Sunday, October 29, 2006

Blame Cattle (and the Man in the Moon?) ....

....but not badgers.

From the rural heartlands of deepest London, Ms. Jenny Barsby, writing on behalf of the League Against Cruel Sports has this week bombarded the farming press and many rural newspapers, if not national ones, with a letter which she hopes will draw her readers attention to 'new research' on the spread of bTb. This opines Ms. Barsby, snugly tucked up in SE1, "should finally bring to an end the continuing myth surrounding badgers and the spread of bovine Tb"

We would challenge the ' myth' bit of that, but the lady will certainly be responsible for serious indigestion among her farmer readers, especially those under bTb restriction, who have the dubious honour of testing every 60 days, loading up good cattle for premature slaughter, and have had no bought in cattle on which to blame their plight - but we digress.

The letter is superficially persuasive, with Ms. Barsby purring gently : "I'd like to draw readers attention to new research which should finally end to the continuing myth surrounding badgers and the spread of Bovine Tb".

It isn't new, it's ISG Krebs data, recycled from Rosie Woodroffe's perch in sunny California which we covered; it's own operatives described it as "rubbish"and thus any data flow flow from it should carry a health warning, but let that pass. The lady continues"The NFU has long been propelling the view that badgers spread Tb to cattle".

Only the NFU? What about 450 members of the RCVS including pathologists, epidemiologists and practising veterinary surgeons? Sheesh, this woman really should get out more.

"New findings (No - recycled maybe but not new) by top researchers (Errr yes. 'Top' of what she doesn't explain, but we can visualise, I'm sure) commissioned by Government (Yup. No need to do that old badger dispersal trial at all, but never underestimate a bureaucrat's ability to waste your money) "show that the route of infection lies much more with cattle than badgers."

Well that's fine and dandy then. And having read that superficial bit of fluff, all those of us who have done the biosecurity bit, and got the closed herd T shirt can now unpeel ourselves from our respective ceilings. It was cattle after all.

The lady blathers on about the need, as expressed by the ISG and recycled by little Rosie's paper, that what is needed is better cattle controls.

And when you've done that Ms. Barsby? Nailed home bred cattle to the floor, and still had years of continuous bTb herd restriction and seen infectious, overpopulated badgers, dying around the farms? What's the excuse this time? The man in the *!!!** moon?

If the League Against Cruel Sports wants to retain any credibility whatsoever- and we still remember its conspicuous absence during the FMD carnage - then the 'sport' of killing up to 30,000 cattle per year, and leaving bTb to infect more and more badgers - which end up like this ('A slight wheeziness') should be uppermost on its agenda.

That said, for all its victims, bTb is a very cruel 'sport' indeed.

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