Thursday, January 13, 2005

"The NFBG is not against culling infectious badgers"

That statement was made by Pauline Kidner who runs Secret World badger sanctuary in Somerset. The venue was a meeting to discuss the Krebs' trial concept in Gloucestershire in 1997. Farmer June Pain, whose herd had been completely wiped out by tuberculosis, organised it. Speakers John Bourne (and from the audience Professor Stephen Harris) described the 'trial', Chris Cheeseman and Richard Clifton- Hadley added their input, and NFU's Brian Jennings provoked the most unexpected reaction from Ms. Kidner.

"The NFBG is not against culling infectious badgers".

The audience of 300 people (including 2 of the authors of this site) and the press were delighted to hear it. So building on the Irish report which mirrors every other report done into the subject, perhaps in the 21st century we can move the action on a tad, and identify said "infectious badgers" which the NFBG are on record as neither wanting to defend, nor condemn to a slow painful death.

We have already reported the launch of a British PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) diagnostic tool on this site. We would also point at that the author of extraordinary critique of the Irish 4 area study - Donelly et al - is likely to be the same 'Donnelly' of FMD computer modelling fame who notoriously turned down Fred Brown's offer of an American PCR to better target FMD culls. That resulted in the carnage by Defra's computer of 11 million animals.

Now we have a British machine - better late than never - so no excuses for not using it please.

Would we not stand a better chance of 'selling' a targeted badger cull, to the Treasury, the public and our consumers if identification of those "infectious badgers" which the NFBG are not going to defend, was more certain? At the moment it's a case (like in FMD) of taking out a swathe of animals in the hope of getting the percentage which are in fact causing the problem.

How much better to move the technology forward and be certain that a group of badgers or their sett is infected, then for the benefit of all the ecological spill overs of tuberculosis, not least the badgers themselves, clear that sett in its entirety.

This machine we understand, is 100 percent specific to m.bovis, and can be used on farm to give a result from any body fluid (blood, urine, sputum or pus) in under half an hour.

The answer to a maiden's - or Bradshaw's - prayer?

No comments: