In its final published version, the
This was ‘bourne’ of simple mathematical modelling undertaken by Prof. Donelly, who having tortured some unidentified (by the reader) data, weighted heavily - 2: 1 - in favour of cattle and against badgers (that bit was published) extruded a figure of 50 per cent of herd breakdowns attributable to cattle. We think. And it is on this illusive figure that Professor Bourne has fastened. He was questioned, including the progression of the disease through the 1960’s to the present day, and he came up with the following gems:
On the use of the tuberculin skin test:
“It was developed as a herd test. The obvious way to use a herd test is, if you find an infected herd, to take it out.”
On the increase in cattle Tb after the late 1980’s into the 1990’s.
“I suspect cattle testing was relaxed"
(It wasn’t, but badger culling in response to Tb outbreaks most certainly was –ed)
On cattle movement:
“Statistics show that there is a great deal more cattle movement because of wider trading activities of cattle farming”
(More than what? Drover’s roads from Wales and the Midlands to London, with herds stopping every ten miles or so? Cattle trains from Cumbria to the south? Just because a scientist hasn’t realised that a thing happened, it does that mean that prior to his Damoscene moment, it did not happen – ed)
And on ‘opposition’ to badger culling in ireland as opposed to the UK.
"There is no Badger Group in Ireland"
(And? bTb is a grade 3 zoonosis.)
On larger cull areas.
"Mathematical modelling in extrapolation from the trial data suggests that if you cull over a large area, you would ultimately get positive gains with respect to the area culled, relative to the area you were not culling".
(So that’s a yes?)
Er – no.
"I also stated  that there would be extreme logistical difficulties in achieving this with respect to culling over a large area repeated regularly over a large period of time, and it could only be considered as a policy option, if there had been an adequate cost benefit analysis.”
(He means farmer’s would pay for cage trapping – ed)
“...the logistical difficulties of getting a trapping force into the fields, to do culling across the whole piece at the same time and continuing it for this very long period. ... Government have stated very clearly that they would not do this themselves. They would not be responsible for this, but farmers would in fact have to do this off their own bat..”
And is it possible, with such farmer participation?
“As an extrapolation, as a modelling exercise that was correct, but we are bound to write caveats to that, which I thought would have been a clear message to message to Ministers of the difficulty of doing that and the liklihood that the whole thing would not be achievable”
(That’s a No then –ed)
So could badger culling have any effect at all on cattle Tb in the UK? And here we get the Trojan Horse, and the cattle measures that this open minded scientist has preached all along, while accepting political strictures from day 1, on his badger
“What we are saying is that badger culling in the way it can be conducted in the UK, we believe, cannot possibly contribute to cattle TB control, and in using the word ‘ meaningfully’ what we mean there, is that if it is the only inducement that would encourage farmers to co-operate fully, and introduce effective cattle controls, it could have an effect”.
(Whaaaaat? - ed)
This was echoed, somewhat more politely by the EFRAcom Chairman:
“Can I make quite certain that my ears did not deceive me a moment ago, when you said with your almost impish smile, “Left to its own devices, culling is not the silver bullet but if it induced some other activity as a quid pro quo, it might have a role to play?”. Is that what you are saying to me?”
“It would be most unfortunate if that happened but that is exactly what I was communicating to you, because farmers have made it clear they will not co operate unless thay can kill badgers. Farmer co operation is absolutely essential to get this disease under control. It will be appalling thing for us if farmers were given the opportunity of knocking off a few badgers, just to get their co operation.”
Well that’s pretty clear, is it not? If government offer a few sacrificial badgers, at the same time as extra cattle controls, then a ‘package’ may be agreed?
A quid pro quo, the man said. Yes? The last industry 'package' was unceremoniously shattered by Defra, who are very adept at taking the 'quid' while failing to deliver the 'pro quo'.
So, cattle measures: in order that there is absolutely no illusion about what the good Prof. is proposing, the ISG final report (p.24 – 29) illuminated his audience with exactly what he had in mind as those extra cattle controls. They included:
* Pre and post movement testing, both combined with gamma interferon.(IFN)
* Strict animal movement control (zoning) of animals from high risk areas into low risk, and even between farms of the same status within a zone.(10.64)
* Gamma interferon widespread in low risk area breakdowns.
* Severe animal movement controls and only licensed to farms of the same status(10.71)
* In breakdown herds in high risk areas, one or two reactors at disclosing skin test and no recent history of infection would merit IFN in parallel use to the skin test.
* Within multiple reactor herds, with a previous history of persistent disease, slaughter of the whole herd or cohorts within it. It is advisable to be rigourous in these situations, and whole herd slaughter should be more readily excercised option for heavily infected herds.
* Expect a hard core of 5 per cent or more multiple reactor breakdown herds in high risk areas which have been difficult to clear; these pose a substantial disease risk and should be considered for whole herd slaughter.
And the contribution of infected badgers? Not a thing, except a throw away line that a few may have to culled, as a Trojan horse for what Bourne wanted all along. The draconian cattle controls which have so spectacularly failed in the past. And that delivered with a
Believe it. There's an election coming.