR rep now I am back in the Midlands after over 10 years in the remote Scottish Highlands. Sadly, after many years, I gave up the post when I realised that where I was living was beyond any media contact. Put it this way, instead of broadband we were best leaving things to smoke signals or carrier pigeons! These were much more reliable, as many of my NFWS visitors realised when staying with me! Mind you, it was amusing to tell people, who seemed bereft at having no mobile phone signal, that if they went to the end of the loch, stood on one leg with their left arm pointing to the mouth of the loch they might get a signal. It never worked, of course, but I have a vastly amusing array of photos of their exploits!

So, I'm back in harness now. I'm well accustomed to radio and TV interviews - I've done it all my academic life. But things still can go awry......!

Not long ago, I was asked to give an interview on some of my earlier work on badgers. This was, of course, the lead-up to the badger cull and the possible link to bovine tuberculosis. I have my own views on this but the interview took an unexpected twist to include countries that do not have badgers, but still have TB problems. In a pre-recorded discussion I was asked to comment on this, particularly as ferrets may have some bearing on problems in New Zealand.

In NZ there are no badgers to cause problems, the main culprits - as far as their research is concerned - are feral ferrets and cats. OK, I thought, I can comment on that.

Have you ever had a problem where the brain overtakes the speed that the mouth can accommodate? Well, that was my problem at that moment. When given the prompt to mention feral cats and ferrets, I declared that the main problem with NZ appeared to be the prevalence of FERAL CARROTS! Thank goodness it was a pre-record! But my mind has been haunted by what a dangerous feral carrot might look like -- so far, it is an orange carrot, with a green mohican and a very evil look on its face.

Cartoonists, let your talent free!


(First published in NFWS News #96 Spring/Summer 2013)