The headline and front page of this weeks' Veterinary Times highlights the submission by Paul Caruana who was part of Defra's Wildlife Unit, and who entered a personal submission to the EFRA commmittee, describing the Krebs' RBCT as "having too many flaws to be taken seriously".
In our posts below, we forecast the demise of this highly competent unit. Mr. Caruana's statement is also listed.
"Defra Employee Blasts ISG over Culling trials."
A submission to the EFRA committee by a Defra employee has slammed the Independent Scientific Group's (ISG) badger culling trials.
Veterinarians and bovine tb experts, Dr. John Gallagher and John Daykin called the information contained in Paul Caruana's submission "dynamite".
Dr. Gallagher told the Veterinary Times "This submission shows how the ISG badly mismanaged this trial and refused to listen to those with practical knowledge who could have done the job properly, if allowed".
Defra's badger culling consultation has attracted more than 41,000 responses: the biggest interest to date in a public consultation. most of the responses are thought to have been promoted by public campaigns orchestrated by the RSPCA and the Badger Trust.
Dr. Gallagher said that these groups had used (the first year results ) the ISG's badger culling trial to back up their arguments. "Assertions based on the findings of the recently completed culling trials have been used as 'hard factual evidence' by welfare groups who've been saying that culling (badgers) does not resolve the TB problem in cattle"
Paul Caruana, field manager at the Defra wildlife unit, Polwhele, Cornwall was unapologetic when offering his submission to the EFRA committee. ........ He outlined that the Krebs trial had too many anomalies and weaknesses in its strategy for it to be successful. "It took us four years to steer away from trapping setts that had been interfered with by animal rights activists, to being able to trap badgers anywhere in order to eliminate them. That was only one of a raft of operational problems we faced and had to endure".
Mr. Caruana said he did not believe scientists had all the answers, and added "most certainly, Krebs doesn't". According to him, the trial had far too many flaws to be trusted to produce meaningful evidence. ......... The whole basis of the trial was to remove badgers off the ground and this, said Mr. Carauna was "farcical " due to restrictions that were placed on staff.
Professor John Bourne, chairman of the ISG has repeatedly stated that the trials represent 'robust science', but Mr. Caruana disagreed with this assessment of events. His condemnation of the trial is unequivocal. "How much weight do we give the latest ISG report detailing 'robust' findings to the minister? If it were down to my staff and myself - very little".
John Daykin who is based in East sussex, said "The evidence in Paul's statement is a shocking indictment of the implementation of badger culling in the experimental triplets. It provides clear evidence that the ISG refused to change course despite repeated entreaties from from operatives carrying out the work at the sharp end. It is vital, that such significant information is looked at in depth by Parliament, before any pronouncements are made on the badger culling consultation."
Dr. Gallagher said that all other badger culling trials conducted in Britian and Ireland had been carried out to a proper standard. He concluded "It is only the ISG's trials that have produced these totally spurious findings, and it is these that the RSPCA and Badger Trust have used".
This front page article also carries a comment:
Where are we now?
"New evidence questioning the efficiency of the ISG's culling trials .... brings many questions to the surface about the ongoing bTb debate.
Do the criticisms that have been levelled at the trials mean that the ISG has in effect, misled ministers and therefore Parliament?
And does this new evidence mean that that the results of the RBCTs are totally discredited?