Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Poles apart.

A comment has come into the site today which we quote below:

"No one debates that badgers carry TB. However, there is no CONCLUSIVE PROOF that they are responsible for passing it to cattle and as such until this is found a cull of badgers in britain for this purpose is MORALLY and ECONOMICALLY wrong. Because it does not necessarily eliminate the problem, it is a myth it is also going to benefit the farming community. "

This from 'Emily' as a comment below our posting (see archive Nov. 2005. Dear Ben) describing the problems on the Miles' farm in the South of Cornwall. Mr. & Mrs Miles had lost half their herd to bTb, and had found several dead badgers the previous year on pasture land which the cattle grazed. Apart from one beef bull who had been on the farm and undergone regular routine tests, the herd was home bred.

Three contributers to this site are or were in the same postion. No bought in cattle for several years then a pernicious drip feed of infection into their cattle. It doesn't come with the man in the moon.

"Nobody debates that badgers carry Tb. " says 'Emily'.

And when they have been allowed to become infected with this Grade 3 pathogen (that's on a scale of 1-4, with 4 being the most virulent) what then? You think they keep it to themselves?
They spread it amongst themselves and into many other species. That is the nature of an 'infectious' disease - it infects. And tuberculosis is fatal. To anything that gets infected. Not straight away, but often many years hence. Just because the badger is such a successful host of this disease, and can survive, rear cubs and shed Tb for many years is no excuse whatsover to leave exposed to more infection, and to die a dreadful death from it, having spread it around the environment in the meantime. and if you're comfortable with 30,000 cattle slaughtered annually as Reactors to their Tb test, wait until the cat owners get fired up. Tb is now notifiable in all mammalian species.

You claim there is NO CONCLUSIVE PROOF (in capital letters so that we cannot miss your point). Well 'Emily' how much more CONCLUSIVE do you want than 100 percent?

At Thornbury, records show that after a sustained clearance of infected badgers there was 100 percent clearance of cattle tb. This was maintained over twelve years, and badger numbers by then had recovered to previous levels.

Parliamentary Questions asked the Minister what else could have affected this stunning result. They are all archived on this site by the way. They form its base in fact. And the answer from the Secretary of State to the Thornbury question was :
"no other contemporous change was identified that could have accounted for the reduction in Tb incidence within the area" . PQ’s (Hansard) 24th March 2004 Column 824W [157949]

Is that clear enough? Other PQ's told us that an infected badger could void 300,000 units of Tb bacteria in each 1 ml urine, if its kidneys were infected. It dribbled 30 ml in each squirt, and that only 70 units were needed to infect a cow. Also that although faeces were usually dropped in latrines, urinations took place at at pasture, in fact 30 percent of this highly infectious material was dribbled indiscriminately over grassland and cattle found that more difficult to avoid. In damp areas not exposed to the sun, this level of infection could survive for 'up to eleven months'. That last gem we believe was attributed to work done by Dr. Elaine King for her PhD at Bristol. In case you missed this, the title of the work was:
"Factors influencing the risk to cattle of infection with bovine tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis) from badgers (meles meles)"

You say that 'a cull of badgers is MORALLY and ECONOMICALLY wrong'

Why? Are you happy with the state of the ones we see dying of TB? If you are unfamiliar with the sight of a badger with tuberculosis, check out the posts below for some photos. They are an affront to anyone who dares to call themself an 'animal lover'. But economically, as we have said this disease has created its own momentum. A beneficial crisis, from which the main beneficiaries - and no, that is not farmers - check out the distribution of the budget - will take much levering.

The responsibilty for the clearance of any notifiable zoonosis is certainly not farmers. It is Defra's. That they have been less than enthusiastic about tackling this one - wherever it is found - is a question for them.

The losers 'Emily' are the badgers - a victim of their support group's 'success'. See below one which the RSPCA would describe as having 'a slight wheeziness'. :



George said...

The pathology of M.Bovis in the badger makes it inevitable that large numbers of organisms will be liberated to contaminate the environment of the sett - infecting other badgers - and the surrounding area - making it a risk to any other mammalian species. This includes cattle, deer, cats, and you and your children.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting George.

Could you give us references for the evidence to support your statements, and perhaps some assurances as to your qualifications regarding badger pathology.

I'm sure folks reading this would be intereted in some decent science for a change!

Anonymous said...

Like Bourne's you mean?