Monday, August 09, 2004

"Huge reservoir of undiscovered Tb"

" The onus is on those disputing the role of the badger as a significant reservoir of infection, to offer an alternative to this hypothesis"
Dr. Richard Clifton-Hadley. Veterinary Laboratories Agency.
'The Age of Reason'. 1996.

The people Dr. Clifton-Hadley referred to as 'Those' have already targeted Bambi, (see Dear, Dear Deer - archived on this site) but between 1997 and 2002 in 6 years, only 22 cases of Tb were confirmed in wild deer, and 21 in farmed deer by VLA, so Bambi it ain't..

So where is this huge reservoir of undiscovered Tb that is letting the badger of the hook? This site has reported the Irish cattle / cattle trials and their conclusions, but so called 'slaughterhouse cases' are also worthy of a mention.

Every animal slaughtered in a UK abattoir (including all OTM cattle) must undergo an inspection by Meat Hygiene Service personel for amongst other diseases - Tb.

So how many did they find? Thousands? There must be to fuel such an exponential rise in cattle Tb.

In the last 3 years data ( 2000 - 2002) MHS sent away 818 samples for culture.
Out of those, an average of 103 per year have been confirmed as positive.

To put this into context, the average annual kill for beef animals and OTM stock is :
3.1 - 3.4 MILLION animals. (Ref: Intervention Board / Defra Stats. York / HMSO )

So a really big reservoir then? An average of 103 in each of the last 3 years out of over 3 million killed?

And in Mr. Paterson's PQ's, a follow up question on this subject (28th Jan Col 383W) led our Ben to reveal that: "The proportion of Tb incidents detected at slaughterhouses is lower in parishes where herds are tested more frequently, in other words frequent tuberculin testing reduces the risk that diseased cattle are disclosed during slaughterhouse inspection".

Are we to assume from this statement, that most of these slaughterhouse cases are found where Defra least expected them? That is in areas of 4 year cattle testing? Well, well, well.

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