You knew words wouldn't fail us for long didn't you? We ended the previous post with a reasonably polite (for us) expression of frustration at the incredible levels of infection found in trapped badgers during the 'Interim' strategy of 1986 - 1997. 'Interim' to us means temporary, or provisional. But ten years is an awfully long while to think about a strategy - about as long as John Bourne took to disperse that incredible 76 percent infection rate across Glos. and beyond....
A couple of weeks ago, we explained that testing cattle was taking up our time this month so postings would be sparse and we would let you (and our Trevor, who it must be remembered wished us well in the tests) how we got on.
Our East Cornish contributer is under a short voluntary herd restriction. He will test his cattle at the end of February in order to avoid having to preMT stock for sale in April. If he had tested in December, he would have had to fork out for a private test, and stress out stock for sale again 60 days later, so will do his whole herd test a tad later instead. We hear that quite a lot of December tests have been potponed by a few weeks for this reason.
Matthew 5, also in the SW has had a clear test. Very few lumps or bumps at all, and that after housing his cattle since October. He managed to keep those little black and white foxes out of the cattle sheds this year and is free to trade.
Our North Devon contributer has also had a better run, after housing several hundred cattle after reactors were taken in the autumn. A couple of inconclusives, but no reactors to slaughter. From former members of the old badger panel, we understand that this is a classic case of exposure to Tb at grass in the spring, found at a test in the autumn, which clears any reactor cattle out and by spring all should be well. (That didn't work with Matt 5's dairy herd as the little blighters were sharing the cattle feed in the winter and his problems - every 60 days - got a whole lot worse - especially after Bourne's rabid efforts and trashed traps and ...)
Staffordshire Matt tests this week. In snow and ice and wind and rain. Nice.