Monday, October 15, 2007

'Farmers can't work together'.

That is the throw-away remark often lobbed in our direction, but a group of farmers in the West country are determined to prove this wrong, by offering the use of their land for licensing badger culls.

Before any of our Badger Trust readers get too excited, this we are told, is not an 'extermination' exercise. Neither would it follow the way the RBCT Badger Dispersal Trial showed us how not to go about a badger cull. As we have said many times, any cull must be targeted, and must comply with the Bern Convention - not the antics of political scientists.

Farmers have offered their co-operation over a wide area for a licensed, targeted cull, overseen by AHO (Animal Health Offices) who would have the overall view of where hotspots were. And of course where persistant infection in herds was not being removed by slaughtering cattle, or where bought in cattle had been excluded from potential sources of the disease.

Farmers Guardian has the story, which received extra impetus this week after Defra's Tb figures for January - August 2007, showed a leap in incidence. (Available on that link until the Sept ones are posted)

Meurig Raymond of NFU Wales, said the latest bTB figures for this year up to August 31 highlighted the need for action. They show a "huge increase" in incidence on last year – there were 425 more new "TB incidents", an 18 percent rise, and 3,500 more cattle have been culled, 25 per cent up.

"We could well see 30,000 cattle slaughtered in this calendar year, which would be back to the levels of 2005".

This was predicted in 2006, after an alledged 'drop' for which the CVO blamed her vets. Have they all been retrained? The report itself, rather than the executive summary, or press release, gave a different scenario which predicted that many early NVL cases, which would have been picked up by Weybridge tuberculin antigen "would be detected at a later stage of disease" due to the use of Dutch Lelystadt.

The (Dutch) chooks are coming home to roost.

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