Thursday, February 15, 2007

1 - 15 per cent in 10 years...

.. and that is not cattle Tb. An increase of 14 percent infectivetity has been recorded in the 'stable and undisturbed population' of high density badger groups at living under the wing of Dr. Chris Cheeseman at 'badger heaven' - otherwise known as Woodchester Park.

We are grateful for a link to the NFU for the following piece on this astounding confirmation that if we walk away and do nothing, tb will only get worse - in both badgers and cattle:

"Badger study reveals TB upsurge

Wednesday February 14 2007

"Research work in Gloucestershire which has revealed a dramatic increase in the incidence of TB in badger populations has provided the clearest explanation yet for a parallel increase of TB in the cattle population, says the NFU.

A long-term study* of a stable and undisturbed high-density badger population at Woodchester Park near Stroud, showed that the mean incidence of TB in around 25 social groups of badgers increased from one per cent in 1994 to 15 per cent in 2004.

It also indicates that badgers are more likely to become infective if the social group from which they come is declining in size, and that a stable social structure tends to reduce the likelihood of disease spreading within the badger population.

NFU Deputy President Meurig Raymond said the findings provided striking confirmation, first, that the incidence of TB in the badger population has increased sharply and, second, that any badger culling strategy would need to be intensive and thorough if it was to have maximum impact on the level of disease.

“It would be entirely wrong to conclude from this study that a do-nothing strategy is the way forward”, he said.

“We have been doing that for the past ten years and the result has been a steep increase in TB in both cattle and badgers. To suggest that more of the same is the answer to all of our problems is sheer madness.

“The lesson from this survey is that, for the sake of farming, the countryside and wildlife, we must stop this frightening increase in TB infection in badgers, and the only way of doing that is through a co-ordinated cull of badgers starting in the worst TB hotspot areas.”

Notes to editors:
1. *Social organisation and movement influence the incidence of bovine tuberculosis in an undisturbed high-density badger population. J. Vicente et al. Journal of Animal Ecology 2007


Anonymous said...

The work also showed that social groups with declining numbers were more prone to TB - proof claim the authors that disturbing badger social groups spreads TB...or could it be, horror of horrors that the more TB that is present in a social group the more likely the group is to reduce in size because animals drop dead of TB.

Matthew said...

Good interpretation. You are probably quite right too. Thanks for that. The problem is, that before the poor things eventually die the most awful death (see pics of infectious individuals from the SVS postmortems on the RSPCA posts last year) they have spread Tb far and wide.

Anonymous said...

I find it strange that reputable scientists are harping on about the increase in bTB in badgers following perturbation and ignoring the 150% annual increases in TB prevalence in badgers in the undisturbed badger population in Woodchester Park. The increase is less than this in culled areas if the increase in badgers is similar to that in cattle in the RBCT areas. Is it not time scientists dealing with badgers look at the total picture rather than the selective way they are doing at the moment?

Matthew said...

While it is in their respective interests to reinvent wheels, then even 'reputable' scientists (?) will do just that, if only to slosh public money around in obscure 'scientific' excercises to prop up their places of work.
Cynical aren't we? Yup, we are.