Wednesday, March 08, 2006

"Devastated and bloody Angry"

The words of a Welsh farmer who in 1973 bought 18 foundation cows to start his dairy herd.

Since then he has purchased - nothing. All his cattle are bred from those original cattle. But he is now experiencing the misery of a Tb breakdown, about which he can do absolutely nothing.
We know the feeling.

Full story:


Andrew said...

I run a CLOSED herd of 150 Pedigree Holstein Freisians in West Wales. I lost one cow with TB on February 1st. DEFRA subsequently wanted to take five more IR's under the severe interpretation rule all the way to an abattoir in Gloucester. In order to prevent the unnecessary journey I had to witness them being shot on the yard in front of me. One of them was a fresh calved heifer and the other four were within three months of calving. One of them classified VG, two GPs and a lovely strong uncalved heifer out of a VG dam with a VG 2nd calf sister. Two of them were over eight years old - and beautiful animals. Not a blind quarter / high cell count / lame foot / kicker or barren amongst them and when they cut 'em up - not a trace of TB either.

No animals in, no off farm grazing, no contact with neighbouring stock... we all know where this disease comes from.

Matthew said...

Thanks for that Andrew.
Concern for animals can be very selective I think.
Three of the farmers who run this site have wept buckets over seeing superb cattle, some heavily in calf, loaded up to be shot. Our Derbyshire contributer has organic Angus cattle, Friesians and Dexters come from a Staffordshire herd and we, like you had pedigree holsteins. What I don't think any of us have had to witness was their actual death.
You have our sympathy.

A Ross said...

I sympathise with all of the farmers who have lost well-loved animals to bTB, or the ineffective test we are lumbered with.
While I agree that there is likely to be some infection from badgers to cattle, and that this should be prevented, I think there are some basic points which need to be addressed.
The results of the study by the ISG clearly show that unless badgers are exterminated across very large areas of the country, the 'edge effect' will likely cause an increase in bTB. Obviously nobody wants that. To avoid it, ALL badgers in a very large area would need to be killed. This is simply not possible. Therefore, a wholesale badger cull is unworkable as a cure for the problem. What is needed is a decent test for bTB in both badgers and cattle, which does not give the high rate of error of the current test. Once bTB is detected or suspected in an area, all cattle and all badgers would be tested, and only those with the disease would be killed, leaving the healthy animals alive. This would not only minimise the number of cattle which would need to be killed, but would also reduce the 'perturbation' of the badgers' territories. As most of us farmers/landowners are unwilling/unable to catch and kill badgers, this should be done by Defra, and supervised by badger experts. Using this system, in conjunction with a vastly improved movement testing regime (using the new improved test), should quickly reduce the incidence of bTB over large areas, and avoid many of the problems associated with a wholesale cull of wildlife.
Initially, the movement testing regime should be stepped up, at Defra's expense, to prevent any movement of infected cattle to new areas. After all, this is how bTB spread to many areas after Foot & Mouth.

Matthew said...

We have placed your comment up as a posting so that we may comment on it in more detail.

Thankyou for joining the debate.