The Badger Trust letter to David Miliband, (see posting below) imploring him to use 'science' (aka the ISG? - wow) and not to listen to his own Animal Health employees, or even the people at VLA come to that, is only the latest in a depressing line of prevarication over the role which badgers play in the bTb cycle.
During the 'clean ring' strategy of the 1980's, GB did have a policy of squaring the circle, and if badgers were implicated (and that was decided not by SVS but by a panel of badger 'experts' who met quarterly), then setts local to the outbreak were gassed. In 1986 less than 100 herds were under restriction and only 686 cattle slaughtered and GB complied with EU and OIE Tb free trading status.
Over the next 20 years, Professors Zucherman and Dunnett issued long reports - but policy was still progressively 'sanitised'. Trapping replaced gassing, and land available for control was reduced from 7km down to 1km and then "only on land cattle had grazed". Thus badger setts on arable land or neighbouring farms were excluded. In 1997, all badger control ceased, except of course where John Bourne was enacting his badger dispersal excercise. All these good people concluded that badgers were a part of the bTb transmission cycle. Krebs and John Bourne, Bradshaw and Miliband have said the same.
And without exception, all have bottled doing anything at all about it.
The taxpayer has funded clearances in Steeple Leaze, Hartland and Thornbury, East Offaly and the Four County trial in Ireland and of course Krebs' RBCT. Without exception all have resulted in a reduction of tb in cattle. Thornbury being the most successful, which 100 per cent. clearance for the next (at least) 12 years. And the important thing with Thornbury is during that time, the badger numbers returned to 'pre trial levels'. Tb was eliminated, the badger population was not.
So dear readers, we've been here before. Politicians faced with their own veterinary experience (now derided by the Badger Trust) and the recommendations of various well paid professors have all concluded that to control Tb in cattle, Tb in badgers must be tackled as well. And to date they have flunked it. Bottled out, in the face of the shrill voices of 'animal rights' activists, for whom some animals have more 'rights' than others, and copious donations to party coffers.
It may be different this time. Time (and an elongated 'government response' to Krebs plus a reshuffle into a less vulnerable position for David Miliband) will tell.