Sending Letters to Ministers isn't going to help! On 13th August 2010, we wrote to every member of the Welsh Assembly Government, Adam Henson, FUW, NFU, HRH PoW and others, suggesting that work we were involved with may lead to the possibility of developing a preventative treatment for Bovine tb. To balance the books, we also wrote to the Badger groups.To date: not one reply from members of WAG; nothing from Adam Henson, nothing from FUW, no interest from PoW and a meeting with NFU Cymru who asked how they could help?We're beginning to think that the last thing that anyone wants is something that may solve this issue? Oddly enough, nobody has written to us to tell us that we are mad!www.rpfbioscience.co.ukThis needs your support
RPF Bioscience ' 3.55.Thankyou for your posting. This consultation is not 'letters to a minister'. And it appears that he has already been swamped with 'no' responses, particularly since the release of the vaccine trial data - or rather the press release which accompanied it.Such a consultation is a statutory requirement of a change of direction in control of bTB. We note that no such 'consultation' was needed ahead of the 1997 moratorium on Section 10 of the Protection of Badgers Act. £1 million did the trick then.You say "We're beginning to think that the last thing that anyone wants is something that may solve this issue? "Cattle farmers do. But an amazing amount of 'work' rests on the back of a single coughing badger, not to mention the health and welfare of its protective societies, many of which adorn their collecting tins with its silhouette.We are very interested in maintaining herd health, to ward off numerous cattle diseases and so would support anything which may boost that. That said, high selenium minerals (both for cattle and badgers) have failed to make a long term impact on bTB in the past. The size of the challenge (sheer amount of bacteria) is just too great.However, if you are offering any cattle farmers in hotspot areas, a trial of your product, we would be happy to publicise it.
Our letter to AM's (Welsh Assembly Government), and others, suggested that we could supply enough "supplement" to test 5000 cattle in hot spots in Wales (we have kept this as local as we can).The letter suggested that a two-year trial would cost less than £400,000, which is a small fraction of what has already been spent achieving nothing more than the death of perhaps 70-80,000 cattle over the past two years (and the emotional and financial pain that comes with this).Nothing would please us more than being able to give this product to farmers to test, however there are costs, and given that we have had to give blood to the banks in order to finance this work (which should show some belief in it) we are not able to simply give the product away. Also, we would have to involve Govt officers so that any work carried out using this product could produce meaningful statistics, which would perhaps be used to formulate/change policy in the future.As suggested previously, given that we have not even had responses suggesting that we are wasting our time (and OUR money) pursuing this line of work?A vaccine is not going to work, because of the nature of the bacteria (myco-fungus-adapt). There are more than 15 species of native mammal which can carry this bacteria and we would be more concerned with deer than badgers.Agriculture, in its many forms, has never been under such intense scrutiny from the public. In austere times the focus of the public (and others) turns to national Govt spending and EC subsidy for agriculture. A LOT of people want to know why Govt are spending so much money on this issue, particularly as it is seen as, yet again, helping out those "fortunate" enough to be farming. The interest in subsidy.org should indicate this level of scrutiny.If nothing else, we find ourselves in a position, based on some very strong science, whereby we are having to plead that those in power "just give it a go as there seems like there is nothing else to lose" - which is disgraceful.We suggested to the Prince of Wales that he could raise a peasant army and march on parliament with the aim of promoting this innovative approach to bTB - his PA didn't think this was a good idea, however, seriously, this is the level of frustration felt here.In the time that we have spent researching the subject we have been in contact with TB experts in China, Norway, Bulgaria, USA and the UK. We have received encouragement from every other country except our own?www.rpfbioscience.co.uk
"not to mention the health and welfare of its protective societies, many of which adorn their collecting tins with its silhouette."Matthew, you do your cause no good by childish jibes like the above.You are (probably) an intelligent person, albeit one that is frustrated by a situation beyond his control, but I am sure you are fully aware that the organizations to which you refer have wider remits than cattle TB. Badgers face many threats from humans including the motor car and baiters/diggers - more than enough for organisations that you seem to hate, like the Badger Trust, to try to deal with without having to tackle the onslaught of factory scale farming.
RPF Bioscience.you say:"There are more than 15 species of native mammal which can carry this bacteria and we would be more concerned with deer than badgers."We would not. It is the the amount of bacteria carried, the effect of the disease on its host and the ability / opportunity to transmit that is the crucial bit.White tailed deer are a problem in the US, but only in so far as the hunters have encouraged them out of the woods by molassed corn buckets, which are then mopped up by cattle. This practise id now banned. TB kills deer quite quickly too.Not so badgers, which are an incredibly successful maintenance host of bTB. They are able to survive it, and shed it for several years before TB finally overcomes them. They maintain body weight and rear cubs, all the while intermittantly excreting m.bovis.They are opportunist omnivorous feeders and dismiss social group hierarchy, to gather in cattle feed sheds and share the feed. And keeping them out is not easy. We have yet to see deer slither under a 3" gate gap, climb walls or move easily through housed cattle to get to sealed feeding areas. And don't mention urine soaked grass.
RPF BioscienceThe amount of m.bovis bacteria shed by infectious badgers is well quantified.Up to 300,000 units in just 1ml of urine from a badger with kideney lesions. Slightly, but not much less in sputum and pus, dropping from open, abscessed bite woulds. The least is found in faecal matter, which cattle tend to avoid anyway.And the amount needed to infect a cow? Just 70 units. We were so surprised by the answer to that PQ, we asked again.Same answer: 0.03 of a ml, or 70 units. So be aware of the huge challenge faced by any mammal in contact with such highly infectious detritis.Anon 9.32.Fifteen years ago the NFBG (National Federation of Badgers Groups) was essentially a one woman crusade. How many are employed now? And the growth of TB hasn't had parallel beneficiaries, you compute how? Every tin rattled by the Wildlife Trusts has a badger as its emblem. And because these animals are mainly nocturnal and thus not in full view of the public, an assumption is made that somehow they are rare. Forty years ago, Ernest Neal described 1 badger per sq/km as excellent and abundant. Now 20 - 30per sq/km are common. Even the 844 badgers trapped on 55 sq km for the BCG safety project, which we decribed in earlier postings, computes to 15.3 / sq km. And that was badgers trapped, not the total number in the area.
Matthew perhaps you should restrict your postings to facts?You confidently state:"Fifteen years ago the NFBG (National Federation of Badgers Groups) was essentially a one woman crusade. How many are employed now?"OK, to be fair, you ask the question How many are employed now? But this seems an implied rhetorical question. You could always ask the Badger Trust I suppose but I'm sure you are more intersted in trying to score some sort of cheap point.The one woman crusade you refer to was presumably when Dr Elaine King was employed as CEO - her doctorate being in badger ecology I believe - with one other employee and shared office in central London.Now I don't think there are any full time staff at all.But what do you mean by employed?Chambers dictionary defines the verb employ as 'to give work, usually paid work'.Countless numbers of the public have real concerns for wildlife and show this in their support for organisations such as the Badger Trust which contrary to your implications funcions almost exclusively through the work of dedicated volunteers.Whether badgers are 'rare' is irrelevant. They are an indigenous native species and many of us feel that we have already lost too many wildlife species to the hand of man.Just because something is not yet 'rare' or 'endangered' doesn't mean it isn't worth protecting.
its costing loads to treat and animals are just getting culled and its all down to badgers i think they should carry on with the cull
How sad that there is such ignorance:"Anonymous Anonymous said... its costing loads to treat and animals are just getting culled and its all down to badgers i think they should carry on with the cull 4:12 PMNo, no, no, noIT IS NOT ALL DOWN TO BADGERSIf only it were so simple
Anon 10.11.Elaine King's doctorate was a PhD at Bristol. In case you missed this, the title of the work was:"Factors influencing the risk to cattle of infection with bovine tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis) from badgers (meles meles)"The NFBG was formed in 1986, and had support of 19 local groups.The Badger Trust, run by a Board of Directors and a secretary is a Limited company [No. 5460677] and also a registered charity (number 1111440). It was formed in 2005 and has now expanded to 60 local groups. And that isn't 'growth'? Pull the other one.Protection of the ecology is to be applauded and supported. Badger baiting is appalling.But this ultimate protection of an acknowledged maintenance reservoir for tuberculosis, is a shortsighted and foolhardy aim and does the badger no favours whatsoever..Anon 6.02YES, YES , YES - it absolutely is down to the the maintenance reservoir of TB in badgers. Cattle testing in the UK is failing to control and eradicate TB, and that situation has significantly worsened since the moratorium in 1997.. Every other country which has no such wildlife reservoir, has either totally eradicated TB from its cattle herds using the very same test / slaughter screening or is well on the way to doing so.By leaving badgers to fester, and ignoring sentinel, tested slaughtered cattle we now have problems in many other group mammals including domestic pets.
Matthew may I remind you of what you said: "Fifteen years ago the NFBG (National Federation of Badgers Groups) was essentially a one woman crusade. How many are employed now?"You have added: "The NFBG was formed in 1986, and had support of 19 local groups.The Badger Trust, run by a Board of Directors and a secretary is a Limited company [No. 5460677] and also a registered charity (number 1111440). It was formed in 2005 and has now expanded to 60 local groups."And conclude: "And that isn't 'growth'? Pull the other one."You should have been a politician - neatly trying to steer us away from what you started by talking about - employment.Yes support for wildlife may well have grown, and who should be surprised at this, but just do not jump to any conclusions about employment. The Badger Trust directors are volunteers and do not profit financially for their work - unlike farmers.And OK badgers are involved in the cattle TB saga, but do not try and mislead your colleagues into thinking a few silver bullets in the direction of badgers will solve the TB problem overnight.Even with the use of an aerial (and indiscriminate) drop of poison aimed at eliminating a non-native species New Zealand is looking at a 45 year plan apparently.Your plugging of 'sentinel cattle' is wearing a bit thin too - it's about as meaningful as the NFU's 'targetted cull of diseased badgers'.Outside of this little group, what support is there for your proposed solution?Didn't seem to be included in the consultation - perhaps you can convince DEFRA to use it as a plan B
In 1986 Dr Ernest Neal – then the UK’s badger specialist – published a book – ‘Badgers’ – and on page 201 he says - referring to the Badger Culling performed by MAFF (which demonstrably helped control bTB) saying“Understandably, such drastic action against the badger was looked upon with horror and dismay by naturalists and conservationists but it was recognised by all responsible conservation bodies that a serious situation had arisen and with regret the Ministry’s action was considered justified”That book had a Foreword written by Sir David Attenborough which included the statement• “This book is summation of all he (Dr Neal) has learned about the species both from the researches of others and from his own observations. It is likely to remain the authoritative account of badgers for a very long time to come. Likewise - Prof Tim Roper in a recent ‘replacement’ for Dr Neal’s book writes in ‘Badgers’ published by Collins:-• “if TB is self-sustaining in badgers (virtually certain) and if the percentage of new cattle infections attributable to badgers exceeds 50% (which it does significantly), then it seems self-evident that some kind of action against the wildlife reservoir will be necessary, at least in the hot-spot areas” … and• “it has subsequently become clear that this is not the end of the story - culling ceased in 2005 – but the incidence of TB in cattle within the proactively culled areas continued to decline while the perturbation effect also declined and eventually…. went into reverse”. So clearly Pro Roper agrees with the need to cull tuberculous badgers – the same need that Dr Neal recognised.in1986!So what does Attenborough (the leader of the BAFTA-led anti-cull threesome of Attenborough, Lumley & May) know now that Dr Neal didn’t know then?What’s changed since Dr Neal’s time? Why has Attenborough changed his mind?It must be down to “the health and welfare of its protective societies”?
Anon 3.28.Pedants corner. Sit.'Employment' as you rightly pointed out, may be paid or unpiad, but involves 'work'. It covers all involved in the societies, trials, projects and proposals which ride happily on the back of coughing badgers, in order to avoid actually doing anything at all, about their plight or their disease transmissions. None of us have any time whatsover for most 'politicians'. Too slippery by half.You say:" And OK badgers are involved in the cattle TB saga,"Good. So what do you propose?".. but do not try and mislead your colleagues into thinking a few silver bullets in the direction of badgers will solve the TB problem overnight."Our 'colleagues', led by Defra civil servants are off on a mission trying to mirror what they think John Bourne said. We opt to disagree.Targeted culls, completely carried out (all the social group, not just a few) highlighted by cattle, alpaca, sheep and other mammals' tests, deaths and postmortems in the area, combined with badger tracking and bait marking did work, does work and will work again.No farmer of whom we are aware, wants a wipe out of badgers. "Even with the use of an aerial (and indiscriminate) drop of poison aimed at eliminating a non-native species New Zealand is looking at a 45 year plan apparently"In less than ten years, NZ have dropped TB incidence to just 0.2 per cent. And are well on the way to achieving totally TB free status in cattle and deer. We've heard the 45 year thing too. More NZ AH scientists defending jobs than a realistic time scale, we think. A graph of NZ's progress can be viewed here, and we are most grateful for its use:http://bovinetb.blogspot.com/2009/04/tb-free.htmlThe UK is achieving almost 10 per cent incidence in the UK, by the way. Not NZ's 1.2 per cent in 2003, and now 0.2.
Anon 3.28: You say "Your plugging of 'sentinel cattle' is wearing a bit thin..." But given that cattle do not give TB to each other very easily (as demonstrated by Defra studies), sentinels is exactly what they are. Reactors are showing us where there is infection in the badger population. That's the whole point.And this site isn't misleading anyone about "silver bullets" - or anything else. It's carefully and thoroughly researched and argued. If you haven't done so already, I suggest you read the main threads which have been discussed over the years.
Hello JimDo you remember FMD?And the subsequent restocking?And the spread of bTB into previously unaffected areas?Spread byCattle movementsSo it seems that "that cattle do not give TB to each other very easily" is unlikelyDo you have a reference for the Defra studies please.
"In 1986 Dr Ernest Neal – then the UK’s badger specialist – published a book – ‘Badgers’" – and ten years later a new updated version was published that does not seem to contain your quote, rather it says, referring to vaccines:"At last a solution is in sight that might satisfy all parties"
OK Matthew, or should we call you 'The Collective', you are now choosing to judge all members of the public who spend their own time freely supporting a cause they care about as people who "ride happily on the back of coughing badgers".Well now, I do appreciate that you are trying to run a business, and bTB can restrict things due to movement restrictions, but your blog does nothing to convince me that killing native wildlife is appropriate.Your ultimate customers, we the public, feel strongly about this. There is no one simple solution available at present.You are not BORG, we will not be assimilated.
A whole generation of farmers, vets and badger scientists have grown up being told badgers are THE problem, and have forgotten how TB works in cows .Hence believe the only point in testing cattle is to find the sentinel cases hinting at a badger TB pocket ... cull that, problem solvedSome 90-95% of cattle simply catch TB by prolonged contact over-wintering in barns or yards. But it may be 5-6 months before they become reactors to the skin test so farmers obviously assume they have just caught it from the high risk spring cattle turn-out to pasture contact with those terrible badgers! After some 35 years trying, it is still unclear how badgers are supposed to give cows a respiratory lung infection, whereas badgers turning over cow pats seeking dung beetles is the perfect way for them to catch TB FROM cows.www.badgersandtb.com
If you can't manage bTB in badgers then ALL badgers must be culledYou choose!Simples
The consultation is over. Or at least this one is. The way this polemic has developed, we fully expect another one in 2015.So briefly:Anon 8.45: A link to Mark Woolhouse's work following the movement of cattle splash.http://bovinetb.blogspot.com/2005/05/cattle-cattle-critical-analysis.htmlOf course if cattle move home carrying TB, they are not going to have a Damoscene moment in the lorry, and lose that infection. The point was that post FMD restocks, were found, slaughtered out and that was the end of the matter. They did not entrench a new spoligotype in Cumbria. And according the VLA spoligotype maps, they have not managed to anywhere else, either.There were very few reactors anyway, ( from memory, less than 40 out of thousands of herd restocks ?) And here's a little known snippet from AHO; not all those reactor cattle were found with spoligotypes matching the consigning herds. Some popped up on VNTR with the Cumbrian strain of TB. So a very much home grown exposure.Anon 9.44. The public are being seriously and dangerously misled. Already there are more than 400 dead alpacas, diagnosed originally from 'environmental bTB'. So 'the public' ignore the cattle at their peril. Bring on the cats. Anon 11,14. Yes, up to 7 months or 221 days actually - but, if you are testing a herd of cattle every 60 days - as many of us were / are - then the test latency of 30 / 50 days is covered. And what the test is showing is continuing early exposure. Intelligent testing would be done at autumn housing, and six months later at turn out. But we rarely get that opportunity. What you describe was observed by William Tait in the early 1970s. But the official CVO's report 1974 noted that housed calves remained free of TB, while those turned out to grass (from the same premises) became reactors :http://bovinetb.blogspot.com/2007/07/condemned-to-repeat-past-mistakes.html
"Already there are more than 400 dead alpacas, diagnosed originally from 'environmental bTB'. So 'the public' ignore the cattle at their peril."Exactly! Cattle TB!
Don't understand this - "But we rarely get that opportunity."I can get the vet to look at my animals whenever I choose (to pay him) to do so
Anon 6.01Your comment has been passed to the Alpaca TB website editors. But we know from the AHO risk assessments done on restricted alpaca herds, that cattle do not figure at all in the vast majority. No contact and no neighbours who farm cattle. Anon 6.04.TB testing is far more controlled than merely telephoning and paying your vet. First of all, to carry out a TB test, the vet has to be an 'LVI' which is licensed by Defra. If cattle are to be moved, then a pre movement test may be arranged. But a whole herd test, with no movements involved would have to have a Ministry sanction as they provide the tuberculin antigen and also control the timing. It would also have to be some time after a routine herd test, the delaying of which until housing, would invoke an immediate shut down, and possibly penalties on any reactor monies etc. Farmers test herds when Defra say so, not when they consider it convenient. And finally cost. The average veterinary cost of cattle testing is approximately £8 / head. (Two visits, travelling and time are involved)
Anon 8.54: Yes, I remember FMD only too well - apart from the slaughter, mainly for the incompetence of the government (aided and abetted by "mathematical modellers") and for the refusal of so-called animal rights groups to support pleas by farmers for simple welfare measures like being allowed to move sheep across the road so that lambs didn't drown in mud as soon as they were born. But that's another story.As for restocking after FMD you will find if you look at the evidence that most apparent transmission of TB involved cattle that were already infected being picked up by testing at their new home, then being slaughtered out - end of problem. In other words, no onward transmission of TB to the existing herd. Which only goes to prove the point that cattle do not give TB to each other very easily. (They are picked up by the TB test before they become infectious and are immediately removed.) As for cattle passing on TB in sheds over the winter, I know of several cases round me where a number of bullocks have tested positive having been housed with others in the same shed, but it turns out that the reactors were all from the same group which happened to graze a particular field in the summer, and they had entirely failed to pass TB on to bullocks from different groups which had grazed different fields. I myself had an even more extreme case of a cow which comprehensively failed to give TB to her calf in (what you would no doubt regard as) unpromising circumstances. You may not like to hear this but "cattle give it to cattle" is for the most part a myth. AH themselves say this - numerous refs on this blog.From memory, the Defra studies are SE 3013 and SE 3015, but they will be well referenced elsewhere on this blog. Matthew has already referenced the study on post-FMD restocking. Anon 6.04: You may not realise this but TB testing is extremely stressful for cattle. They have to be gathered (twice, at 72 hour intervals), pushed into a crush and have two needles jabbed into their neck. There are numerous examples of cattle being injured/aborting and of farmers being injured. (It has happened to two of my neighbours.) It's not something you do lightly. Another neighbour of mine estimated that TB testing last year involved 42 man-days of his and his workers' time - or, say, roughly two months work in normal "office" currency. At today's milk/beef prices you need to keep quite a lot of cattle to cover that kind of cost.
From the tone of the many anti-cull bio-terrorists I think they think they have lost it
Unlike some farmers posting on this site, those of us that oppose the cull don't have to resort to calling our opponents silly names.We shouldn't be surprised I suppose as some of you seem desperate to get on with the killing.I'm referring to you Anonymous 8:51 AM who said: "From the tone of the many anti-cull bio-terrorists I think they think they have lost it"I wonder what you said in your reply to he consultation - do tell us please
Anonymous 3:19 PM said... If you can't manage bTB in badgers then ALL badgers must be culled You choose! SimplesSome would suggest you choose Simples.Perhaps - If you can't manage bTB in cattle then ALL cattle must be culled.Or if that is a bit radical for you, how about going back to the times of small herds without the relentless movements of the modern industry
Hi Anon 1.18 PMMy response to the Consultation was words to the effect that:-1. My preferred option is in-sett gassing – because it has already be proven to work – the sick badgers are killed – the sick cattle are killed – thus breaking the ‘deadly embrace’ in which we find the two species and thus reducing the wildlife reservoir of bTB2. However – as this is not an option I therefore support the free shooting and cage-trapping and subsequent shooting of sick badgers.3. Vaccination is a fig leaf – unproven and expensive 4. I also request that ‘badger’ is no longer classified as a ‘protected species’ and that access to all appropriate land be granted to those responsible for the cull – and any refusals be subject to heavy fines and any grants to organisations such as the Woodland Trust be stopped.5. I also ask that a law be passed to heavily fine activists interfering with the culling – you’ll remember the £400,000 damage done last time6. Have I missed anything out?Are you really proud to support the do nothing option – irresponsible bio-terrorism as I’ve already stated.- based on ignorance and emotion! You really must get a grip!
Having been employed on badger removal operations with MAFF and subsequently Defra, I can tell you that where removals were carried out, often for up to three months at a time, those farmers that have since "managed" their badger populations have stayed clear of TB. Anecdotal evidence I know but accurate none the less. Illegal in the eys of the Law ? Yes. But what options are there available to legally stop thousands of cattle from catching this dreaded disease unless you are prepared to break the Law ? What needs to be done is:a.Target only farms under restriction and their immediate area - that is the area where potentially infected badgers are coming from.b. Issue a licence for removal that lasts until the whole area is either declared TB free or has reached a level whereby it can be accepted.c. Fund the research on PCR technology to fine tune where to target the culls - use a gas(argon/carbon monoxide ?) to kill off the setts and them fill them in and monitor them for a year afterwards with further culling if they get re-inhabited.d. Relax the POBA 1992 to facilitate the issue of localised licences to legally remove badgers from infected farms. Some facts as well:1.Since 1997, Defra have killed approx 845 badgers per year - less than 11,000 in total. The worst/best year saw only 2,000 culled.2. Since 1997, Badger baiters have captured/killed over 115,000.3.Since 1997, road kills have killed over 650,000 badgers4. Since 1997, thousands of farmers have taken the law into their own hands and actively "managed" their local badger populations - numbers killed ? Tens of thousands probably ?5.Since 1997, over 200,000 cattle have been slaughtered with the disease.I know farmers that have stayed clear of the disease by actively managing their badger populations for the last 40 years or so. This is what needs to happen and soon - local management of what has become a huge population of badgers. Despite the huge numbers killed both illegally and accidentlally, the badger population seems to be as big as ever - so is the badger an endangered species ? I think not. A cull has to occur but not in the draconian manner that is being suggested - targetted, focused and backed up by PCR technology is the way forward - surely ?Should a cull not be forthcoming, I feel that those who currently, and illegally, cull their own population of badgers will increase dramatically and that will be something none of us want. As a now active dairy farmer, all I wish to see is my stock staying healthy living in harmony with our wildlife. Unfortunately, what Is evolving is a scheme whereby none of us will be winners - our Politicians need to get this right this time or it really will be too late to ever get this disease under control again.
Excellent blog from last Anon but New Labour deliberately ignored PCR technology - so now it doesn't figure - but it should!This is what the anti-cull tribalists deserve for being so stupid!
Yes - PCR can accurately detect bTB in a sett and in a badger - that's the last thing the anti-cull people want done - hence Labour's / Benn's vegetarian objection to the technology - find a sick badger? leave it alone to die a miserable death and infect all the others - these anti-cull fools ain't half stupid!Perhaps they are not stupid - perhaps it's their veggie way of getting rid of cattle?Truly sickening!
There's no time left - the Coalition wants action - that mean's shooting sick badgersIf New Labour and The Badger Trust had been realistic the proposed cull would be less widespread, more precise and more efficient Attenborough, Jo Lumley and Dr (sic) May just do not understand - shame!
I asked Defra about PCR a few months ago and they said it was not (yet) considered robust enough to give reliable results in the field. Don't know what it would take or how long before it is useable, but anything that would enable precisely targetted culling ought to be being pursued with all speed.As for gassing, interestingly the 2005 consultation document said that research was being carried out into possible use of carbon monoxide. What happened to that I wonder?
Hi JimWarwick Uni made it work well enough in the fieldThe Labour administration said it would never use itUnfortunately we still have the groomed by New Labour DEFRA mafia pushing vaccination Science? What's that got to do with anything?
The farmers' messiah, Jim Paice recently was quoted as saying that it would be the quality of responses to the consultation - rather than quantity - that would count. I wonder how he will judge quality?I expect that the responses will be published by DEFRA in due course, but we can make a start as the RSPCA has published its reply, but the NFU's is 'members only' at present - why?Let's not forget our fellow bloggers - one of whom has been brave enough to post his.Anonymous 6:06 PM said... My response to the Consultation was words to the effect that:- 1. My preferred option is in-sett gassing – because it has already be proven to work – the sick badgers are killed – the sick cattle are killed – thus breaking the ‘deadly embrace’ in which we find the two species and thus reducing the wildlife reservoir of bTB 2. However – as this is not an option I therefore support the free shooting and cage-trapping and subsequent shooting of sick badgers. 3. Vaccination is a fig leaf – unproven and expensive 4. I also request that ‘badger’ is no longer classified as a ‘protected species’ and that access to all appropriate land be granted to those responsible for the cull – and any refusals be subject to heavy fines and any grants to organisations such as the Woodland Trust be stopped. 5. I also ask that a law be passed to heavily fine activists interfering with the culling – you’ll remember the £400,000 damage done last time 6. Have I missed anything out?Well yes, I suspect you have. But I don't count - over to the messiah
It seems to me that the pro-badger / anti-cull brigade have missed their opportunity to do something sensible and measured - now all the farmer has to do is blast away until bTB is halted in his hot spot area OR there are no badgers left to infect his cattle!Congratulations Badger Trust supporters - not really what you wanted is it?
From reading some things on this blog you might be forgiven for thinking that the government has already decided to go ahead with licensing a farmer led badger cull.If the quality of farmer responses to the consultation are anything like that of the posting by Anonymous 5:42 PM, badgers will have nothing to fear. 5:42 PM
Anon 5.42 hereI am a Vet and see both sides I am just stating a fact and begging a question So what is your answer?Is this what you wanted? It looks like what you are going to get! And then what are you going to do?
Does anyone else find it a bit worrying that a vet has such a poor understanding of disease control that he thinks "now all the farmer has to do is blast away until bTB is halted in his hot spot area OR there are no badgers left to infect his cattle!"?What would I do?I would start again with a fresh look at our cattle industry.PS I wonder if your clients know your views Mr Anonymous vet.
My clients and I are without exception in total agreement with my views on the cause and effect of bTB in wildlife We all had the opportunity to sensibly address this problem - but the previous Labour Govt corrupted the whole process. The situation has moved on - and so thankfully has the Labour Government "Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of livestock resources, the promotion of public health and the advancement of medical knowledge.I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence."
Anonymous11.15"Does anyone else find it a bit worrying that a vet has such a poor understanding of disease control that he thinks "now all the farmer has to do is blast away until bTB is halted in his hot spot area OR there are no badgers left to infect his cattle!"?"More than a bit worrying!But then Dr Mengele was a doctor...There are some pretty spooky people on here, but it shows you what we're up against!
All the vets I have come across are thoroughly disgusted with the "do nothing" policy which has prevailed in recent years and find the constant round of testing and condemnation for slaughter very disheartening. They are all perfectly conversant with the causes of TB and know what needs to be done. It is the anti-cull brigade which is irresponsible with their strident (hysterical, even) opposition to a targeted cull of diseased badgers and their refusal to look at the evidence with an open mind. Vets have no axe to grind in the badger v. cattle debate. In fact, if we ever get on top of TB, they'll be worse off because there will be less testing to do. Anyone trying to make a comparison with Dr Mengele should study their history and feel ashamed of themselves.
This is getting boring!Jim, a "targeted cull of diseased badgers" is such a well worn and unachievable statement. This might be possible some time in the future - but it is not now.And those "Vets have no axe to grind in the badger v. cattle debate"?Ever heard of trying to keep your customers happy? Or to spell this out - if a farmer is the client, the vet may well tell him what he wants to hear.
Now if it were town rats with bTB ... ?
Anonymous 2:35 PM said... Now if it were town rats with bTB ... ?Answer: Not a problem - cattle don't live in towns
Well this has been an interesting debate. It is quite clear that reasoned argument, post mortem pics and research prior to 1997, (and afterwards) means diddly squat. 'The science' is the RBCT, the whole RBCT and nothing but the RBCT . This despite being pointed directly towards the failings, pre arranged conclusions and downright stupidity profligated by this exercise by those of us directly involved. It is also clear that despite evidence from alapaca owners, cat owners and reports now of sheep, bison, deer and llamas with TB that absolutely nothing will dent the enthusiasm of badger 'protectors' to defend their chosen species. Even if that means over population, an endemic zoonotic disease which over spills into other mammals and ultimately a particularly vile death. We get the picture. The problem is cattle. And in particular cattle farmers and cattle farming which some of you detest - more than you 'love' badgers ?And it has been said many times, get rid of the cattle and TB will just fade away. But it doesn't. It is endemic in badgers and will stay that way, until that reservoir is tackled.We are told that in some areas, the spoligotype collectors at VLA are now hoovering up cats to plump out their TB strain maps. Why? There are no more cattle left to postmortem. The herds have sold up and gone. Fields are empty of cattle. But there are plenty of TB riddled cats. Go figure.
Anon 9.59: There are at least two ways to target diseased badgers (an approach which, interestingly, your posting seems to suggest you would agree with). One is PCR (which an earlier posting tells us does work in the field and has only been held back for political reasons). The other is through careful observation by those who know what signs to look for in and around a diseased sett. (Such people do exist and their skills are perfectly valid even though they may not go round in white coats or have letters after their name.)If you say you only want to trust "peer-reviewed science", then I return you to the question which was, in effect, posed by the Anon vet above. Would you rather see all badgers in an area culled or only those believed to be diseased?And by the way, any vet worth his or her salt tells a client what the client needs to know, not what the client wants to hear. Please explain why I've heard exactly the same message not only from vets whose client I am, but also from vets in other practices, and from Defra vets. It's the message in the consultation document, i.e. we've got to do something about the wildlife reservoir.
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