Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Those trials again.

The report into the RBCT Badger Dispersal Trial has provoked a strong reaction from a farmer (not one of us) unfortunate enough to have taken part.
In a letter to the Western Morning News Mr. Dennis comments that the way the culling was carried out was chaotic and fractured, and the ISG's conclusions on this, that cattle measures alone will cure the bTb problem, are 'nothing short of lunacy'.

The report on the problem of bovine TB published on June 18 by the Independent Scientific Group is neither independent nor scientific. As so often with so-called "independent" reports, it bears the heavy imprint of a Government which has made it clear that it is totally opposed to any form of badger culling and would much prefer that farmers were culled instead.The fact that there has been an increase in bovine TB outbreaks around areas where culling has taken place is not surprising, for the method of culling was fatally flawed and the scientists should have been intelligent enough to recognise that. If, during the Krebs trials, badgers had been culled by gassing instead of being trapped, the outcome would have been very different.

My farm was one on which culling took place during the trials. On one occasion the traps were set in place in November and removed just before Christmas. Within a few days of the traps being removed, badgers had returned to the sett, digging furiously.

Badgers are not stupid animals and when they see one of their fellow badgers caught in a trap and then disappearing, they become trap-shy and move away from the sett, subsequentially increasing the risk of bovine TB spreading. Gassing the badgers in their setts would have eliminated that risk.

The suggestion by the ISG that cattle should be targeted more intensively with no action being taken against infected badgers is quite appalling, and raises some serious questions about its intelligence and understanding of the problem.

When there is a major infectious disease problem in both the domestic cattle and wildlife population, targeting one sector and leaving the other major sector untouched is nothing short of lunacy.

Ivor Dennis, Holsworthy

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