... but shows no sign of delivering the 'pro quo'.
'Quid pro quo' : something given or taken as equivalent to another.
In the Industry Strategy on bTb worked out representatives of veterinary groups, SVS and cattle farmers, the proposals came as a package of measures, all of which were to be instigated concurrently and parallel. The cattle industry reluctantly accepting the high profile (but of little disease control) pre movement testing - which even our Ben accepts would miss 60 percent of cases of bTb. And believing that providing the wildlife source was tackled in a meaningful way and numbers of cattle slaughtered fell dramatically, then the proposed flat rate valuation could and should be enhanced once again by farmer's own insurance in quite a short space of time. That to go hand in hand, or quid pro quo with decisive actions on wildlife sources of the disease - and all at the same time. Concurrent.
So what has our Minister of Fisheries and Conservation announced?
February sees both cattle measures introduced. Pre-movement testing on the 20th. and tabular valuation on the 1st. And the wildlife? A consultation with options designed to scare the badger groups witless and further polarise opinions - and options.
One may say the Minister proposes to take the quid, and has not delivered the pro quo. Neither we suspect has he any intention of so doing.
Granted his appearance on the media was designed to appease the farmers. He was pressing - as they say - all the right buttons. But the bottom line is that the cattle industry faces costly and restrictive practices while the reservoir in wildlife flourishes unchecked.
We have pointed out before on this site that cattle farmers in areas of high tb incidence are unable to get insurance cover for the disease. The proposed tabular valuation is based only on 'market value', which means exactly that. Draft sales, specialist sales, breed sales and private pedigree sales are not included. So is just £500 / head a good enough incentive for farmers to do Defra's work for them? We hear that the wildlife teams are being stood down, and this week CSL (Central Science Laboratory) are advertising for applicants 'with 5 GCSE's' (sociology, media studies and IT?) to count badger setts. Oh and just to really stuff the job, Defra have no intention of using PCR technology to identify infected badger setts - even though they could - if they wanted to.
John Bourne has scrambled an interim report together, which delivers exactly as predicted - not a lot. Well what did you expect using cage traps, 57 percent of which were 'interfered with' and 12 percent 'disappeared'? That combined with an arbitary line as an 'edge' to the RBCT zone which moved in the duration, including different farms halfway through the 'trial', and thus excluding others, and encouraged the chaos of perturbation at its 'soft' and fluid perimeter. All this they knew at the start - and were reminded in spades. You really couldn't make it up. And they call this 'science'?