The last line of a Badger Trust press release, issued last week, which describes the coalition government's preferred Option 6 as a 'futile jumble'.
The Badger Trust appeals in a new leaflet for the public to respond to the Coalition Government’s consultation on its pointless plans to license farmers to kill badgers in parts of England, its preferred option after setting out a futile muddle of assertions in its official consultation document. It is vital for those concerned about the welfare of this indigenous species to respond not least because the National Farmers’ Union – a far larger and wealthier organisation – is staging briefing meetings countrywide to encourage its members to support the killing of badgers – at their own expense.We gave links to the consultation documents in this posting. But the one which farmers should read and inwardly digest is Annex F, (number 8 on our list) entitled 'Impact assessment', which describes in detail the impact of an RBCT type area cull on the pockets of participating farmers.
The Badger Trust's reply to the consultation is predictable, and can be found here.
The Badger Trust press release also contains a delicious example of John Bourne misquoting, er, John Bourne:
The consultation document contains inconsistencies, confusing statements and omissions at various points throughout its great length. It is cynically slanted against the badger and fails to quote fairly the principal scientific finding which it buries in an annex 134 pages down. This states:That 'principal scientific finding' would be the oft (mis)quoted Professor John Bourne, when describing his ten year prevarication. A single decade amongst many where the epidemiology of TB in badgers and cattle has been cogitated and investigated, published - and ignored.
“First, while badgers are clearly a source of cattle TB, careful evaluation of our own and others’ data indicates that badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain.
(**See later edit, for the source of that misquote)
However on many occasions, including in oral evidence to
The Welsh Assembly Government in July 2007, this truncated version of what Bourne said is expanded thus:
"We repeatedly say "culling, as conducted in the trial." It is important [that] we do say that. Those limitations were not imposed by ourselves. They were imposed by politicians."So, what do we have? Badgers are 'clearly a source of cattle TB, but culling them 'as conducted in the trial' ... can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain".
We knew that, and so did Bourne at the beginning of his
And sooner or later, someone is going to hold government accountable for this.
Meanwhile, we have to agree with the Badger Trusts' final line.
Edit 5/11 : The Badger Trust press release clearly states Bourne's statement : " It (the consultation document) is cynically slanted against the badger and fails to quote fairly the principal scientific finding which it buries in an annex 134 pages down."
As we are easily bored at blogger HQ, but also a tad pedantic about such sources, we trawled 'it' - as in the consultation document and its various annexes. The document itself comprises 53 pages, and each annex between 6 and 40 pages. Even with a calculator to add these together, arriving at the appropriate '134 pages down' or thereabouts, we were unable to locate such a quote. Had a grammatical nicety got in the way? Was this gem to be found 134 pages into the Final Report of the ISG ?
Nope. We have marked p.134 of that document, but not because of this statement. It deals with biosecurity, badgers and cattle. And the ISG conclusion is that "It is not possible to identify particular risk factors which can be adopted across all regions with the expectation of ensuring reduced transmission of disease to and from cattle." That will not stop Defra trying to link pseudo and obscure biosecurity advice to farmer payments however, but we digress...
Where did that quote come from?
From what we can see, it is not in the Consultation documents at all, on page 134 of various annexes or anywhere else: neither is it in the ISG Final Report at the reference given. We found it in Bourne's letter to the then Secretary of State, elder brother to small pretender Ed, the Right Honourable David Milliband, MP .... right at the start of the ISG Final Report of 2007, on page 5.
While on our trawl of the consultation stuff, we did find another quote which the Badger Trust obviously missed. This one is on page 17 of Annex F of the package, and states that the policy to cull is to "address the reservoir of the disease in wildlife." Page 18 gives the options but page 16 [1.4] states that the key element not currently deployed is badger control. It continues:
"Scientific evidence indicates that in areas with high TB incidence in cattle, it will not be possible to eliminate the disease in cattle without addressing the transmission from badgers."Furthermore the document asserts:
" No other country in the world has successfully tackled bTB in cattle without addressing any wildlife reservoir involved in maintaining and transmitting infection to cattle. We therefore regard this as the most pressing issue if we are to make progress on tackling the disease in cattle."
Precisely. And while 'we' are making such statements, perhaps as well as cattle, 'we' should mention the other bTB overspill victims of an unfettered wildlife reservoir of disease. The now hundreds of other mammals which we have highlighted on this site, but which 'we' still seem keen to ignore.
We are most grateful for the opportunity to correctly quote a Badger Trust mis-reference.