Thursday, April 28, 2005

'Identify and get rid of the Source'....

Two comments on the post describing cattle to cattle controls which failed in the Republic of Ireland (below) referred to measures adopted by a Cornish Divisional Veterinary Officer, 30 years ago. As our current Lords and Masters seem hell bent on repeating past futilities, on our reader's behalf, we thought it appropriate to find out exactly what measures had been taken, and what was the result.

Our information (from retired vetenarians) is that to clear bTb 'once and for all' from the west of Cornwall, in 1972 a Scotsman, Mr. William Tate was dispatched south to "identify and get rid of the source". Like some of his colleagues today, Mr. Tate concentrated on the reservoir of what he assumed was 'undiscovered bTb in the cattle'. Early infections, not flagged up by the skin test he felt were undermining the whole bTb eradication process. The comment on the blog pointed out that under his direction, 'severe interpretation' was applied to all tests, routine or 60 day. No prisoners were taken, but Mr. Tate we have been told, went far beyond that. He was 30 years ahead of the Ministry in constructing a mountain of 'cohorts'. If a reactor was revealed in a defined group of cattle - he slaughtered the lot as 'dangerous contacts'.

So, severe interpretation on all tests - that's only a +3 ml difference on a bovine reaction - and all animals in the group slaughtered if one failed. But Mr. Tate was looking for animals undisclosed by the skin test. Did he find them?

No, he did not. And neither did he reduce the level of reactors in west Cornwall . How could he, when the maintenance reservoir was not in the cattle at all. . . ?

The second comment from 'George', refers to Mr. Tate's frustration and stress in not fulfilling his goal. If this blog can make known the 'mistakes' of the past, so they are not repeated by naive opportunists and scientific lightweights of the present, then those mistakes will not have been made in vain.

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