This was kick started with clearance of the pilot badger cull from the Bern Convention which yesterday decided to squash a complaint brought by the Badger Trust.
"The Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones has welcomed the decision by the Bureau to the Standing Committee of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats - also known as the Bern Convention - not to continue with a complaint brought by the Badger Trust with regard to the planned cull of badgers in west Wales."In a meeting in Strasbourg on 29th March 2010, the Bureau, which takes administrative and organisational decisions between meetings of the Standing Committee, decided to remove the complaint from its complaints list.
Elin Jones said:
“This is confirmation that the Bureau agrees with our view that the provisions of the Bern Convention have been fully respected in considering the proposed badger cull. “
“We will continue with the preparations in the pilot area. Bovine TB is one of the biggest problems facing cattle farmers across Wales, and we have to tackle all sources of the disease. We will face serious consequences if we do not.”
This decision comes hard on the heels of a recent Judicial Review in the High Court, where the Welsh Assembly Government successfully defended its decision to implement a limited badger cull in west Wales.
At the same time, cattle measures in Wales will be tightened up to reflect 'severe interpretation' protocol on all tests. Farmers Guardian gives the following details:
* Herds to be tested every six months.
* All breakdowns, whether or not ‘confirmed’ by post-mortem, will require two clear 60 day tests, to release movement restrictions.
* Breakdowns will also be subject to tracing which will generate additional testing for associated cattle herds. (We assume this means 'all' breakdowns, as confirmed ones generate traces at present? - ed)
* There will also be restrictions on cattle movements within and outside the area.
* All British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) linkages and Sole Occupancy Authorities (SOAs) between holdings inside and outside the pilot area are being cancelled, requiring farmers to report all movements to BCMS and comply with pre-movement testing requirements.
* Farmers have also received visits from their private vets to discuss bio-security arrangements on their farms to reduce risk of TB getting into and spreading in their herds.
“The bovine TB eradication programme is a long-term project will last for five years and includes a range of measures designed to restrict and ultimately eradicate TB in cattle,” said Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Dr. Christianne Glossop “In the pilot area, local vets have been working with farmers since before Christmas to improve bio-security on farms. The additional measures are a vital element of the programme.
“We know that cattle and badgers are the main sources of the disease and that, if we want to achieve our aim of eradicating bovine TB, we have to tackle the disease in both species." said Dr. Glossop.
With that we would agree, and we wish them luck.
But if they get the badger part wrong then as has been tried before, no amount of nailing cattle to the floor, will make the slightest difference to TB incidence, which is already spilling over into other mammals both in the Principality and England.