Commenting on the verdict, Professor Bill Reilly, President of the British Veterinary Association, said:
“The BVA and BCVA welcome the outcome of the Judicial Review which means that the Welsh Assembly Government’s important work to control and eradicate bovine tuberculosis can go ahead.John Blackwell, Senior Vice President of the British Cattle Veterinary Association, (BCVA) added:
“We have strongly supported the Welsh Assembly Government’s TB Eradication Order because it combines strong measures to tackle the disease in both cattle and wildlife. We are therefore pleased that the court has declared the Order is lawful.
“We will be watching the outcomes of the measures in Wales under the Order closely and hope that, if successful, these measures will be replicated in other areas of the UK.”
And therein lies the problem, as it was with the
Will it be quiet, clean, thorough and anonymous? Will experienced operatives be allowed input to decision making, so that problems are tackled before they disrupt the operation? Or, like the bureaucratic, intermittent, incomplete and highly visible RBCT, will it actually achieve it's aim and just scatter a highly infectious population of badgers?
Several contributers to this site had the serious misfortune to be included in the
Our bitter experiences were supported in a submission to EFRAcom in 2006, by one of thetrial managers who said:
. * Krebs had too many anomalies and weaknesses in the strategy for it to be successful. It took us four years to steer away from trapping setts that had been interfered with by Animal Rights Activists, to be able to trap badgers anywhere, in order to eliminate them. That was only one of a raft of operational problems we faced and had to endure.So what of the Welsh effort? Who is the trial manager? Will he listen to his operatives and has he learned anything at all from what went so wrong with the English version, described so eloquently in the submission above?
* Limited trapping - eight days per year with Krebbs - has little effect if carried out late in the year. The effect being that areas went almost two years without an effective cull. (In some cases three, or not at all - ed)
* The costs for a future culling policy must NOT be based on Krebs costings. [ snipped ]
Krebs was ridiculously expensive for what it delivered.
Cage trapping individual badgers is arguably the most expensive method of dispatching an infected group. So have the Welsh commandeered all those English badger cages (or what's left of them) lurking somewhere at the taxpayer's expense, or have they bought their own? The English ones, in use since the mid 1980s have been developed over time, to ensure that the mesh gauge encourages - as much as any cagetrap can - entry? We are told that a small mesh will not get many volunteers, and that in past trials, 5cm square, or the old 2 x 2 inch was about right.
This also allowed dispatch of the occupant without too much fuss. Any smaller mesh meant entry was limited but more important, the barrel of the rifle or pistol couldn't make entry. This would mean that the occupant had to be translocated into another cage before dispatch. A procedure which is neither fast, easy, or desirable and has meant escapees on many occasions.
The pistols or rifles used in the English badger culling operations were a) silenced and b) used hollow nosed shells for accurate and instant kill with no ricochet. (Too powerful a rifle using supersonic shells, as used in free running target running in open country, runs the risk of operator or onlooker injury in a confined area.)
The RBCT publicised their locations on websites. And sympathisers within Defra offices ensured that WLU operatives ran the gauntlet of abuse and physical attack on a daily basis. The vehicles used in the early days of the trial were like pink elephants, with white Crown tax discs, sparkling clean and their registration numbers noted. Have the Welsh learnt from this and will they protect their operatives? Or will bright shiny suits and noisy cloned vehicles be the order or the day?
We have reported many times the wastage of man hours and trap opportunities which resulted from this 'open house' on the
In New Zealand, the aerial drops of poison pellets to clear out infected colonies of bush possums over a large area requires public notification so that anyone approaching an area thus baited, can keep a tight hold on dog, child or grandma. Cage traps laid one night and visited within hours are a different kettle of fish.
We make these points with a clear message to our Welsh colleagues. Don't let bureaucratic intransigence or inappropriate operating protocol screw this up.
As John blackwell of the BCVA said:
“We will be watching the outcomes of the measures in Wales under the Order closely and hope that, if successful, these measures will be replicated in other areas of the UK".
Carried out correctly, culling of groups of TB infected badgers works quickly. Get it wrong and they have the ability and opportunity to spread the disease far and wide.