Saturday, April 19, 2014

zTuberculosis in deer and camelids - consultation



Following growing concern about the spread of the disease, DEFRA has published consultation document - [link] on the control of zTuberculosis in deer and South American Camelids (alpacas and llamas) and is inviting comments.







The Department is proposing changes to the current arrangements for dealing with bTB in deer and camelids in England. (Wales already has its own policy in place and Scotland are considering their options).

For camelids, proposed powers include statutory removal of reactors, which will be identified prior to removal and a flat rate payment of £750 per animal.
Other proposals include introducing blood tests that can be used outside of a breakdown situation: for example as pre-movement or pre-purchase and in cases where an animal may be showing symptoms which require TB to be ruled out.

Treatment and vaccination either prophylactic, or administered to animals with clinical symptoms of zTB, will also be prohibited.

At present these proposed measures are not mandatory, but Defra have indicated that they plan to introduce statutory powers, if camelid owners are reluctant to take the disease seriously on a voluntary basis.

The cynical amongst us would say that if the Department itself had taken the spread of this disease - [link] 'seriously' then applying punitive measures to other sectors may be given more than a lukewarm welcome.

 We understand that the alpaca breed society, the BAS have contacted members with the following message on this Defra TB Consultation:
 YOUR VIEW COUNTS 

19 days to go .. 

WE NEED YOUR HELP TO PUT PRESSURE ON DEFRA 

Look out for an email in the next few days to guide you through a response to the consultation document.


"Put pressure on Defra." To do what? One hopes that it is not to bury this disease deeper than ever. And thus infect more animals,  their owners and vets? - [link]

That would be extremely irresponsible. However, as no details of  the BAS 'pressure' are presently available, we will publish the their 'response guidelines' to camelid owners, if and when we receive sight of them.

The “Consultation on Tuberculosis (TB) animal disease controls for deer and camelids” can be found at the
following link:

 https://consult.defra.gov.uk/bovine-tb/consultation-on-tb-controls-for-deer-and-camelids

Further documentation and information can be found by following the above link, together with an online survey (and printable version) for your response.

Consultation responses must be received by 6th. May 2014.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Impasse or opportunity?

As the ill conceived -[link] pilot culls are inevitably thrown into Ministerial long grass, cattle farmers are left dangling from a rope of  punitive obligations which are supposed to keep their herds free of zTuberculosis.
 It has even been suggested that Herd Health schemes and pedigree societies include zTB as a 'health' brownie point.

To bundle zTuberculosis into a pot of diseases over which we do have a semblance of control, is about as low as it gets. Keeping a closed herd and secure, cattle free boundaries is fine; but if a manky badger piddles across your land, you're stuffed - and so presumably would be your 'accreditation'?

As Defra and its agencies are the only people who have the power to control zoonotic Tuberculosis in wildlife, but choose to exercise their right not to do that, why should cattle farmers suffer the consequences?

 So what now? As more punitive cattle measures rain down, several organisations appear to be joining us in calling for a cull of diseased badgers rather than a cull of badgers per se. These include The Veterinary Association for Wildlife Management -[link] and yesterday's press release from the SW Branch of the NFU has expressed similar sentiments. A quote from the NFU paper:
The NFU’s South West regional board has expressed its frustration that ‘politics’ have taken precedence over animal health and is compromising the welfare of all susceptible species, including domestic pets, in the battle against bovine TB. It is also calling on the NFU’s national council to ‘pursue with urgency’ other more targeted culling models for controlling the disease in the badger population.
Regional board chairman and beef farmer, Martin Howlett, whose own farm in east Cornwall has battled with the disease, has also written to HRH the Princess Royal on behalf of the board thanking her for expressing her concerns publicly over the animal welfare consequences for farm animals and wildlife of unchecked TB and contributing so compellingly to the debate about other means of controlling it amongst badgers.They point out that "Bovine TB controls which lead to the slaughter of thousands of cattle annually and the imposition of highly stressful testing regimes and restrictive movement measures upon livestock and those that farm it, are set to be ratcheted up still further."

“We know we have to do our bit to rid the countryside of this pestilence and are jumping through every hoop to do so,” says Martin Howlett. “But when we see all too frequently closed herds going down with TB, where there is no contact with other cattle, like that of our Dorset chairman, we know the disease is in the wildlife population, particularly badgers, which inhabit the same pastures and are the greatest excreters of TB bacilli via their urine, dung and sputum.

“Vets confirm our concerns, and not even the most vociferous animal rights protesters can deny that there is cross contamination between the species, so farmers think why on earth are we sacrificing all these cattle and putting them and ourselves through a huge amount of stress when we know that the disease is still out there thriving in the fields hosted unwittingly by its primary wildlife vector – badgers – for which it shows no mercy and is an incurable curse too."

“We are especially concerned because other farmed and wildlife species as well as domestic pets and even humans in direct contact with infection are susceptible as well. Anyone with a genuine interest in animal health and welfare would surely see the sense in countering the main sources of infection and, unfortunately, where the disease is acute amongst badgers, vaccination is not curative and cannot tackle it.”
The press release also has a link to this footage - [link] of a distinctly wobbly badger, rooting amongst hay bales in a farm hay barn. The video is one of many obtained with night vision cameras by the South West TB Advisory Group. What they are unable to tell farmer clients, is what to do with it.

Perhaps it should be vaccinated? That will fix it - [link] And unfortunately many Badgerists do actually believe that.

 As a PR exercise, badger vaccination is on a par with the RBCT Badger Dispersal Trial for prevarication and job creation. But unfortunately, it fills a comforting PR gap for wobbling politicians. And there have been many of those over the years.

But the results for our cattle of this latest in high profile chicanery, AHVLA appear to have no intention of publishing as 'stand alone figures', it seems. The vaccination areas are still absorbed into their home county statistics, so no one has any idea of what is happening to the cattle, (or alpacas, sheep, goats or cats) inhabiting the same area - except the farmers concerned. Collect your own data?

 But slowing down the upspill of this disease into sentinel cattle herds,  is not the object of this latest wheeze exercise at all. We explored that in this posting - [link] which also had that wonderful quote from AHVLA's Prof. Glyn Hewinson who told us:
"The primary aims of the project are to learn lessons about the practicalities of deploying an injectable vaccine; provide training for others who may wish to apply for a license to vaccinate badgers; and build farmers confidence in the use of badger vaccination. "

"Defra is providing funds to cover 50% of the cost of becoming an accredited and certified lay vaccinator and has extended the availability of its vaccination fund to cover 2013 training courses for members of voluntary and community sector organisations. So far, 137 lay vaccinators have been trained on the cage trapping and vaccination of badgers."
Excellent.
137 vaccinators, launching into unknown numbers of badgers, with no idea of the health status of any of them and using a product offering no efficacy data at all in its VMD license?
But that is expected to 'build farmers' confidence' in the concept?? In your dreams.

Correspondence has recently been submitted to the Veterinary press, which questions how FERA's claims for badger BCG have been exploded beyond its reality. A snippet:
" Although the Badger BCG vaccine has been shown by one parameter (disease severity score) to provide significant protection against experimental challenge it fails to protect against infection and all vaccinated animals shed M.bovis post challenge.

The likelihood therefore of the vaccine giving protection in the face of the massive infection out there in the badger population is therefore highly improbable. That is even supposing enough animals can be vaccinated which is equally improbable.

[] I do not accept that the difference in serological response between vaccinated and non vaccinated animals is direct evidence of protection.

I also raise the possibility of the vaccine being actually harmful, which doesn’t seem to have been considered by proponents of the vaccine. There are interesting immunological reasons why this may be so."
When this synopsis is published in full, we will revisit.

 Over the last 20 years, as one farmer contributor to The Farmers Forum so succinctly put it, successive Emperors Ministers have been left " standing in a deep hole, stark bollock naked" by their Agencies, assorted lobbyists and their own advisors. And instead of handing them a coat with which to cover their embarrassment, the advisor's only offering has been a larger shovel.

It is time for a change.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Comfort Blanket?

As AHVLA carve up the country into areas of 'Risk' from zoonotic Tuberculosis, the comfort blanket of four year testing outside the High risk and Edge areas has once again, taken a hit.
A dispersal sale of a cattle herd from Cumbria, sold in Cheshire, has subsequently revealed several reactors. Farmers Guardian -[link] has the story.

This is not the first time that this has happened, with this sale in 2010 - [link] causing similar problems. Unfortunately farmers purchasing stock are often quite unaware that in these 4 year testing areas, no test is required before any dispersal sales and several do ask for stock to be tested prior to purchasing.

One of our veterinary sources has sent this comment:
It is also worth noting that cases of herd breakdowns are not that uncommon in Cumbria - years ago the outbreak can clearly be seen in the Dunnett Report maps.

The cluster of cattle cases was, at that time, as big as a cluster in the Midlands. Interestingly, the source was traced back to a couple of infected badgers.

Subsequently, it was found that the Cumbria area had its own TB type. The spoligotype was the same as one of the Midlands outbreaks, but the VNTR typing was different.

This type was found in badgers and cattle from the area and I believe that all the outbreaks from elsewhere with this type (that could be traced), traced back to Cumbria.

So, rather inconveniently, this is a TB endemic area. This has been known for decades.

So why is Cumbria on 4 yearly testing?



Why indeed.
Test and ye shall find.  More testing inevitably reveals more 'problems' in sentinel cattle. 








The Manchester Ship Canal and a large urban area look good on a map and are also thought to act as a badger barrier.  But that conveniently ignores the infected Cumbrian bred residents already behind it, and the untested alpacas and translocated badgers happily leaping over it.

Further speculation as the source of this outbreak is futile until AHVLA's team have done their spoligotyping of the type and VNTR responsible for this outbreak, in what, on their maps at least, should have been a clean area.
Meanwhile Defra's comfort blanket has a few more holes.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Royal approval?



As HRH the Princess Royal once again enters the fray over the control of tuberculosis in badgers, and badgers in general, by recommending gassing, we revisit an earlier comment which she made. And more importantly, a leading 'scientist's' reaction to it.  

22nd February 2003: Princess Anne commented - [link] as she left a meeting:
"If anyone tells me there is no proven link between bovine TB and badgers, I will see them outside later"





The following day, members of the EFRA Committee - [link] were giving the ISG chairman, Professor John Bourne a light toasting and here is that gentleman's answer to Princess Anne's remark:

 23rd February 2003
156: Just briefly then, we have not got much hope on the vaccination front, we have not got much hope from your report coming out in March that the Government will be able to formulate policy on this; have we got any hope to look forward to at all or is it going to turn out that Princess Anne was right?

(Professor Bourne) Princess Anne is right but what Princess Anne did not answer is the question, okay, badgers are involved, but what the hell do you do about it? We do not know.
But as we have pointed out so many times before, the diminutive professor had already had his political instructions. - [link] .

 Bourne was the leader of the RBCT, which started the 10 year prevarication trial with a political steer that no large scale culling of badgers would happen at the end of it. This is what he told the committee in 2007:
"Let us go back to 1999 when we started our work. It was made very clear to us by ministers of the day - and they have not refuted it since - that elimination of badgers over large tracts of countryside was not an option for future policy".
A horrified Geoffrey Cox, MP intervened "Is it not the function of science..." but the diminutive Prof. was in full spate. He was not to interrupted and continued:
"It was on that basis that we designed the trial. We also had to take into account welfare considerations with respect to culling used, and limitations on culling with respect that cubs were not killed or died underground [ ] Those were clear political limitations that we operated under; I have no reason to believe that those political limitations have changed".
Geoffrey Cox, MP then asked Bourne to clarify the report's findings and its conclusions in the light of his statement describing a political steer in what should have been a scientific exercise. Professor Bourne replied thus:
"We repeatedly say "culling, as conducted in the trial." It is important [that] we do say that. Those limitations were not imposed by ourselves. They were imposed by politicians."
So this eminent 'scientist' did know exactly what to 'do about it'. Prostitute his credentials following political whims and slam down hard on the cattle industry?

 And this, dear readers is the basis on which the ill fated pilot culls were founded. Tied up in so much red tape by the government agency, Natural England - [link] that the more cynical amongst us would assume that they too were 'designed to fail'.

A quote first published in the Western morning News, on Natural England's pilot cull protocol from former NFU SW director Anthony Gibson - after he had read the Annexes:
"It is hard to say whether it is the cost of what is proposed, or the regulatory burden which it will involve, which evokes the greater degree of concern. But if you put one together with the other, it will be a very brave and very determined group of farmers which signs a "TB Management Agreement" with Natural England.

The bureaucracy associated with such agreements will be formidable, if anything like the measures proposed in the consultation are finally agreed. I don't have the space to go into any great detail, but you will find it all at www.defra.gov.uk/consult/2011/07/19/bovine-tb/ which should be required reading – including the annexes – for anyone planning to get involved. Unless these proposals are radically altered in the consultation process – particularly in terms of reducing the financial and other risks to participants – I find it hard to envisage a badger-culling licence ever being issued."
The cull protocols were not altered, radically or otherwise, two licences were issued and the inevitable conclusion was - they didn't work on many levels. They were never meant to.

So as the Princess Royal tells us to 'forget cattle' and concentrate on the damage badgers are doing to the ecology as a whole, and that they should be controlled preferably by underground euthanasia, we find ourselves at an impasse. Cutting through all the political guff, the Princess Royal is quite correct.
Like our contributors, she says it as it is.

But from the EU, via Defra and its agencies we have a shed load of punitive cattle measures, the likelihood of levies to fund future breakdowns and yet little or nothing on which to hang our collective hats concerning tuberculosis in wildlife.

So, a brick wall or an opportunity to change course? We'll discuss that in a later posting.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

You can lead a politician to information ....

* This post has been updated.


 This post is in direct response to the Secretary of State's reply in the House of Commons today, concerning the progress - or not - of PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) technology to identify infected badger setts.

From Roger Williams, Lib-Dem MP for Brecon and Radnor came the question:
I welcome the Secretary of State’s using all means at his disposal to control the disease. One of those is the polymerase chain reaction test, which will be able to identify infected live badgers and the setts in which they live. Will he ensure that all the available resources go into promoting that test, which could have a role in controlling bovine TB?
And the reply from Mr Paterson:
My hon. Friend is absolutely right to say that it would be a huge change if we could use PCR to analyse diseased badgers on the spot. That would change the whole debate and would be an enormous help in disease reduction. We have been working closely with the university of Warwick and are bringing in other agencies to see whether we can accelerate that work. Sadly, PCR is not yet reliable enough. If we can get a greater than 50% chance of identification, it will cause a sea change on this issue.
It may be prudent at this point to remind readers that Defra agency AHVLA are offering PCR screening - [link] as a commercial enterprise for m.avium paratuberculosis (Johnnes disease) And not to put too fine a point on it, at £27.05 + VAT for 5 pooled samples of s--t, as far as we are aware, no one is saying that the screening is less than accurate and a waste of money. (Page 15 of the pdf on the above link for the price and description)
Johnnes disease or  m.avium paratuberculosis and as m.bovis, are both members of the m.tuberculosis complex group of bacteria.

 It may also be prudent to remind that same agency that they trousered a not inconsiderable sum of taxpayers' money in 2005 / 6 for screening farmland mammals for - m.bovis. What test did they use? PCR - [link] And the published paper had no addendum that it was not worthy of the dead trees on which it was written because the test was rubbish? How very odd.

 The NHS  routinely use PCR to screen patients for m.bovis, and a privately funded study using samples from dead alpacas - [link] found that PCR was extremely accurate and very much in line with the post mortem results of the animal concerned. Importantly, there were no false positives.

So what would we have here? A badger sett with a red flag of 'scientific ID' that its occupants have given samples containing a Grade 3 zoonotic pathogen, the eradication of which this country is a signatory?

We can't possibly have that, Minister. Because if a group is so identified, but then (as now) left to infect other mammals and their owners, - [link] litigation is not just a possibility. It is a certainty.

It's far easier to shoot the messenger. You know it makes sense.

EDIT: ( Updated ):
Identification is key to targeted culling of infected wildlife.
We are aware that the examples of PCR in use for m.bovis screens given above, are laboratory based. 

Please, do not throw this baby out with its bath water.
If this technology is working on other samples, why not on the ones offered now?


We are also aware that in the alpaca PCR project, zTB had been confirmed by culture and /or postmortem and that samples obtained from these dead animals were carefully identified and protected from contamination.

How are any samples for badger sett PCR screens identified, and what is their source?
Is that source secure, unbiased and the samples 'uncontaminated'?
Are samples being collected on a regular basis, or is repeat screening carried out on a single sample?

All these factors may influence results of DNA type screening.

From epidemiological information gathered patiently over decades, it was found that infected badger groups are not constantly shedding m.bovis bacteria. Thus in a group of a dozen animals, all may have the disease but may not all be 'infectious' at the same time. Their tuberculous lesions wall up, and shedding from them is thus intermittent: thus faecal material collected over time, may give varying degrees of contamination when sampled..

In the latter stages of disease, PQs confirmed that a 'super excreter' badgers, with infectious tuberculous  lesions in several organs, will shed constantly in the months before it finally dies. These animals have been excluded by their peer groups, living alone and often close to farm buildings.

Cat to humans - transmission of zoonotic Tuberculosis.

AHVLA and Public Health England, today report cases of domestic cats infecting their owners with zoonotic Tuberculosis. The PHE press release is predictably dumbed down, on this link.  It explains that:
"Two people in England have developed tuberculosis after contact with a domestic cat infected with Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis), Public Health England (PHE) and the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) have announced.
M. bovis is the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB) in cattle (bovine TB) and in other species.

Nine cases of M. bovis infection in domestic cats in Berkshire and Hampshire were investigated by AHVLA and PHE during 2013. PHE offered TB screening to 39 people identified as having had contact with the infected cats as a precautionary measure. 24 contacts accepted screening.

Following further investigations, a total of two cases of active TB and two cases of latent TB were identified. Latent TB means they had been exposed to TB at some point but they did not have active disease. Both cases of active TB disease have confirmed infection with M. bovis and are responding to treatment."


Through AHVLA's diligent spoligotyping, the strain of mycobacterium bovis identified in the people infected in this outbreak, is exactly the same as the cat(s).

Could this cluster be the one mentioned in this posting - [link] of June last year?






Quoteed in the press release is Professor Noel Smith, Head of the Bovine TB Genotyping Group at AHVLA,  who said:
“Testing of nearby herds revealed a small number of infected cattle with the same strain of M. bovis as the cats. However, direct contact of the cats with these cattle was unlikely considering their roaming ranges. The most likely source of infection is infected wildlife, but cat-to-cat transmission cannot be ruled out.”

This is not the first time we have mentioned cats - [link] in the same breath as 'bovine' tuberculosis - that name really does confuse many, hence our adoption of the bacterium's zoonotic principles.

Shed loads of sentinel dead reactor cattle are apparently acceptable - [link] (at least to the Badgerists) but it seems none too smart to shaft decades of MAAF / Defra's intransigence in dealing with wildlife reservoirs of this disease, on to the hard pressed NHS.

Not really a 'bovine' problem anymore, is it?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Isolated.

Below is the text of letter from Defra to cattle breed societies, sent 19th. March 2014. It is self explanatory.
Department for Environment & Rural Affairs Date: 19 March 2014

To Pedigree Herd Societies

Dear Sir or Madam

Bovine TB: Risk Based Trading(RBT) and Pedigree Herds

As you may be aware, as part of Defra's programme to eradicate bovine TB, markets are being encouraged to ask cattle sellers to provide certain historic TB information so that buyers can make better decisions on the TB risks associated with the animals they introduce into their herds.

We have been made aware that some owners of pedigree herds in the High Risk area are concerned that the approach we are taking to promoting RBT may damage their ability to sell their cattle outside that area.

We wish to establish if this a view widely held by pedigree breed societies and, if so, what steps might be taken to help your members.

One option that has been put to us is for sellers who carry out a pre-movement test and then isolate pedigree stock on their holding prior to sending them to market to make that known to the auction market and for relevant information to be displayed at market and/or in sale catalogues. We would welcome that.

What we are unsure of is whether there is any role that Defra could play in seeking to make it happen, given that we would not have the resource to assess such isolation arrangements.

If you feel we could add value to your efforts, and your members' efforts, please let us know.

Of course, isolating stock prior to sale would not work for owners of TB breakdown herds.These herds will need to continue to abide by TB breakdown controls until such time as their official TB freedom is restored.

We also want to take this opportunity to let you know about work that has started to establish an accreditation standard for TB, which we hope would be of particular benefit to pedigree herd owners.

We are in discussion with Cattle Health Certification Standards (CHeCS) about the details of such a standard. As I am sure you know, around 90% of farmers who are accredited to the CheCS standard for other diseases, such as BVD, IBR and Johne's Disease, are pedigree herd owners.

We would welcome a dialogue with breed societies on risk-based trading.

Depending on responses to this letter, we would be happy to set up a discussion with those of you who wish to work with us. A response to this letter by 28 March would therefore be appreciated.

Yours faithfully

Geoff Jasinski 


"Depending on responses to this letter, [the man said] we would be happy to set up a discussion with those of you who wish to work with us." ...
And then, having 'consulted'  we'll do it anyway? You've got a week to reply and by the way, any form of effective badger 'management' is in the long grass. And 'vaccination' has taken on a life of its own as an alternative prevarication 'strategy'.

  A point of order Mr. J:


 
'Accreditation' for zTB in dairy cattle started in the 1960s when the eradication of this disease began across the British isles.

Farmers thus 'accredited' received an extra 4p a gallon for their milk.

Prior to 1972, farmers managed their own populations of wildlife, and post 1973, MAFF managed infectious badgers under license.

This was the Ministry map of parishes on annual testing due a 'confirmed breakdown' in 1986. Less than 100 herds were under TB restriction, and 684 cattle were slaughtered.







Everything stalled in the mid 1980s, as parallel action on infectious wildlife in response to cattle breakdowns was progressively sanitised and land available for cage trapping was reduced from 7km to just 1km from base. And then only permitted on land cattle had grazed..

Inevitably, the red parishes spread out. And out.





 
And since 1997 when Defra and its agencies made a conscious decision not to issue licenses under Section 10 (2) a of the Protection of Badgers Act, to 'prevent the spread of disease' you and your cronies have all but destroyed the cattle industry in the south/ south west of these islands. And are having a damn good go at flattening the enterprises of farmed deer, milking goats, free range pigs, pedigree sheep and alpaca farmers.

Have the breed societies of these other mammals received a fast track missive on Risk based Trading? No? We thought not.




One of their latest maps, looking a tad truncated as Wales and Scotland are missing, issued by Defra in 2013.

This year, inevitably, Defra's Maginot line has moved again..












 
By changing a label, and resurrecting the old description 'accredited' you won't stop grossly infectious wildlife infecting other mammals, and that's any mammal whether they be the food producing kind or companion varieties. In fact you have no strategy for zTB - [ link] at all - except more pain for cattle farmers.

From The Farmers Forum posts on this subject:
To bundle zTB into a pot of diseases over which cattle farmers do have a semblance of control, is about as low as it gets.
Keeping a closed herd and secure, cattle free boundaries is fine, but if a manky badger piddles across your land, you're buggered - and so presumably would be your 'accreditation'?

As Defra and its agencies are the only people who have the power to control zoonotic Tuberculosis in wildlife, but choose to exercise their right not to, why should farmers suffer the consequences?
.

Mr. Jasinski's contact is: geoffrey.jasinski@defra.gsi.gov.uk





Friday, March 14, 2014

Hot air

If you had nothing better to do yesterday afternoon[ link] an interesting but depressing few hours could have been spent listening to a group of people, discussing with incredible certainty and many howlers, a report which they had yet to read on a subject which few had any knowledge at all.

 As the Telegraph - [link] pointed out, 'the Honourable members agreed that they did not know what they were talking about'.

 So a more pertinent debate might have been on why the Secretary of State and the Honourable members were apparently the last the read the report into the pilot badger culls, ahead of a media driven, opportunist frenzy led by the BBC?

 A couple of beacons of light in an otherwise total waste of time, were comments from David Heath and in particular, Roger Williams @ 3.12 who said: "
Continuing results from the RBCTs show continuing benefits from proactive culling many years after the conclusion of the trials. The TB situation continues to improve in New Zealand and Australia. Improvements are also evident in southern Ireland where, the hon. Member for Penistone and Stocksbridge might like to note, a reactive cull has been used.

Surprisingly, those areas that used reactive culling in the RBCTs now show improvements compared with the survey areas. Perhaps we should re-examine the use of reactive culling. More support for culling could be generated if we had a better test for TB in live badgers.

The good news is that the polymerase chain reaction test is making progress and hopefully by next year we will have a conclusive test. I am sure that the culling of infected setts, as identified by PCR tests, and the protecting of healthy setts would be supported. I ask the Minister whether there is any advance on those tests.

I am told that badgers culled in the pilots vary in weight from 6.5 kg to 22 kg. Evidence of disease in the lightest badgers probably implies that they would not survive the winter and would die in considerable distress of starvation, hyperthermia and disease. I have not heard anything today that would lead me to believe that the BCG vaccine alone will lead to an elimination of disease in the wildlife reservoir. I believe a cull is also needed as part of a wide-ranging policy, and for that reason I cannot support this motion."
By concentrating on cattle and badgers, the Honourable members missed the point that control of zTuberculosis, a grade 3 zoonotic pathogen,  is a statute to which this country is a signatory.

As a footnote, if as the leaked document implied, it took a badger 5 minutes to expire after being shot, is that not more the responsibility of the trial protocol, which demanded only two shots in the rifle chamber?
It also compares very neatly to the length of time it takes an unborn calf to die, kicking in the belly of its destroyed, heavily pregnant mother when she is shot as a TB reactor.

Hypocrisy.