Thursday, May 07, 2009

Will the last cow standing

.. turn out the lights. Further to our posting on the recently published work from York, and the flying teddies response from the Badger Trust, we read in the Western Morning News, Anthony Gibson's take on the paper.

Mr. Gibson is a former SW director of the NFU, and now a freelance agricultural journalist. The article has many good points - until he follows the line of the scientists who did this research which showed that 'boss' cows had more contact with badgers than those further down the pecking order. In order to use this seismic (to scientists, if not to cattle farmers) snip, the scientists, and to a certain degree, Anthony, have both tried to shoehorn this to a practical herd situation.

Their thoughts were along the lines of 'identify, separate and test the boss cows more frequently', and even segregate them in a (hermetically sealed?)building.

And what then?

As we have said, in any group of animals (or people for that matter), there is a leader. And if that leader is removed, then jockeying up the scale will be another one to take its place.. And another.

The boss calls it 'cognitive dissonance'. Which means that even if a policy of shooting the messenger doesn't work, by dispassionately carrying on regardless, sooner or later the problem is solved because all the messengers are dead.

We see a certain parallel here.


Anonymous said...


DEFRA Minister - Jane Kennedy:

The number of holdings where dairy is the predominant activity are shown in the following table for each year since 1997.

Thousand holdings
1997 18.0
1998 17.0
1999 16.3
2000 15.5
2001 14.3
2002 14.5
2003 13.8
2004 13.3
2005 12.9
2006 11.1
2007 10.6
2008 10.1

Peter Brady

Anonymous said...

Interesting ….

With say 10% of herds under movement restriction
Total number of Herd down from 18.1 (1997) to 10.1 (2008) thousands
Cattle slaughtered up from 5,000 or so (in 1997) to 40,000 (2008/9)

Do we have a UK map of herds under restriction?

How long before TOTAL (cattle) GRID LOCK occurs?
Any scientific projections / work done on this subject?

Matthew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew said...

Peter ,
We hear that Mrs. Kennedy (our Minister for Waste [and recycling]) has concerns over food security, and dairy in particular. Bit late we feel.

Most of our casualties have been two lives, in that the calf they were carrying is lost too. I heard yesterday of one chap who had estimated his loss of milk production over about 8 years of in-and-out testing and restriction, at £600,000. That is food which should be produced here.

Anon 11.43,
You ask 'have we any maps' of this unholy mess. The answer is yes, we have parish testing maps. These show parishes on annual testing, which means they had at least one confirmed case of badgerTB in the previous year. And of course all the rigmarole of preMT etc. But the boss's scanner is not talking to his new download. In fact last week, nothing was talking to his new download and a happy bunny, he was not.
As soon as we have them on jpeg format, they will be posted.

As to whether any scientific projections / work done on this, we would doubt it.
Except our graphs, see March postings:

... which concentrated on the cattle casualties, and their trend prediction for 2014; VE day (Badger Vaccination Expected - by some, but not us)