Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Any advice as long as it's...

..from the ISG?

A new TB Advisory Group was set up last year, its remit to report directly to the secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. That remit however appears to have been watered down somewhat in a snippet found on the Defra website, when the group reported on 'bio security' and bovine Tb. We are most grateful to eagle eyed site watchers for the following gem found on the
Defra website

"They were concerned that farmers would be less likely to follow the advice if it was then contradicted by findings from the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (ISG). The Group advised that the Husbandry Working Group's advice needs to be consistent with the ISG’s final report due later this year. The Group therefore recommends that before publication the husbandry advice is sent to the ISG for their views and to confirm there is nothing in the advice that would be contradicted by the ISG at a later date"

The Chairman of the TB Advisory Group was appointed by Ministers in July 2006. Members were then appointed and the Group was established in October 2006. It is a remunerated stakeholder forum, meaning that taxpayers fund it to no mean degree. That being the case, and bearing in mind the Groups' self proclaimed status described above, which may be described - quite politely - as eunochs on the ISG gravy train which it does not wish to contradict in any way at all, would it not be cheaper all round just to ask John Bourne?

Then again, maybe not.
As we reported here , Bourne's own managers of the ill conceived and sloppily executed 'badger dispersal trial' warned Ministers not to take a blind bit of notice of its results. However this newly formed "Tb Advisory Group" feel obliged to offer their expensive and much cogitated 'advice' first to the ISG, in order that it it is not "contradicted by the ISG at a later date.."

What on earth is the use of a group like this, if they are so afraid to present their recommendations to the Minister, that they have to get approval first from the another group who have caused absolute carnage in the areas where they have 'operated'.? And what happens to these very woolly and half hearted 'recommendations' when the ISG presents its final chapters, in a couple of months' time?


Anonymous said...

We have just received a letter from Mike Summerskill, Secretary ISG,inviting us to attend either of two Open Meetings on 19 June in London, 21 June in Cardiff.He writes that these two meetings will signify the end of the ISG's work, having by then submitted their final report to Ministers. We have been informed because their records show that we have an interest in TB.(Something of an understatement for something that has destroyed our dairy herd and continues to threaten our beef herd). Mr.Summerskill goes on to say that delegates will be able to hear about the conclusions reached by the ISG, and to learn more about the science behind these conclusions.There will be an opportunity to ask questions on any issue relating to the work of the ISG.
Even if I thought that anything constructive would come from such a meeting and I have my doubts, why should I have to travel from Cornwall to London or Cardiff, at my expense on the remote chance that I will hear anything useful that will help eradicate TB? Perhaps they are hoping no one will turn up.
Why not have one meeting at Exeter? This would better serve the many westcountry farmers who have suffered TB outbreaks and who are in no shape financially to travel to London on a possible wild-goose chase. Coincidentally, Exeter is also in the heartland of the constituency of our Minister for Animal Welfare. He might be persuaded to come, together with Mr.Milliband to give us their reaction to the report and what action they propose to take to eradicate TB ....whoops...the porcine aviators are out again.

Matthew said...

From this little gem published last month by the new Tb Advisory Group, it would appear that even after the ISG concludes its shambles of a 'trial' in June, the sensitivety of John Bourne's self proclaimed 'experts' should not be under rated. And to avoid hissy fits and teddies thrown, er -'contradictions' as the Advisory Group politely put it - policy recommendations thus need to be approved before publication or delivery to the Minister. Even after the ISG officially finishes, we cannot see that changing.

Ans as we said in the posting, if that is the case why not save the taxayer a not inconsiderable amount of money, and just ask John Bourne? What use is an 'advisory' group if it is so afriad of treading on another group's toes that its recommendations have to be censured?

Re The June meetings. Paul Carunana's precis (see posting's second link) on the antics of the trial during its first four years, are echoed by those of us unfortunate enough to have been involved.

Just 8 nights 'hit and run' cage trapping,- thoroughly disrupted by activists - then absolutely nothing for several years, throughly dispersed the badger population over huge areas. Boundaries of the triplets changed, and many farms already under restriction were left festering as mini hotspots within what was supposed to be a 'clearance'. We are sure however that computer modelling will come up with much data from this shambles of a 'trial', and that its influnence will continue long after mid. June.

And Exeter? Nah, rural affairs are conducted from behind a desk in London now, with instructions more applicable to a Whitehall window box than any farm I've ever worked on.