With apologies to Henry Ford, that was the message from Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Margaret Beckett MP at the launch today of Defra's pre movement testing regime. But then again Mrs. Beckett is used to 'freebies' at the taxpayers' expense, the Mail on Sunday reporting that she was one of three Cabinet ministers claiming £70K each for 'mortgage benefit payments' on properties which either did not have a mortgage, or had a smaller one than was being claimed for. Now ain't that a surprise?
For Mrs. Beckett the figure quoted was £69,757 on a mortgage of .... nil.
We will look( the lady said) at any solution 'farmers' propose - as long as it does not involve Defra in any more costs. Anything? Ahh, you want us to cull those pesky tuberculous badgers and get you off the hook do you? Gorrrdon Brown getting short of the readies is he? No more pension funds to raid? Defra under pressure from the Treasury then?
Sorry readers - between non existant mortgages and Treasury rip offs, we digress.
We have explained our opposition to pre movement testing many times on this site. Not because the intradermal skin test is rubbish. It is not. But because of a) the false sense of security it may give to cattle buyers who do not fully understand its latency - including the 8 week post test exposure period and the most curious exclusion of cattle under 15 months for this year - and b) without action on the maintenance reservoir of bTb, it will have minimal effect at all on bTb, but will cost the industry a packet. Been there, done that.
see : http://bovinetb.blogspot.com/2005/05/to-test-or-not-to-test.html
and : http://bovinetb.blogspot.com/2005/06/pre-movement-testing-sorry-we-got-it.html
We also described for our readers the previous attempts by Ireland and Cornwall to control bTb with only this spanner in the toolbox. It didn't work then, and it will not work now. But hey, it's the farmers who are paying - so what the heck....
And the coverage of cattle "pre movement tested, to prevent the spread of bovine TB" on breakfast TV was very convincing. Naive, ill informed if not downright misleading maybe .... but convincing nontheless. And not even the vet (Andrew Biggs) happily jabbing cattle, brought up the instances of farmers like our Matthew 1 (below) and others on this site who have 'No bought in cattle' to blame for ongoing, pernicious, stressful and expensive breakdowns.