Tuesday, October 19, 2010

'We should stop farming cattle'

.. and then 'bovine' TB would disappear. So says a grammatically challenged, totally naive but absolutely priceless rant from a long term opponent of livestock farming, Viva!
The missive airily dismisses the badgers' role in transmission, pointing out that:
" ... other species will transport Tb to neighbouring herds of animals. These species may not necessarily be badgers. Minks, Deers, Foxes, Moles, Rats and Ferrets are examples of other species of wildlife that have been positively tested for bovine Tb."
"Minks" and "deers"? Sheesh. But we digress. Smaller species may contract m.bovis, as any mammal can. The important difference between them and badgers is the progression of disease (does it kill them quickly?) and the amount of bacteria they are able to share shed in that time. In badgers, the answer to the former is no, they are able to live for years while intermittently shedding the bacteria which causes bTB. But the amount shed, both in the confines of a badger sett, and plastered over grassland, corn/root/vegetable crops and cattle feed, is phenomenal, thus they are the most successful 'host' species of bTB in this country. The writer continues:
It is important to bear in mind that the main vector for bovine Tb are found in cattle, not badgers – hence the name bovine Tb ! If it weren’t for the farming of cattle, bovine Tb wouldn’t exist and other animals wouldn’t suffer – including wildlife.
Unfortunately this type of simplistic claptrap is spouted all too frequently, and is gobbled up by the young (and the not-so-young) idealists who do not so much 'lurve' badgers - as hate farmers. And especially livestock farmers.

But studiously ignoring the continuing and growing overspill into other group mammals, some of which we reported here and here, and the many
companion animals does not make it disappear. Despite the position being reinforced by Defra's strangely dumbed down accounting system for such 'other species' TB casualties, which only counts positive culture samples submitted to VLA - and nothing else. Of these, there may be only a single one to log in, but many deaths in a continuing tested or untested, outbreak. (We note with not a little amusement, that the table of exclusions from these statistics, is now longer than the table itself.)

The Viva! piece predictably refers to 'the science'. The ten year farce 'trial' between 1997 and 2006, which blots out all other 'science' from 1895 onwards; and from 2008 to the present day. This 'political' science which appears to have the added benefit of numbing the power of common sense in its groupies, and which Canute like, continues to haunt this country.

However, the Viva! spokes-person has the answer:
Therefore the answer is quite clear. If the objective really is to prevent the spreading of bovine Tb for future generations of humans and animals, we should stop farming cattle.


Anonymous said...


Have you been watching too many meerkat commercials!

Matthew said...

Anon. 10.20
Probably. Charming creatures. Do they have a support network? If not, we may start one...

Anonymous said...

"It is important to bear in mind that the main vector for bovine Tb are found in cattle, not badgers – hence the name bovine Tb !"

How did bovine TB spread around the world?


No - cattle.

Cattle could well be dubbed 'the main vector'

Badgers, on the other hand, are a wildlife host

Matthew said...

Anon 9.30
Not necessarily. See our posting of September 2008:
http://bovinetb.blogspot.com/2008/09/bovine-tuberculosis-is-misnomer.html where we quote molecular geneticists Brosch , et al who have tracked m.bovis back to its progenitor strain. It developed parallel to m.tuberculosis over centuries, and they say :
".. that from the ancient tuberculosis line, the M.bovis lineage has firmly established itself in:
".... natural host spectra as diverse as humans in Africa, voles on the Orkney Isles(UK), seals in Argentina, goats in Spain, and badgers in the UK."

Seals? do cattle swim?
Regularly tested (and slaughtered)cattle should be regarded as sentinels of disease, rarely vectors. If your argument held water then no other nation, EU member state or area would have eradicated this disease from its cattle herds.

By blind-siding the role of badgers as a wildlife host of bTB, successive governments have allowed the amount of environmental bacteria to back spill into many other species, as we are now reporting.

With an incubation period of anything between a 'month and a lifetime' (A.Biggs) for sure this country is storing up TB problems for all mammalian species who have the misfortune to be in contact with it - including human beings.

lala said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Matthew said...

Spam - deleted.

Anonymous said...


If you visit the following link to a recent Spectator article on the current Coalition Spending Review you will see the first graph illustrating “How we got here”


And if you look at the National Debt graph


the rate of New Labour’s spending increase parallels that of the rate of increase of TB infected cattle slaughtered throughout New Labour regime and also throughout the 80’s, etc..

The first graph also shows a projected decline in government spending following the Coalition’s Spending Review – I hope the rate of unnecessary cattle slaughtered is likewise reflected!


Anonymous said...

I'd like to defend King Canute here :)

He is said to have insisted to top the tide, but he did it to prove to his courtiers that he has mortal limits.

See (or ahem, hear): http://ia360615.us.archive.org/1/items/fifty_famous_stories_lc_librivox/fiftyfamous_03_baldwin_64kb.mp3

The book is here: http://librivox.org/fifty-famous-stories-retold-by-james-baldwin/


As to the idea about stopping farming cattle... IIRC we need the manure to keep the soil structure healthy...

Anonymous said...


Don't blame me!

King Un-Canute :)

Anonymous said...

Cannily, Cannily
(Ewan MacColl)

Cannily, cannily, my lal bairnikie
Divn't tha cry, my lal pet
Whisht at thy greetin'
Your daddy is sleeping
It's not time to waken him yet

Soon he'll be gan thro' the shed for his engine
Soon he'll be driving his train through the night
Working for pennies for you, my lal treasure
So had the noise, hinnie, your daddy sleeps light

When tha art grown tha shalt have tha own engine
The biggest that ever was seen on the line
And aal o' wor neighbors will point to my Johnnie
And knaa he's the king o' the North Eastern Line

Matthew said...

Anon 3.22 & 3.32

And the point is?