Friday, May 08, 2009

Spillover - update

Today's front page headline in the Western Morning News, reads 'Massive rise in Animal TB cases'. That is 'animal' as in species other than badgers (in which the disease is 'endemic'), and sentinel tested cattle, (which if they react to the test for exposure to the bacteria which causes TB, are shot). The paper's report is referring to other mammalian species. Spillover.
Last year, 119 non-bovine creatures contracted the disease, including 33 goats, 31 wild deer, 18 pet cats, 13 alpacas and 10 pigs. Sheep, llamas, dogs and farmed and park deer also fell victim to the strain, which has been responsible for the death of 200,000 cattle over the past 10 years.

Defra squirm out this four fold increase, saying that as badgerTB is notifiable now, they are looking for it and will find more. But doesn't that put Meat Hygiene Officers firmly in their place? Haven't they always been 'looking for it' at abattoirs? Is it not what they are paid to do with all food animals? With domestic cats and dogs - Defra possibly have a point. And as we are nothing if not fair on this site, we 'll give them the benefit of the doubt on the spillover figures 2007 over 2006. But not the increase 2008 over 2007, to which the WMN report draws attention. Prior to 2006, veterinary surgeons would probably have hesitated to suggest another £100+ on top of hefty fees, to post mortem a casualty. And the single (only?) thing former minister Baby Ben Bradshaw achieved during his tenure astride Defra's fence, was to make badgerTB notifiable in all mammalian species, with postmortems paid for by his department.

The results of this increasing environmental contamination, we have covered over the years, seeing bTB cases expand from reservoir maintenance host and its messenger, into alpacas ,cats, goats and more cats. With many more casualties along the way, including this story from Farmers Guardian on badgerTB in free range pigs.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of free ranging pigs and troughs

Labour MP Elliot Morley (ex MAFF minister and leading anti-badger cull supporter) claimed £16,000 for repaid mortgage.

Fraudulent? We'll see!

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy!

Peter Brady

Anonymous said...

What do you think?

"The Telegraph has also seen correspondence between the fees office and Mr Morley that casts doubt on his assertions that “sloppy accounting” and a “very loose and shambolic allowance system” resulted in him claiming the £16,800 accidentally.

The exchange of emails and letters showed that the fees office did ask the former minister for documentation on both the property in Scunthorpe, where he claimed £800 a month for a mortgage that did not exist, and the London home, which he designated his second home after November 2007.

However, Mr Morley appears only to have provided documentation for the London property.

According to emails from the fees office, Mr Morley led it to believe that he was paying interest of £800 a month for a mortgage on his second home in Scunthorpe, after giving them a bank statement in 2005 showing a payment to Cheltenham and Gloucester. However, the MP’s mortgage lender on his Scunthorpe house, for 20 years, was Abbey."

Matthew said...

What do we think?

Unfit for purpose. Led by the nose, muddled and lightweight. And has caused a huge amount of problems for the industry over which he had charge.

While the media scrum is on a hunt for MP's expenses, fraudulant or otherwise, life (and death) goes on. In the longer term, MPs are immaterial. An irrelevance. Short term, the damage some manage to achieve is immeasurable.

Andrew Proud said...

Yes, I can think of a nicer ex agriculture minister for it to happen to: had you forgotten about Douglas Hogg, Peter?
While I don't think the strength of this blogspot is in providing an outlet for party-political wrangling, this gives me an opportunity to comment on Peter's diatribe of about a month ago. While Labour agriculture ministers have scarcely been a distinguished herd (Lord Rooker excepted) none of them have sunk to the depths plumbed by Hogg and Jopling. Peter should remember that effective removal of tuberculous badgers began under a Labour government and was very effective until a Conservative government set up the Dunnett comittee and told them to take cost considerations into account. They accepted Dunnett's recommendation that badgers should only be trapped on land actually grazed by reactors but forgot about his proviso that small increases in prevalence of reactors should trigger a reassessment of his report. It was the outgoing Conservative government that set up the Krebs inquiry but only when they were sure that he could not report until after the 1997 election which they were sure to lose.

Matthew said...

Politicians of all hues have added little to the control of this disease, the consequences of which we now face. They are not a solution, or even part of it - in the main, together with their paymasters, they are the problem.
Many are hanging their hats on the outcome of next years' election. We have no such faith.

Anonymous said...

Andrew – I assume you are the same Gloucester vet that made a statement to the BSE Enquiry.

Diatribe Andrew? Which one? There have been a few!

I assume you refer to my bit on the appalling and pathetic (hear I go again) unprofessional, unscientific actions taken by Krebs & DEFRA ‘scientists’ since 1997.

I’m very happy to accept that the Labour govt assisted financially with the re-introduction of Stag Hunting post war so as to manage the then minimal sized herd – in the days when the RSPCA was pro-hunting!

Likewise I am ecstatic with Kate Hoey’s support for the Countryside (She should be the next Speaker in my humble opinion)

I believe you were around when BSE was also and were able to submit a statement to the Enquiry. Did I refer to my involvement in the (successful) development of a compound to identify scrapie / BSE / CJD – did I say how pathetic and party-politically based those senior BSE scientists behaved? Did I refer to the 17 files that were destroyed; shredded! – as was Tony Blair’s recent Expenses claims?

Call me old-fashioned – science is science and politics is politics – and when they meet and invariably fuse – bad ‘science’ results.

I have personally witnessed a so-called scientist (Pro Bourne) shamefully operating in tandem with Ben Bradshaw at a meeting of EFRA where it was difficult to distinguish who was what! Truth was never in evidence!

Dunnett happened because Zuckerman recommended it be so.

I can do nothing about Hogg / Jopling. However I can / will / do agree that the outgoing (1997) Tory govt could / should have done better and also that there is no doubt their timing was influenced (only) by political implications.

Sadly I expect politicians to be crooked – to lie and to cheat! Don’t you?

However I expect scientists to be truthful – come what may – even if it means – resignation. The current DEFRA bTB team has merged its science with the Labour government’s policy to such an extent that it supports the vaccination of the tuberculous wild badger – laughable if it wasn’t so serious Do you agree Andrew?

I can’t change the past.

I tell the truth – what I believe to be the truth - which DEFRA scientists appear not to do – they have failed to convince their political masters – they should resign – they do much harm to their profession

When the current DEFRA team has Tory masters – will its science change?

Andrew – what do you believe and what should happen?

Best regards

Peter Brady

Anonymous said...


Andrew must be on holiday

Be patient and await his response