The Defra-funded Badger Vaccine Deployment Project will now take place in areas of 300 sq.km in Staffordshire, the Herefordshire and Worcestershire border, two locations in Gloucestershire and two in Devon from this summer. Within each location, vaccination will take place on up to 100sq.km of target farms. Participants are currently being signed up.
Below some 'participants' - and from their locations described above, it is a fair assumption to say most will already be coughing - as is pointed by a longer overview in Western Morning News.
Defra's overview if you remember, on this latest
Cage trapping badgers already endemically infected with tuberculosis? Holding a wild animal for hours in this cage? Large man appears to turn cage on its end, and stick toasting fork across the bars to secure the not-to-happy occupant, nose down, bum up in said cage? Jabbing them with a (very) long hyperdermic? Applying splodge of paint (not lead based) to identify a once-vaccinated badger? And then releasing it? Repeating this annually? No stress then.
(Our grateful thanks once again for Ken Wignall's permission to use his cartoon.)
From Farmers Weekly, comes a short report which suggests dosing cattle with mushrooms could help tackle TB. Readers should note that this story was filed prior to April 1st. Thanks to the comment which alerted us to the story, and in answer to 'any volunteers?' the answer is no. Not unless all the alpacas, llamas, cats, dogs, goats, sheep and humans have had their 'magic' fix as well.
And finally, Defra's 2009 TB cattle statistics can be seen here. Slaughterings are down and new herd incidents are down, but the number of herds affected taken as a percentage of a dwindling number of cattle herds, is up. The different regions show markedly differing trends, with the incidence in the West slightly up from 22 percent of herds affected during 2008, to 23.4 in 2009. But an 'amplifying' - that's Defra-ese for getting worse - problem in their East and North regions. Cue change regional boundaries? Move the maginot line?
Cattle herds in the East, particularly those served by the Leicester AHO, saw an increase of 35 percent in herds affected by TB during 2009, while the North (including Staffs, Derby and Cheshire) recorded a 53 percent increase in herd restrictions.
For TB in 'other species', which as only cultures sent to VLA form raw data, are likely to be an underestimate, can be viewed on this link .
This chart is compiled from autumn postmortem samples, many of which still await culture results.