Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hansard - Vaccination update

As the long hot summer begins and MPs trot off with their buckets and spades for the longest recess on record, a raft of answers to Parliamentary Questions appeared, some of which dealt with vaccination of badgers.

The MP for part of the Cotswolds, Geoffrey Clinton-Brown was asking about Defra's Vaccine Deployment project. Questioned about the time scale, junior minister, ex fireman and member for Poplar and Canning Town
Jim Fitzpatrick replied that the six proposed area sign ups would be in phases.
".. to allow capacity to be built up and early lessons to be implemented. Therefore, during 2010, vaccination will be carried out in a lead demonstration area, where contractors will be trained, and 20 per cent. (20 km(2)) of the other five areas.

The project will be fully rolled out, in all the areas, by the third year (i.e. all areas will have been vaccinated by 2012). Once this initial phase has been completed vaccination across 100 per cent. of the areas will continue each year and each area will be vaccinated for at least five years."
So just a single area of the six starts in 2010, followed by others. When teams of contractors have been trained. Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to pay all the experienced wildlife teams in 2006 after all?

The ever practical Mr. Clinton-Brown then asked how many vaccinations each badger would require. The answer is below.
We do not know how long the protection lasts but an annual vaccination campaign is consistent with published results that BCG protection lasts at least one year in animals. Safety data from the Badger Vaccine Study (BVS) on repeated annual vaccinations will be reported in the final report of the BVS which is expected in March 2010.
And on the subject of marking any candidate badgers vaccinated, the reply was thus:
The temporary marks on vaccinated badgers will last for at least several weeks, depending on weather conditions. This is so a marked badger re-trapped in any given trapping session can be released without further vaccination. There is no need for long-term marking as there is no detrimental effect if a badger is injected again in subsequent years.
Now, given the answer to Mr. Clinton-Brown's previous point on how often BCG needs to be administered, (it is expected to last at least one year) this answer would seem to be somewhat contradictory. Further questions sought information on costs (Defra don't know, they are working on it)and expected labour requirements (100sq km will employ 10 people in 5 teams of two people, for a single vaccination season) and BCG may have to adminstered annually. This really is not what our industry expected from its Ministry, particularly as we explained in our posting below, Defra are encouraging farmers outside the six trial areas, only one of which will be actioned in 2010, to sign up at their own expense.

And by 2014, GB will be slaughtering how many cattle per year?

Any talk of Defra rushly blindly into this, armed with more hope than expectation, is purely in our readers' imagination.

This post may contain nuts.

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