Rather than get snarled up in a cats' cradle of mathematical calculations of how many badgers of undetermined health status to remove from a given area over a set time frame, a group of west country farmers have turned the clock back.
They have taken the sentinel cattle tests, badger tracking to determine territories and thus presented a much tighter target on those groups responsible for prolonged TB breakdowns in regularly tested cattle.
The inaugural meetings to introduce the concept, are this week. Full story with venues and times are explained by the Western Morning News, in this link.
We hope that the research painstakingly carried out over several years and which has now resulted in PCR being described in this publication thus: "An Inter-Laboratory Validation of a Real Time PCR Assay to Measure Host Excretion of Bacterial Pathogens, Particularly of Mycobacterium bovis" may find a place in this.
And we would point out, with the greatest of respect of course, that far from being 'never used in my lifetime' as described to veterinary practitioners a few years ago by the diminutive Professor Bourne, PCR used on badger setts is now a real time test, validated (which means capable of repitition) by three different laboratories in two countries, the research peer reviewed and published.
We have also touched on its use in abattoirs, in this project on sheep,
and the posting below describes an ongoing project to investigate its eventual use as an ancillary ante mortem test for alpacas, who have a very poor response to the skin test.
So is this the 'science' needed to support this new farmer initiative, which seeks to identify unhealthy badgers, rather than take pot shots at any which cross across the countryside using the ISG's mathematical models?
Badger supporters (and Dr.Brian May) cannot really want them to suffer like this one, can they?