A high profile Tb breakdown was reported this week on the farm of one of the industry's leading government advisors on ... bovine Tb.
During a routine test in december, almost 10 per cent of Bill Madders' dairy cattle were found to be reactors, and subsequently slaughtered, reports
This is another case for those who would defend the badger / villify cattle (and raid the taxpayers' purse) to explain. The article describes the State Veterinary Service investigation as "ruling out infected cattle as the source of the outbreak", and quotes Mr. Madders confirms that he is 99 - 100 per cent certain that a badger sett near his grazing ground is the problem. " Local SVS say it [the breakdown] is almost certainly the result of badger contamination of the pastures last spring", he said.
Mr. Madders now joins the rest of us trying to balance his books with cattle numbers wildly fluctuating, influencing milk or meat output and thus his income, against his business's fixed costs, accentuated by testing all his cattle every 60 days. The cause of the problem, as ever is ignored. Mr. Madders comments that the future of this family dairy farm is in doubt unless he can resolve the problem of reinfection.
"If we are going to keep going down, it becomes uneconomical because we cannot replace the herd witin the levels of compensation currently available".
Mr. Madders was the chairman of the preMT group, but is adamant that the policy should have accompanied with a parallel policy to control bTb in wildlife. "The consistent view coming out of the SVS is that until we do something about the disease in wildlife, it will get worse. It is the politicians we are up against".
"Unless we do get action, the whole country will be infected within a couple of years. In places like the North West, it is going to spread everywhere", he said.
There really is nothing like a herd restriction order, combined with several slaughter notices to concentrate one's mind is there? Our sympathies go to Mr. Madders and his family - and especially to his cattle of course - it's reassuring to have a high profile ally. Mr. Madders will give a background briefing of his breakdown to the TB Advisory group on March 1st. The group reports to Ministers and the CVO - who will probably then ignore the fact that Mr. Madder's farm is surrounded by motorways, rivers or arable land, has had no breakdowns at all in two generations and has been a 'self contained' herd for 20 years.