Monday, January 29, 2007


…………… or in other words, the adroit circular movements of both the RSPCA and the Badger Trust with regard to farming data in general, and animal movements in particular. All 14 million of them, which, despite having the correct interpretation placed in his sticky paw, media adviser to the Badger Trust, Trevor Lawson insists on misunderstanding.

In order that the facts are clear to all – and that includes Mr. Lawson – your contributors have obtained the interpretation of movement data direct from BCMS (British Cattle Movement Service) and we print this below.

"We do require an ON and OFF movement for each animal when it is moved and both these movements are counted in the total number of movements. So the movement of an animal from farm A (off movement) to B (on movement) is counted as two movements in the total movements of cattle in the UK. If that animal goes through a livestock market it would be four movements "off" farm "on" market "off" market "on" farm or abattoir, and the movement from farm direct to an abattoir would also be two movements one "off" farm and one "on" to the abattoir."

So BCMS require two matching movements of data for each actual bovine trip, and if the animal moves via a market, then four are required. So how many were there?
For sure there were 14 million movements of DATA in 2005, but these comprised both ‘On’ and matching ‘Off’ movements, and also movements to dead end hosts – abattoirs, and visits to shows, exhibitions etc.

The figure BCMS have given us for total movements of data, both ‘On’ and ‘Off’ and including all destinations in 2005 is 14,661,407.

However the breakdown of this much quoted misinterpretation is:
Movements ‘ON’ to FARMS 2,718,599
Movements ‘ON’ to markets 1,999,974
Movements ‘ON’ to abattoirs 2,503,059
Other destinations ............ 59,251

A total of 7,280,883 ‘ON’ movements of which just 2,718,599 were ‘ON’ to farms.

BCMS also confirmed that of these 2.7 million movements (NOT 14 million Trevor) a number were made by calves under 42 days, which Defra say pose little or no risk.

"… around 401,000 calves under 42 days of age moved farms in 2005."

So the total live cattle moving ‘On’ to farms in 2005 was 2,317,599 – not including those young calves.

But what did the Badger Trust make of that information? And what is still being peddled to a gullible media? (see post below) This is from the Badger Trust website....

BADGER TRUST ; News Release 16TH February 2006.

Trevor Lawson, media advisor to the Badger Trust, commented:
"This decision demonstrates a shocking lack of courage on the part of Government. It means that around 1.3 million additional cattle movements will occur without pre-movement testing [2], spreading the infection even wider, …."

For further information, contact Trevor Lawson on 01494 794961 or 07976 262388.

And how did our Trevor arrive at that figure?

In the Notes to Editors is the following:

"Each year, the British Cattle Movement Service logs approximately 14 million cattle movements. Spread evenly throughout the year, this equates to approximately 1.3 million movements over five weeks.

The deliberate misinterpretation of this data is the worst type of ‘spin’ - but it is compounded by the diminutive John Bourne, whose address at the last ISG meeting carried the same totally misleading message. The minutes of that meeting however proved that Professor Bourne does indeed have friends in high places, who may understand the data - even if he does not. Reference to '14 million animal movements', heard by his audience at least twice in his address, was completely wiped. Well, well, well.


Anonymous said...

I estimate that our 350 acres has an average of 20 on and off movements every day - that's 7,300 every year. That's the badgers. There is just one cattle on movement every year. We're still 4 year PTI but we are now an island surrounded by 1 and 2 year testing - and by thousands of badgers where there used to be hundreds, which was a healthy population. Just 10 years ago the whole county was clean.

Matthew said...

Yes, where we came from 20 years ago was the same. It was a privilege to see this 'shy nocturnal animal' - in fact I cannot remember actually seeing one at all until we moved south. Our Midlnds Matthew is in exactly your position - and not a happy bunny. Watching the disease rumble from one farm to the next, and now for sure entrenched in the badgers and possibly the deer too.
And too close for comfort.