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.