We are most grateful to receive practical comments and proposals from people actually involved in the field of wildlife management, rather than 'intructions from on high', from those involved in skewed desk work, and a comment posted to the site today, we are raising in profile to a posting.
"As somebody who has worked on various culling methods/strategies over the past 13 years or so, including the Krebs Trial,I feel qualified to add to this debate. Krebs has proven one thing, and one thing only- that there is a proven link between the spread of TB in cattle and that in badgers.
If you accept the theory that the Reactive culling operations caused the perturbation(dispersal) of badgers, which made the TB situation even worse elsewhere, you have to accept that the link does indeed exist. We have over 100 staff with literally a thousand years of hands on experience between them, who have a clear view on what must happen to reduce/eradicate the disease- that is, break the cycle by slaughtering the infected cattle and do the same in the wildlife population. It might be unacceptable for the general public to accept that 1000s of badgers might die in the process, but that will have to be the bitter pill to swallow !
All of the fieldstaff working on Krebs have felt the frustrations of having to carry out their operations to a very prescriptive method. It does not allow for any common sense approach to what is often a practical problem that could be easily solved if only.......common sense could be used !!
The way forward now, is to try to get ahead of the disease. Playing catch up has never worked, due mainly to the red tape and bureaucracy attached to the policies that were in force at the time. There were/are some utterly ridiculous restrictions/limitations on what is allowed or not allowed when catching infected badgers.This has frustrated the hell out of who are/were( they are now being made redundant) very willing and able field staff.
PCR machines, on the face of it, could prove to be very usefull. Testing setts, determining the TB status of it, as a precursor to a removal licence being issued is surely an acceptable way to move forward ?
If common sense is allowed to rule, we have a chance to move ahead with the battle against this disease. If we leave it to those who think they know the best way forward, we had just as well give up on the whole thing right now and allow nature to ruin the cattle industry totally. Financing trial after trial, review after ereview, is wasting valuable time. Cull infected badgers, close down their infected setts, slaughter infected cattle, use pre/post-movement testing and the answer is theer for all to see- a clear way forward that will soon produce acceptable results. Why are we waiting ?? "
There is nothing we could add to that, except to remind readers that our Minister for Conservation and Fisheries has introduced one very good measure this month.
He has made mycobacterium bovis - bTb notifiable in all mammalian species. Up to now any cat, dog or pet pig which has succombed has cost its owner something over £100 for a SVS postmortem. And still we have in excess of 25 (non - farm) cats positive for bTb in the last couple of years - and no doubt some very distressed owners.
Thankyou again for the post.