Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Statistical wizardry

The long awaited results on incidence of cattle TB, in the areas of the two pilot culls, or at least the first year of them, are now published. And indeed, Queen May, with guitar in one hand and badger in the other is crowing.

 "No statistical difference" he repeated, between a comparison block and the pilot cull areas in an article, published by Farmers Guardian - [link]. And everyone from Owen Paterson, who set the pilots up through the NFU who backed them, down to the farmers involved are 'lying'.

But can the farmers concerned - [link] be so wrong? And how can the drop of some 60 per cent in herds under restriction - {link] become so skewed after its journey through a computer?

In her paper - [link] reporting the methodology used for the analysis, Professor Christl Donnelly, of Imperial College explains:
"Herds under restriction for four or more months of the reporting period due to an incident that started before the reporting period were excluded from the analyses."
"Baseline date: The date on which the culling is initiated in an intervention area. Cattle bTB incidents prior to this date are not attributable to any effects of culling."
Now this lady and her electronic abacus have history. And unfortunately, many of us have had the misfortune to have lived and watched our cattle die, through all it has churned out. From BSE, to FMD the RBCT and now these pilot badger culls.

Whatever statistical wizardry has been employed, the first question asked of its results should surely be 'does it adequately reflect the situation on the ground?' Because if it does not, it is not only meaningless, it is misleading and wrong.

And it appears that as with the RBCT input data, a cut off date for inclusion of data from farms involved in these pilot culls, specifically excluded farms already under long term TB restriction and the results of culling the wildlife reservoir of infection, had on them.

Wizardry indeed. And if this really is the case, dead wrong.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

The longest of long grass?

Just as one small area of Dorset is licensed to do mathematically fraught cull of badgers this autumn, a new consultation - [link] appears from Defra. This closes on September 25th, so a short time frame, with we note, Environmental and Animal Welfare Campaigners at the top of a long list of consultees.

Tackling zoonotic Tuberculosis, a Grade 3 pathogen - where ever it is found - is not an option for Defra. They are signatories to International agreements which seek to eradicate this disease, to protect human health. And that includes wildlife, if it is found there.

Hence the deafening silence - [link] on this technology which allows the infected badger group to be identified with stunning accuracy. Far better to set Badgerists against livestock farmers, in a parody of the Roman arena and let them fight it out. This of course, after giving the former, the tools with which to find their prey - [link]

So what is asked in this latest wheeze which may invoke yet another delve into Queen May's pockets for a Judicial Review and  kick the control of badgers with zTB into the long grass?

This consultation is a short questionnaire which seeks to reduce the minimum area for a map drawn population control badger cull from 150 sq km to 100 sq km. Now that was the size of the RBCT Badger Dispersal Trial zones, and one which John Bourne opined was too small. Subsequently the benefits outweighed the inevitable problems with occurred from cage trapping an infected population for 8 nights only, annually if you were lucky. Thus, hanging on these throw away remarks, the present cull areas of Somerset and Gloucestershire being three times that size and of longer duration.

 Together with a smaller minimum size, Defra also propose to increase the amount of landowner participation required to be accessible for culling to '90 per cent of land to be accessible, or within 200m of accessible land'. That is a complicated mathematical formula which takes no account of the presence of disease at all, and may in fact be more difficult to achieve in practice than the previous 70 per cent requirement. Who knows?

There is also a proposal to increase the time 'allowed' for culling but with Natural England giving itself the right to stop the cull at any time it thinks fit. They explain:
We want to know what you think about our proposed licence changes. They will provide more flexibility in the control of badger populations in areas where bovine TB is a problem and will increase the potential to achieve disease control benefits. The proposals would apply to applications to Natural England for a licence from 2016 onwards.
Of course if Defra used the research - [link] into the identification of infected setts, for which it the taxpayer has paid, then all of this long running farce would have to stop. And it would, as once an infected area and group of animals is identified, by international statute, Defra have to act on that information. They have no choice.

 On superficial examination, these proposals seek to tweak a flawed policy, which in turn was based entirely on a politically corrupt - [link] concept.  And our response will reflect that.

We would also question the roll of an environmental organisation such as Natural England in the licensing of what is ultimately an obligation to public health. And that concept could be explored further later this year.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

PCR - A Deafening Silence.

It's August and  MPs continue their annual bucket and spade jollies while farmers in areas of endemic zTB attempt to comply with some of the most ridiculous and imaginative obstacles - [link] ever dreamed up to prevent culling badgers infected with the disease.

But very quietly, and with no fanfare of which we are aware, Professor Wellington's paper on PCR is now published.

The project was set up in 2012, and some spurious results were offered to the then Secretary of State, Owen Paterson MP, which we quoted in this posting - [link]

They were premature and wrong, as the following outcome has shown. - [link}

 This project was commissioned by Defra, paid for by us, the taxpayer:  and has been met with a deafening silence. Not a peep out of the usual suspects, who are busy deepening the polemic between people running around with black and white cornflake packets on their heads, and farmers at the end of their tether trying to cope with ever increasing losses of reactor cattle (and sheep, pigs and goats)

In the first paper, Professor Wellington offered the following results of badger faecal samples taken in the summer:
* Sensitivity was 100 per cent

* Specificity 95.7 per cent
And she summed up the project, illustrating it thus:
"We suggest that a small number of social groups may be responsible for the majority of m.bovis shed in the environment and therefore present the highest risk of inward transmission".

This paper has now been accepted by and published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. It can be viewed on this link - [link] and here is its conclusion:
"In addition to being equally or more sensitive than live-trapping diagnostics, the qPCR assay with latrine samples benefits from being non-invasive and less logistically challenging than live trapping and testing.

Our study has identified the potential value of qPCR testing of fecal samples collected from latrines for monitoring M. bovis shedding in badger populations at the group level. This may prove to be a valuable adjunct to trapping and live testing in field studies to investigate the epidemiology of M. bovis spread in badger populations.

However, the approach could be implemented as an alternative to capture and testing when the cost of the latter may be prohibitive for monitoring disease risks over relatively large areas.

For example, qPCR testing of latrine fecal samples could be applied at the edges of the areas in which TB is currently endemic in the United Kingdom or throughout high risk areas, in order to provide spatial information on relative levels of environmental contamination, which may facilitate monitoring of spread and targeting of management."
So there we have it. A non invasive field test, offering 100 per cent sensitivity using latrine fecal samples taken in the summer, with which to identify those badger groups causing most of the upspill into other mammals, farmed or companions. A targeted management strategy.
The cost, Prof. Wellington puts at around £200 per sett tested (20 samples)

This is something many farmers have been pushing for, as contrary to perceived wisdom lobbed about by the badgerists, cattle farmers do welcome healthy badgers as part of the overall ecology.

We would also point out that Natural England has issued recent 007 licenses to an establishment in Somerset- [link] allowing the owner to euthanize infected badgers -[link] prior to releasing their 'rescued' companions. Is there a difference?

So, an open question to Dr. May, et al.
Now that Professor Wellington and her team have developed a non invasive field test to identify infected groups of badgers, and a test which has given such stunning results, would you oppose its use merely to keep alive such animals as this poor creature, below?

Sunday, August 09, 2015


If our Department of Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) are correct in their assertions that their latest toy, an interactive Map - [link] showing recent TB breakdown locations, was to 'prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis', how could they have presented it to those who are said to be the beneficiaries?

 There is restricted internet access known as Government Gateway - [link] which farmers and / or their agents, once verified, may enter with a Identification Number and a password. Those digits are unique to the registered user and this method of data exchange is compulsory now for many aspects of contact with Defra or its other agencies. It is secure. Vets have similar access to Animal Health sites.

 Government Gateway has a 'privacy policy'. The WorldWideWeb does not.

 So, musing on a Sunday afternoon - as one does - we wondered why this option was not considered for access to their new toy? Given that links which we have highlighted in a previous posting here - [link] and here - [link] give an insight into how the information is being used, by whom, and will, according to this man - [link] continue to be used, why was Government Gateway 'restricted access' not considered or given?

And if it was, but rejected, one can only assume that our posting below - [link] is correct and the consequences of Defra's actions, were entirely as expected.

The compilers of this data have specifically targeted farmers with the most recent TB breakdowns. The map shows no outbreak older than 5 years and has no record of TB outbreaks in llamas, alpacas, sheep, pigs, deer or goats. Thus blowing a rather large hole in Defra's weasel words explanations for its existence.

Farmers who are listed are thus sitting ducks. Cyber targets for bullying, intimidation, harassment or worse, courtesy of the Department charged with the eradication of zoonoticTuberculosis..

So does this map provide the 'biosecurity' which Defra say cattle keepers and vets want? We think not.

As we have pointed out, around a quarter of farms experiencing TB restrictions are not shown as the start of their outbreaks precede the 5 year window of this map. And no outbreaks in 'other species' are listed.

From past experience of Defra' s most extraordinary method of addition for overspill species outbreaks of TB, many in alpacas at least, will be 'tethered' to the original source and thus grossly understated.
For instance we are aware of one outbreak where over 100 alpacas were slaughtered. Animals sold, when traced had spread the disease to 8 or 9 other farms. But Defra's method of record keeping ensured just a single sample was listed which confirmed disease but also a single 'outbreak'. The other 8 or 9 were 'tethered' to the original farm. And a couple of hundred dead alpacas just 'disappeared.'

But back to our question. If restricted access by farmers and vets to this map was  considered - and rejected, who stands to gain from it? While many farmers are blissfully unaware of either its existence or the risk it poses to them and vets who have seen it are horrified, the Badgerist sites are crowing.

Comments such as 'Shining a light' on outbreaks are offered, as is the map being  'a Natural bactericide'.

We can read the runes, as can Defra. Using Badgerists to 'Stop the Cull'? Surely not.
Thus the question posed in our previous post, of consequences which were entirely intended by the Department of Food and Rural Affairs when publishing this thing, is repeated.

And once again, in our view, the inevitable outcome of its publication with unrestricted access, confirmed.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

(Un)Intended consequences?

We are still chewing the fat over Defra's publication on the WorldWideWeb, of recent bTB outbreaks (but none older than 5 years) and although usually erring on the side of cock up rather than conspiracy, we now begin to wonder.

 Today, Farmers Guardian published an article containing many quotes from people involved with the map - [link] and some from those on the receiving end.  Firstly from Defra, defending it publication:
A Defra spokesperson said: "We are not aware of any security risk to farmers as a result of ibTB.co.uk and no personal information is accessible through this website."

The map complies fully with the 1998 Data Protection Act and 2014 Tuberculosis Order, Defra said.
When detailed views of your farm are plastered all over the internet, a spurious postmortem of dated outbreaks given and field owners named,  we would say 'security' was seriously breached.
And the fact that the 2014 Tuberculosis Order was amended last year to allow this, escapes no one.

The relevant addition, after warnings about the need to keep records of herd restrictions for three years, is paragraph 4 which states:
"Where a bovine herd loses its tuberculosis-free status the Secretary of State may publish information regarding that herd in any form that the Secretary of State sees fit for the purpose of helping other persons to protect against the further spread of tuberculosis."
And that sounds fairly innocuous - as many of Defra's statements do. And if it were merely to allow alerts to go out to immediate neighbours of a new breakdown, that would be sensible. But as for 'protecting against the further spread of tuberculosis', that is rubbish. And Defra know it.

Any farm with a breakdown older than Oxford University's 5 year window, is not listed. And according to Defra's own figures that amounts to around 1500 cattle farms. And if Defra are really serious about advertising their appalling record on eradicating zoonoticTuberculosis to the world, and think this map will help prevent the spread, why not add outbreaks involving llamas, alpacas, pigs, sheep, bison and goats?
Eradication of zTB is not an 'option' for Defra. It has signed International obligations to do so.

So we return to our title: (Un) Intended consequences. Following the ISG's ten year debacle on dispersing infectious badgers, known as the RBCT and where its arch magician described 'the political steer' - [link] which was followed diligently from its inception, we return to his inevitable conclusion.
Culling badgers would not happen.

But those pesky farmers would not go away and Defra had to keep culling their cattle. Shame on them.
So, using NFU as leverage,  Defra slashed cattle valuations, loaded  extra (cattle) regulations, all designed  to seriously hamper trade while actually do nothing about a wildlife reservoir whatsoever. 

Nothing if not tenacious, those stubborn cattle farmers tried so very hard - [link] to comply with the crazy protocols set out by a quango known as Natural England and a couple of areas actually managed to produce a pilot cull. More were planned to follow as the results on TB breakdowns in cattle and animals slaughtered in the first two areas, are reported to be pretty spectacular.

This despite monumental interference, harassment and intimidation by activists terrorists - [link] who continue to show no remorse whatsoever for their actions. And of course, they are reveling in the latest high resolution sat-nav routes to our farms, where they plan to repeat them. A quote in Farmers Guardian's article from Tiernan:
"From a point of view of advertising where the breakdowns are, you can see on the maps that have gone up so far it would be quite easy to say 'this farm' and you can put a crosshair on those maps and you can reproduce that.

"The maps will provide us – and have provided us - with a far better idea of where we should prioritise looking after badger setts because where there has been a breakdown those farms are far more likely to not only have signed up for a badger cull but more than likely will be out there shooting the badgers themselves.

There will be more attention paid to those that have had a TB outbreak."
The Badgerists websites are peppered with 'illuminating' comments about the effect they expect from the information Defra's map has provided for them. Phrases such as 'shining a light' on outbreaks and a 'natural bactericide', imply a more than passing interest in farms thus labelled. We can read the runes if Defra cannot.

 As former Secretary of State, Owen Paterson commented:
"The [cull] policy had been compromised all along, he added. “The antis placed so many obstacles to make it fail. I cannot tell looking back whether they were inside Government, outside or both."
And our use of the word 'terrorist' is not overstating the situation. Dictionary definition:
"The practice of using violent and intimidating methods especially to achieve political ends." 
But is not putting sensitive and personal data on a public website, which may give those intent on preventing lawful activities,  in fact aiding and abetting such 'terrorism'? We would suggest it could be.

And these were precisely the actions for which Camel Ebola (aka Jay Tiernan) was served with an injunction to prevent. But will it? Now that he and others can add cyber bullying to their list of credits, courtesy of  Defra, our Department of  Food and Rural Affairs, charged with eradicating tuberculosis. Even from badgers.

So in all seriousness we ask if the 'Stop the Cull' campaign could be run from inside Defra?

Events we have listed in a brief chronology on this link  include the political shenanigans known as the RBCT,  the cats cradle of cull protocol dreamed up by Natural England for badger culls and now that the inevitable consequences of publishing this map, would support that conclusion.

In fact as cattle farmers, everything we have experienced over the last twenty years, lead us to postulate that these consequences were exactly as intended.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Dear Sir / Madame....

We gave our opinion of the amount of personal bTB data now available courtesy of Defra, Oxford University and assorted 'consultees' (NFU) and published on the WorldWideWeb, in the posting below - [link]

We are also of the opinion that the consequences of publishing such sensitive data would be manna from heaven to the Badgerists. Sharing TB breakdown information with a neighbouring farm is sensible.
Anything else is just plain mischief.

 At no point when an APHA official obtains signatures to buy steal a reactor cow, following a TB breakdown, is there a box to explain that this individual farmer's data may now be shared with a third party. In fact up until last year, it was impossible to prise out of animal Health the location of any neighbouring breakdowns due to 'Data Protection' laws.

So when personal Data is shared without the consent of the person to whom it refers, and is used in such a way to cause harassment,  intimidation - or worse, is there anything that can be done?

The answer is yes.

 Initially, any complaint should be made to the person or organisation who has caused the alleged problem. And helpfully a 'how to make a complaint' template is shown on the Information Commissioners Office website. We post this in full below:
Dear [Sir or Madam / name of the person you have been in contact with]

Information Rights Concern [Your full name and address and any other details such as account (or holding) number to help identify you]

I am concerned that you have not handled my personal information properly. [Give details of your concern, explaining clearly and simply what has happened and, where appropriate, the effect it has had on you.]

I understand that before reporting my concern to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) I should give you the chance to deal with it. If, when I receive your response, I would still like to report my concern to the ICO, I will give them a copy of it to consider.

You can find guidance on your obligations under information rights legislation on the ICO’s website (www.ico.org.uk) as well as information on their regulatory powers and the action they can take. Please send a full response within 28 calendar days. If you cannot respond within that timescale, please tell me when you will be able to respond.
If there is anything you would like to discuss, please contact me on the following number [telephone number].

Yours faithfully [Signature]
Another avenue of contact, if one wants to avoid this sort of harassment -[link -* may be broken] or this -[link] is the European Commission's site - [link] which deals with the 'Misuse of Personal Data'.

*The broken link on the BadgerKillers website had screen grab photographs of a farmer's buildings and farm, together with that of his neighbour.

Now to our cynical team, it is inconceivable that the consequences of putting this data up on the internet, was unforseen. And thanks to a joint effort by Defra and the NFU,  Camel Ebola, aka Jay Tiernan - [link] who the NFU are proud to have funded a High Court action against for harassment, intimidation and damage in the two cull areas, now has a high resolution, sat nav map to individual farms which have had a TB breakdown in the last 5 years.

Farmers Guardian have this week published a statement on Owen Paterson's - [link] time in office as Secretary of State. One paragraph stands out to us.

Speaking about the pilot culls, designed by Natural England  with their convoluted and costly protocols to be as unworkable as possible, Mr. Paterson remarked that the cull policy had been compromised all along.
“The antis placed so many obstacles to make it fail. I can’t tell looking back, whether they were inside Government or outside – or both,” he said.
Although Mr. Paterson has moved on, those 'obstacles' are still there, 'tuberculosis' being a name they never speak. But this latest bit of political chicanery, dressed as 'bio security' and delivered by a naive union,  is designed to arm their followers even more.

So to any cattle farmer unlucky enough to have become a victim of badger TB in the last 5 years (but not before) and who has not expressly given permission to the current Secretary of State via her agency, APHA to share details of a farm breakdown with the world in general, and Animal Rights activists in particular, to be picked over like vultures around carrion, maybe use the above template and make your feelings known?

Having successively removed the ability to control infectious badgers from farmers, taken licensing such an act 'in house',  and then refusing to take any action (even under license ) whatsoever, Defra have now made any cattle farmer unlucky enough, through no fault of their own, to suffer a TB breakdown, a sitting duck target for Animal Rights anarchists to shoot at and then chew over.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Has the NFU had the wool pulled over its eyes?

The title of this post is a strap line for an excellent letter in this week's Farmers Guardian, written by Worcestershire vet, David Denny B.VET.MED.M.R.C.V.S    (Sorry, no link)

Replying to Alistair Driver's piece on farmer frustration - [link] over a TB eradication policy which appears to have stalled, Mr Denny says: "
The NFU themselves must take much of the responsibility for “the anger of farmers over lack of progress with TB strategy” (Alistair Driver 03 July 2015). Instead of being myopic and having tunnel vision they should have looked at the whole scene. Typically they are concerned over the delay in the consultation and not the consultation itself. It being yet another layer of bureaucracy and inconvenience to farmers will have minimal impact on the overall bTB status of the Country. It is fiddling with trivia while the bTB crisis is allowed to escalate."
Our own opinion is that EU rules to be implemented this year equal much cost and bring no benefit. Post movement testing does not allow for isolation units of differing status on the same farm.
Explain that one to a buyer - and his neighbours within 3km.

Mr. Denny continues with a parallel of the rules of engagement for any war:
One of the principles of war in my day was “the selection and maintenance of aim”. Since only healthy badgers result in healthy cattle, the aim must be healthy badgers.
And criticising the politically corrupt RBCT - [link] he continues:
The NFU have been both na├»ve and gullible. They have been mushroomed and had the ‘wool pulled over their eyes’, by flawed and biased pseudo-science, by corruption, by brainwashed civil servants and deliberate political interference.

They have accepted all the evidence ‘carte blanche’ without reading the small print. It was always obvious that Natural England’s proposals for a badger cull were flawed and could only have been designed to deliberately fail or by those ignorant of badgers.

Frustrated and desperate farmers were morally and financially blackmailed into participating into virtually signing a blank cheque. It was a public relations disaster. Instead of having a targeted cull of the infected badgers, the NFU, like the British Veterinary Association (BVA), only having a second rate policy on offer, rubber stamped it. Now that the BVA have withdrawn their support a further roll out will be even more difficult to defend."
And Mr. Denny's opinions for the future of the livestock industry of this country?
"The 25 year eradication programme is ‘living in cloud cuckoo land’. As a result of negligence, corruption and political cowardice the level of bTB in the environment is now so great, that it will never ever be eradicated. It must however be controlled, by a targeted cull of the infected badgers."
And describing our own experience over the last decades, Mr Denny concludes:
The whole debacle has been fuelled and influenced by the animal rights lobby with their own cynical agenda. They are not concerned with the welfare of the terminally ill badger slowly dying from starvation and parasites with multiple abscesses in multiple organs. What is their agenda? Frustrated and desperate farmers require and deserve leadership and not a supine, submissive organisation. "
That is a pretty hard hitting letter, but events over the last decades reinforce Mr. Denny's views.

The 1972 Protection of Badgers Act took population control of this animal away from farmers and landowners and gave it to the Ministry. Anyone requiring a badger culled or moved for either disease or damage had first to jump through MAFF's hoops. The State Veterinary Service held a general license to comply with culling 'to prevent the spread of disease'. It issued these only after presenting a case to the Badger Panel, who met quarterly.
Speedy wasn't in the vocabulary and any licensed Badger Removal could be months, several 60 day tests and many more dead cattle after the original breakdown.
Did this serve the farmers or the badgers? Doubtful. Bureaucracy never does.
Who agreed it?.

In 1992 the Act was further tightened, and by now land available for Badger Removals had been ratcheted down from 7 km to just 1km and then only on land cattle had grazed. The badger population at this time was expanding - [link] at a rate of knots and was reported to have increased by 77 per cent.
Did this serve either farmers or badgers?
Who agreed it?

In 1997, in receipt of a £1m bung from the Political Animal Lobby, a moratorium was put on the section of the Act which dealt with licensed culls 'to prevent the spread of disease'. This is still in place.
Did that serve either farmers or badgers?
Who agreed it.

 In 2005 a consultation took place to introduce pre movement testing and Tabular valuation. The wording offered to Defra by the consultees was quite explicit - [link] They would reluctantly accept this, on the condition that a cull of infectious badgers was introduced at the same time.
It was not.

 In 2006 the licensing of badger removals and their house moves was passed to Natural England, under a 20 year lease. - [link] Did that move away from Animal Health to a quango intent on protection at any cost, serve badgers or this country's livestock farmers? Did anyone voice concerns on behalf of either group? Or ask for a rethink on the first available 5 year break in 2011? [ The next opportunity will be in 2016.]
They did not.

And during this last decade, after a raft of cattle measures designed to placate the ignorant and the badgerists, while doing absolutely nothing for the health and welfare of either cattle or badgers, this month Defra have surpassed themselves with the introduction of that Map - [link]

After a TB breakdown, a risk assessment form is filled out and shed load of paperwork arrives with instructions that Defra have 'purchased' the reactor animal (debatable - stolen would often be a better word, but let that pass) and that the breakdown information may be shared with your 'veterinary practitioner'. Nowhere does it say that my farm, and my location will be posted on the World Wide Web for all to see and possibly target.

Yes readers, dear old Camel Ebola, aka Gamal Eboe, described by the Daily Wail as a "convicted fraudster, the son of a wealthy Lebanese property developer who was born in the distinctly urban environs of Hammersmith in West London" and now calls himself 'Jay Tiernan' - [link] and who in later life has developed a love of all things badgery, may be poring over your farm details as we speak. And Defra have offered him a road map in high resolution of your farm.

Excellent. Thanks a bunch Defra ..... and your tame henchmen.

Leaving aside the inaccuracies and omissions in the map itself,  the 2014 Tuberculosis Order had to be changed to incorporate this little gem (Point 4): .
10 —(1) Where a skin test has been applied to a bovine animal, as soon as practicable after the results of the test have been read by an inspector or approved veterinary surgeon, the Secretary of State must give the keeper of that animal a written record of the results.

(2) Paragraph (1) does not apply to animals in respect of which movement is, or remains, prohibited under this Order following the test.

{3) The keeper of any animal to which paragraph (1) applies must— (a) retain the record of the results of the test for a period of three years and 60 days following the date bovine and avian tuberculin is injected; and (b) produce such record when requested to do so by an inspector.

(4) Where a bovine herd loses its tuberculosis-free status the Secretary of State may publish information regarding that herd in any form that the Secretary of State sees fit for the purpose of helping other persons to protect against the further spread of tuberculosis.
"Helping other persons to protect against the further spread of Tuberculosis" How so, when up to 80 per cent of TB breakdowns in endemic areas are caused by infectious wildlife?
When cattle in the increasing Red zone of a Defra map are nailed to floor with testing?
When Defra know that the problem is not in cattle?
And when this damn map doesn't even include 1500 farms shown on other Defra stats whose breakdowns precede the 5 year window?

Is this futile exercise to be like points on your driving license? A penalty for trying to farm cattle next to infectious wildlife which, having taken away farmer's rights to control, Defra now refuse to do?
Will records disappear after 5 years on the WWW?

Who exactly dared to breach my Data Protection and agree that little lot on my behalf?

Back to Mr. Denny's letter and the influence of our National Farming Union, credit for the map is described thus:
"Defra said the Bovine TB Eradication Advisory Group for England (TBEAG), the NFU and others ‘all provided positive input into the development of ibTB".
No consultation then? Keep it in the family?

NFU Deputy President Minette Batters said the new website would ‘help farmers find out about any ongoing bTB breakdowns near their farms which will help them make informed business decisions’.

No it won't. It is inaccurate and doesn't include TB breakdowns in alpacas, sheep, pigs, goats, bison or any other grazing animal. It ignores up to 1500 farms whose TB restrictions occurred prior to SAM data being lobbed to Oxford University to play with.
All that was necessary was the provision on a TB99 to inform immediate neighbours of a TB breakdown.

This high resolution map is dangerous and divisive and serves no useful purpose at all, except to advertise to the world what a weak and supine administration we have in this country when it comes to dealing with badgers infected with tuberculosis. Minette Batters added:
"However, there are genuine concerns over the fact that this information will be readily available to anyone, particularly given the problems farmers in Gloucestershire and Somerset have faced, and we will continue to work with Defra on this project.”
Concerns? Concerns?? Publishing this personal and in some cases 'delicate' data on the World Wide Web? Available for anyone - [link] to read, identify and worse?
Didn't anyone put their half brain into gear and realise how this thing could be used?

The best thing the NFU could do now would be to invoke Data Protection, consider the Human Rights of its livestock members caught between Brock and a hard place, and lobby Defra to take the damn thing down.

But on past experience, Defra has spoken and we are not holding our collective breath.