Their somewhat explosive response, we did not expect.
A protocol designed to do one thing cannot and should not be tweaked to fit another scenario, and assumptions made without postmortems to support. That is 'outrageous' was one comment offered. The following snips are from a comment of the efficacy of BCG posting (below) with which we absolutely agree.
"As a biologist, I find these results rather perturbing. I know that BCG isn't all that effective, but results such as this demonstrate that it is so ineffective as to be near-useless, especially given the stress and disruption of vaccinating wild badgers ."
As cattle farmers, the results that even badgers receiving a very high dose of BCG, still developed lesions and still shed m.bovis was not good news to us either. As was the postmortem result for badger D313, (1 of the 9 given high dose BCG after a clear pre-jab screen) and for whom BCG gave no protection at all. The comment continues:
This is worthy of much wider publicity, since the general public seem to think that one dose of vaccine gives immediate, 100% effective, lifelong protection from a disease. This simplistic notion needs to be corrected; people need telling that BGC isn't all that effective, and that M bovis is definitely not a disease only of cows and badgers, but one which can readily spread to people.
We are trying, but when faced with a brick wall of vested interests, lobby money and index linked pensions, a TB riddled badger supports a huge industry on its back. Pushing water uphill may be easier.
This is, I think, a matter of some urgency since if this isn't done then the usual myths and magical thinking regarding vaccination will persist (i.e. the disease isn't a problem for people, and vaccination is a cure) and the necessary widespread badger cull will be that much more difficult to achieve
We think that as soon as Defra delivered this skewed piece of non-science to the Badger Trust, the general media and various assorted celebrities in need of a cause, it was game over.
And you are absolutely correct in thinking that the public and many animal activists genuinely believe that BCG will protect the badger, completely and indefinitely, whatever its current disease status. And yes, the label 'bovine' TB implies the only victims are cattle.
As to what can be done, well we've tried. Lord knows we've tried. But battling against arrogance and vested interests, who are in an armlock with government is a thankless task and one which we are afraid we have lost. The winner is the bacterium known as m.bovis, which will continue to infect any mammal unfortunate enough to fall over it.