Sunday, December 30, 2012

That magic roundabout again.

We have mentioned this roundabout several times. bTB has become a beneficial crisis, employing many on its tortuous and mainly circular route. But we've been here too long.

A 'new' paper published by Exeter University's Nicola Weber and others describes badger behaviour as 'correlating with bTB status. Well hallelujah for that. But here we have problem. This is not 'new'.

In 2003/2004 the then Shadow Minister at Defra, Owen Paterson MP, bombarded his counterpart at that department with the almost 600 Parliamentary Questions which form the basis of this site. We have them stored. One such, asked on 17th March 2004, asked:
".. to what extent and under what circumstances non resident badgers will visit setts inhabited by social groups to which they do not belong; and whether this represents a significant opportunity for the spread of TB between badger social groups" [ 157989]
And the answer, (almost ten long years ago)was :
"The most common reason for visits by badgers to setts within other social groups is likely to be breeding forays by males. This close contact between individuals from different groups is likely to represent an opportunity for the inter group spread of TB."
And along similar lines, Mr. Paterson also asked:
.. what is meant by a 'super-excreter' in respect of badger infected by TB and whether badgers so described exhibit atypical behavioural characteristics." [158375]
 The answer to that question was that 'super excreters' was a term given to badgers in the advanced stage of disease progression. And their behaviour, in 2004, was described thus:
"Research conducted by the Central Science Laboratory has identified behavioural differences between badgers excreting M.bovis, and uninfected animals. Badgers excreting M.bovis had larger home ranges and were more likely to inhabit farm buildings."
And so we come full circle dear readers, and many of those same old familiar names on this paper that have been making hay while Woodchester's peanut fed pets continue to cough, for decades. Not the same badgers it has to said, but their grandchildren, even great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. All merrily hoovering up taxpayer's cash, while their carers repeat previous 'work'.

The Western Morning News carries a piece about this latest paper, with Robbie MacDonald once again doing his Oliver impression:
"It would be valuable to test the relationship between behaviour and infection more thoroughly.
 No it would not. You already have the CSL research which answered that question a decade ago.
 Just Google it. You know it makes sense.

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