Ever vigilant, Muckspreader (Private Eye) has been reading the veterinary comments emerging from the Krebs trial and concludes that the RBCT was never designed to work at all:
"Even Defra admits that the percentage of badgers culled was sometimes as low as 20 percent. Prof.Bourne has admitted in the Veterinary Record that his staff were not allowed into a third of the land chosen for study. Meanwhile the tragedy rolls on: for farmers, for cattle, for taxpayers, and for all those sick badgers, condemned to a lingering death, only because humans became so blinded by sentimentality that they allowed badger numbers to explode to a level nature could no longer tolerate.."
And from a landowner who also happens to be a member of the RCVS, yet another damning indictment of skewed 'science'.
"As a landowner in one of the 'trial' areas, I had the dubious pleasure of being invited and attending Professor Bourne's meeting to explain the aims and implementation of the Krebs trial to landowners. (Mmm, us too. Good weren't they?)
His presentation was fluent, forceful and full of spin. During the presentation, he pontificated on some events in the history of badger / bovine TB in Dorset. Unbeknown to him, these were events that I had been personally involved with and knew full details of.
It was very educational to me.
I realised that he was describing the facts in a strictly accurate - yet totally misleading - way, so the impression given was the opposite to the truth."
(Well there's a surprise - doesn't he always? - ed) The letter continues:
" That the trial is severely flawed - in my opinion, fatally so - is self evident to any objective scientist. A sound experiment, for that is what the 'trial' purported to be, depends on knowledge of, and control of, all the variables. This trial had no control.
In the 'proactive' areas no culling took place during the lactating periods, and 20 percent of the babgers were left behind. (In our patch we reckon it was more like 80 percent left behind - ed) It would seem that there was, effectively, not a great deal of difference between proactive and reactive areas." (Err there was. At least in the proactive, eventually the Wildlife teams actually turned up. In some of the reactive areas, not a sign. Sick badgers and dead cattle, but no diminutive professors with cage traps. But we digress - the writer explains further:)
"When one allows for the unofficial culling that took place in the no treatment areas, these results are skewed. No matter how the statistics are applied (we prefer 'tortured' - ed) the conclusions drawn can be challenged by a competent sixth former.
Over the past 25 years or more, many veterinary officers have diligently collected masses of data on thousands of breakdowns, and have had their work scrutinised by a sceptical mini panel. All that work, together with that of the veterinary investigation officers, has been effectively been ignored by both Krebs and Bourne. The results of the inquiry and the trial appear to have more to do with egos of eminent men, than science or truth. Bourne's insulting personal response to the points raised by Paul Caruana is no less than I expected from this most arrogant of men."
That broadside, with which we fully agree, was launched by John Cohen, BVetMed, MRCVS of Chard, Somerset, and printed in Veterinary Times, June 12th.