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Tesco badgered over cull 'hypocrisy' as shield features the creatures

Tesco badgered over cull 'hypocrisy' as shield features the creatures
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Tesco badgered over cull 'hypocrisy' as shield features the creatures3

Governance | Kirsty Weakley | 11 Oct 2012

An animal charity has hit out at supermarket giant Tesco for its support of farmers taking part in the badger cull when its own coat of arms features badgers.

Care for the Wild chief executive Philip Mansbridge said: “Seriously, this smacks of hypocrisy. Tesco is supporting the cull, while at the same time standing proudly beneath a shield featuring the iconic British badgers. They need to get their ducks, or general wildlife, in a row.”

He added: “The Tesco coat of arms bears the motto Mercatores Coenascent, which by all accounts is nonsense. It’s probably the badgers saying ‘You shop –we drop. Dead'.

Civilsociety.co.uk took the liberty of translating the latin phrase. While ‘mercantores’ means 'merchants', ‘coenascent’ does not have a direct translation. However ‘nascent’ means 'to be born' and if you switch the word around to ‘nascent coe’ it becomes 'began to arise'. The matter was discussed in a latin discussion forum in 2007, with no firm conclusions. Civilsociety.co.uk's translation was done using Google translate (feel free to suggest alternatives).

In a statement Tesco said: “Animal welfare is an important and sensitive issue for many of our customers and we take our responsibilities in this area very seriously. We are not for or against the culling trial but we recognise the significant threat that bovine TB poses to dairy farmers and their livelihoods.

"Therefore we believe it is for farmers to decide whether to take part in the cull. We want to support British farmers through this challenging time and will continue to buy from those who participate.”

Tesco was not able to provide any further detail on the origins of its coat of arms.

An e-petition calling on Parliament to debate the cull recently hit the required number of signitures to be considered for debate in Parliament. 

 

Amanda Rawling
11 Oct 2012

I will be thinking even more carefully than usual about where my farm products come from. I intend to only buy food from non-cull farms. If that means not buying from Tescos at all in order to be certain of not supporting the cull, then that is what I will do. I think they need to make a commitment to whitchever side of the debate they will choose to back. I don't think anything else can be acceptable.

Colin Broomfield
11 Oct 2012

I'm sure the learned enquiry about 'coenascent' is very worthy, but less seriously, the founder of Tesco - Jack Cohen - had a great sense of humour. Perhaps the real translation is 'Cohen piles it up' (and sells it cheap?). Its hard on Tesco now to be in trouble for adopting its badger 'supporter's from the symbol of its birthplace, the Borough of Broxbourne. I've yet to see badger meat on sale at Tescos'!

Clued-Up
11 Oct 2012

Tesco's PR team need to think carefully about the impact their "sitting on the fence" stance has with regard to a policy opposed by up to 96% public.

The public know Tesco buys its supplies from within the cull area and that other large retailers have stated their opposition to the cull and / or buy from outside the cull area. They also know Tesco has been associated with other government initiatives widely regarded as unacceptable - eg using unemployed people whose benefits are funded by the taxpayer fearful of DWP sanctions to work unpaid for them as shelf-fillers.

It's in Tesco's own interests to do what it can to disassociate the company from this cull and to lobby the government to stop it.

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