Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The survivor.

After an (almost) complete cull of ministerial staff in Defra recently, only our own little Ben, Rear Admiral Bradshaw survived. Years ago he reportedly told enquirers that his policy for bTb was "not to be in the hot seat when action needed to be taken". Well folks, he's still there. He's cogitated, created committees and stakeholder groups, and most recently asked for a public consultation on culling badgers. One may ask of the latter, why? as the responsibility for control of a grade 3 pathogenic zoonosis is wholly and completely - Defra's.

As government sneak through a fast track method of what is euthemistically called 'ventilation shut down', in the event of bird flu striking intensove flocks of chooks, we cull from from, comments with which we fully agree on the bTb situation still facing the single surviving minister of Defra's old team:

"When Ben Bradshaw, with no apparent understanding of the undertow of his words, proclaimed last week, in relation to the killing of badgers:
"My Department undertook a desk study of possible culling methods and identified shooting, snaring and gassing as the methods most worthy of further investigation. This research is currently under way. .."one wonders, and not for the first time, about the methods and ethics of the sort of research needed to decide on ways of mass killing. We wonder too, as we did in April, why animal health policy always seems to be driven by politics, bureaucracy and budgets instead of by science, technology and veterinary skill. No one really wants an untargetted mass cull of badgers and the Government, surely, has within its grasp a Middle Way. The tools to avoid such a politically unpopular, ethically questionable and scientifically unnecessary move are documented. The research below using UK built rapid RT-PCR diagnosis in badger setts and latrines shows which badgers are infected;
"we would prefer that culling is targeted at diseased and infectious animals" said the researchers.Have Mr Bradshaw and "his Department" really not seen the importance of the work from Warwick University?"

As we have said many times, every PCR magic box negates the need for a couple of 'government scientists', so why would they agree? Perhaps ventilation shut down (VSD might be a better way out for them (the scientists, not the badgers or the chooks) Up to 60 minutes to suffocate. Nice.

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