Hard on the heels of its 'Back off Badgers' campaign, where instead of putting its not inconsiderable weight behind persuading government to use the technology already existing to effectively diagnose and eradicate Tb in both cattle and badgers (and anything else into which it has now spilled) the RSPCA has produced its own Enid Blyton 'factfile' on bTB. Their fact sheet (Know Your Facts! pdf) includes statements such as:
"In the few badgers that do have symptoms, they are wheeziness and loss of weight and condition. There may be some skin ulceration."
When postmortemed badgers reveal lungs and vital organs a mass of abscesses and lesions, one could be forgiven for pointing out that that the terms 'wheeziness' and 'loss of weight' may be a tad understated. The pictures provided to this site show these animals have died in agony. Emaciated, battle scarred, abscessed and starving. One would presume that the RSPCA would not hesitate to prosecute should a dog, cat or any other domesticated animal be allowed to deteriorate into such condition, so what's so special about badgers? What sort of animal welfare is it that ignores or denies a highly infectious zoonosis, endemic in some badger populations and leaves them to die like this?
As for 'wheeziness', we would (with respect of course) point out that lungs affected by tuberculosis - it used to be called consumption- mean that the host sufferer eventually drowns in a haemorrhage of blood and pus as lesions burst. (see horrendous photo on link)
In the light of our photographs, the society may like to reconsider its title.
Royal Society for Promotion of Cruelty to Animals may be more apt. Or are some animals more equal than others?
Pictorial and horrific evidence that badgers do indeed suffer when TB is left within the wildlife reservoir - as it is in parts of the UK. The RSPCA - for reasons one finds hard to understand - play down the effects of TB in badgers. This postmortem was carried out by veterinary personnel; the lesions were ripe and the liquid is pus, which gushed out as they cut. This is what happens to a tuberculous lesion.
Warning: The following photo should offend.