We have pointed out before on this blog, that the oft quoted 14 million animal movements alleged to be fuelling bovine Tb, is a huge exaggeration. What is 'moving' is paperwork.
When an animal leaves a holding, the owner has to lodge an 'Off' movement notification with the British Cattle movement Service (BCMS) and when the same animal arrives at its destination, the new owner fills in similar paperwork as an 'On' movement. So 2 paper movements = a single animal movement. If the animal is traded via a market then 4 'movements' are generated . One 'Off' farm, one 'On' market, then 'Off' market and 'On' to new premises.
All these paper 'movements' including those to abattoirs, either directly or via a market generate the same data, but as far as the spread of disease is concerned the numbers to slaughter can be discarded. It is the movement of bovines onto another farm, which are of interest in controlling any infectious disease. And the numbers generated by the BCMS show not 14 million of those (as stated in public most recently as the ISG meeting in January by Professor Bourne). Not even 4 million.
The figure of 14 .6 million BCMS attribute to the total 'paper' data generated by all movements, 'On' and 'Off' and including markets and slaughterhouses and showgrounds.
The actual single 'On' movement that matters is of a bovine to another farm, and that figure is somewhat more realistic. 2,718,599.
So the correct figure as far as disease control is concerned for England, Scotland and Wales is 2.7 million. Or a substantially different figure from that expounded by many 'experts' led by the diminutive John Bourne. So a mischievious mistake or a misleading statement? In any event, an unchallenged one which was made to several groups of scientific and political audiences.