Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Consultation responses

The latest Defra Consultation on controlling badgers to prevent the spread of TB, (as opposed to the previous one) offers a monumental pile of dead trees and several Annexes. And not unreasonably, farmers are asking 'how do we respond?'. Their main representative bodies, the NFU and the NBA are keen that farmers do respond, but appear to give them little help to do just that.

In the previous 2006 consultation, the RSPCA and the Badger Trust used a flood of postcards to give a huge and overwhelming block vote against any action, driven on a wave of rhetoric and misinformation, from people who had absolutely nothing to lose. This was widely criticised and the current consultation has a preferred format of 8 questions. The difficulty is, finding this template.

The NFU website expresses the opinion that replies do not have to be the 8 answer format. (Click pdf link in the right hand box for finer details) While the National Beef Association have an out of date and limited list of meeting venues, and little else that we could find.

So we are most grateful to Dr. Brian May, for a clear template on how best to respond to Defra's latest effort.

A postcard from 'a farmer' saying yes, we must cull badgers, is not good enough.

Meanwhile with impeccable timing, yesterday Defra announced that BCG injectable vaccine could reduce TB levels in badgers.


Anonymous said...

Are you a good shot, or do you intend employing a contractor if you get your way?

Matthew said...

Anon 5.13.
For a 'shot' of vaccine, a contractor has to be employed. Option 6 (which we understand is the preferred option), although not necessarily by us, is a combination of both.
For lead shot, the same would apply, as it has to be delivered by a .22 or similar rifle using fragmenting shot. Although most farmers have shotgun licences, the use of this rifle requires a Firearms Certificate with an extra bolt on for the use of fragmented shot, and another for licensed use on badgers. All very tightly controlled, so a licensed gamekeeper or similar would have to be employed.

Anonymous said...

"a licensed gamekeeper or similar would have to be employed."

That sounds expensive

Anonymous said...

No mention of the Oral TB vaccine reported back in September in The Telegraph

This said: "Researchers have found a way of protecting the BCG vaccine, which offers
immunity against TB, from being destroyed by powerful acids in badgers' stomachs, meaning it can be fed to them in bait left outside their sets
rather them needing to be caught and injected."


Sounds like this could be the winner?

Matthew said...

Anon 9.24.
Defra's estimate of the cost to participating landowners is £1.6 million per 150 sg km + its 2 km perimeter vaccinated buffer. That was based on just over 2.5 badgers culled per sq km. per year for 4 years. (See ANNEX F - Impact assessment)

Anon 5.03.
We think the injectable BCG has had been granted a license, while oral has not. All the trials of which we are aware with oral, badgers have been force fed a measured dose and the vaccine has not voluntarily accepted by genuinely 'wild' badgers.
Similarly, the injectable vax has been trialed on badgers captured and pre screened with various blood assays, (three times) for TB, prior to administration of the jab.

Anonymous said...

Matthew I think you are correct in thinking the injectable BCG has had been granted a license, while oral has not. Also that the oral vaccine has not voluntarily accepted by genuinely 'wild' badgers.

Some mashed peanuts formed into 'badger bites' laced with bcg should do the trick.

OK the science mumbo jumbo ain't there just yet, but this still looks like an acceptable (cost + no badger killing) way to go.