Friday, March 31, 2006

More from Wales - and a name they dare not speak..

In our posting You'll find a Welcome in the Hillsides...: , we told you of problems on the playing fields of two small schools in Wales, Dolfur and Kerry. Badgers were digging up the areas where the children played and Tb levels among the Welsh school children were rising, in this area and in the Rhonda.

This week local newspaper, The County Times reported further developments in the ongoing saga:

"THE mother of a young TB victim is angry over the lack of information available to her about the source of her daughter’s illness. Donna Jones’ four year old daughter was diagnosed last year with Atypical TB. She has since been unable to find out anything more about the likely cause than it has an ‘environmental source’.

This news comes in the same week the Government announced the number of TB cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland had risen to over 7,000 a year - the highest since the 1980s.

In October 2005 Donna Jones’ daughter Emma developed two lumps on her neck which on first examination doctors believed were caused by a glandular problem. The lumps on Emma’s neck later burst and a consultant paediatrician from the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital diagnosed her as suffering from Atypical TB.

Emma was prescribed a course of two separate antibiotics to take for six months. Donna’s distress over her daughter’s illness is borne out of her frustration at not being able to find what causes the illness, and how and why her daughter contracted it when her three other children have remained unaffected.“All anyone will tell us is that she may have caught it from wildlife, I’ve asked the local vets and they say they don’t know anything about it but I want to know where, how and what she has caught it from,” said Donna, who lives in Kerry.“I’m annoyed I cannot find the information I want. I want to know where she has caught it from and how come my three other children haven’t been affected,” she said.“There is no information saying if she should be in school, there is no information on how she can contract it, I want the truth and some honest answers.”

Donna quizzed Emma’s consultant paediatrician and local GPs on the infection but says they only confirm the illness has an environmental source. A spokesman for the National Public Health Service said: “There is no such condition as Atypical TB, it is a mycobacterial infection which can cause a whole range of infections some of which are TB.” He said that mycobacterial infections are usually acquired from the environment but transmission can occur from animals to humans although it is not common."

County Times 30 March 2006

This child developed lumps on her neck, which later burst, and were described as "Atypical Tuberculosis, which she may have contracted from wildlife". Sounds fairly 'typical' to us. Lumps / lesions in neck or throat glands which then burst? Something like this then.


Anonymous said...

The wait is over! The Meatrix II: Revolting is now live at - check it out.

Matthew said...

And your point is..?

Your 'religion' re meat eating v. vegetarianism is your own business, but we think you're on the wrong site.

exoSETT said...

This reminds me a similar instance in 1997 of a local young child who was taken poorly and following many visits to the family GP and the local hospital for treatment everybody feared for the child’s life.

Fortunately and by pure good luck the young child was eventually examined by an Asian doctor from Macclesfield Hospital who immediately diagnosed TB – the child was operated on and apart from some scars recovered very well. The authorities did not bother look into the fact that the child lives in the countryside – on a hill farm – whose family enjoyed feeding the local badgers on their front field / lawn. I personally knew the family quite well and discussed the matter with child’s mother at the time.

A short time later a local school in the same constituency had a problem with badgers on its sports ground – the local New Labour MP was able to secure funding to the tune of £30,000 (at tax payers expense) to enable fencing to be erected – the cost being so high because the fencing needed to be buried five feet below ground level.

To her credit Ms Charlotte Atkins MP secured emergency debating time in the Commons to arguing for action to be taken to deal with diseased badgers.

Anonymous said...


16:00 - 30 March 2006

It was interesting to read the case for badger culling as put by George Mudge in his letter of March 16. His case was considerably weakened however not only by his apparent ignorance of the findings of the exhaustive research done over the last eight years (as outlined in Jon Hooper's letter on same letters page) but also by some other facts about which he is also, possibly, ignorant.

Over the last few decades the badger population has indeed increased dramatically.

This is due to the intensive grazing of livestock on the artificially planted and heavily fertilised grassland which now makes up most of our non-arable farmland.

The resulting short grass makes it much easier for badgers to find their main food which is earthworms. This in turn has the effect of ensuring that more badger cubs survive into adulthood.

The farmers seem to be suffering from a badger population explosion of their own making. A badger cull is pointless if we don't drastically modify the agricultural practices that cause the problem in the first place. Less intensive livestock farming would give us healthier animals and fewer, healthier badgers.

It is the farming practices outlined above along with the early cutting of silage to feed the excessive livestock population which is responsible for the demise of most of the ground nesting birds and most of the other wildlife in these areas.

We know this because it has been the subject of huge amounts of research done by reputable wildlife conservation bodies such as the RSPB, Devon Wildlife Trust and the Mammal Society.

Mr Mudge should clearly be reading more of their research before making his bold claims. This is a far more reliable source of real information on the problem than Mr Mudge's interpretation of the "major facts expressed" by one Dr John Gallagher.

Also the reason behind the decline of hedgehog numbers in recent years is not yet known to be due to badgers as Mr Mudge confidently asserts. Far more likely culprits are motor traffic increases, slug pellets or other garden and agricultural chemicals.

We need to modify our shopping habits to release our farmers from the grip of the supermarkets so that healthy sustainable agriculture can thrive. We need to eat less meat and value it higher, we need to spend more money on our food and less on cars, destructive jet flights and ridiculous housing costs.

Perhaps this is what our politicians, even the amateurs, should be working toward rather than the uninformed scapegoating and politically convenient papering over the cracks that a badger-cull represents.


Summerland Street,


Matthew said...

Thanks ExoSett. i believe we covered the Fence fiasco on the blog. Every farm should have one.

Anonymous: "Intensive farming causes an increase in the badger population,which in turn causes Tb?" So it's the farmer's fault anyway. Is that your point?

Below a thumbnail sketch of Matt 5, our Northern contributer whose farm is not by any stretch of the imagination 'intensive', but it's a nice thought. And the Badger Trust deny any such population explosion has taken place at all. Throughout this site you will find examples of the shaky foundations and gross mishandling of Krebs - as described by those of us who were unfortunate enough to be involved. The only thing the "last eight years" has shown is how not to do something. There was LBB (Life Before Bourne) - but to read his letters and more particularly his references in Veterinary journals, one could be forgiven for thinking that 'Bourne FJ, Donnelly and Woodruffe were the magic (un peer reviewed) circle around which the Tb universe revolved.

And don't forget that this was the scientist who counted postcards not bovines for 3 years.

"Matthew 5 farms 80 acres in the Peak District which could be described as 'cattle heaven'.
Sensitively and organically managed, just 19 Angus suckler cows and their new calves, last years' calves and nearly fat beef cattle from 2 years ago, graze herb rich pastures. Or did until Tb struck in 1999.

The farm is a family concern and since the area was accredited in the 1950's had experienced no problems.

But in recent years, such was the explosion of bTb in the area that Matthew 5's neighbour had a whole herd taken 2 years ago. His own farm has lost 9 of these lovely cattle, all in calf and 2 had suckled calves at foot which were also slaughtered, in a breakdown which lasted 4 years. (1999 - 2003)

Matthew's farm is in a Reactive zone of Krebs, but because the holding was already under restriction when the 'trial' started, did not qualify for a badger removal.
(We 've heard of several little mini hotspots within Krebs like this. Who dreams up these rules? ) Only if Matthew's herd went clear, and then under restriction again would the wildlife team move in.
The neighbouring farm which lost the whole herd was in a Proactive triplet, and action was taken there to clear the setts.

In spite of having 2 clear tests in 2003, Matthew 5's herd was kept under restriction, because the neighbouring farms were having such horrendous problems. As one neighbour is under restriction again, Matthew is under a '6 month testing' regime. He expects to have reactors at his autumn test.

Matthew has received detailed and specific instructions for the use of protective clothing and gloves while mending his stone walls. As the stiles are 'rambled over' by not only the general public, but hundreds of badgers, who also use them as latrine marking places, Matthew is worried as to the long term health of his (two legged) visitors.

A large estate near to Matthew 5 also have organic Aberdeen Angus cattle.
They do not have a problem with Tb.

They employ 5 gamekeepers."