Wednesday, November 27, 2013

An excellent day ..

... for the zoonotic Tuberculosis bacteria, known as mycobacterium bovis everywhere. In the shape of the great badger saviour, Dr. Brian May and his extraordinarily deep pockets, all its Christmases have come together.

Yesterday, (26th November) May's 'Save Me' campaign funded an 'exceptionally urgent' High Court challenge to halt the extension to the Gloucestershire -(link) pilot badger cull.

Please note Update Farmers Weekly interactive report that the High Court challenge has failed - (link)

But from the earlier Farmers Guardian report this morning:
John Cooper QC said: “From the material I have seen already, it is clear that appropriate procedures have not been taken in relation to this action, which will inevitably lead to the destruction of more wildlife if the Government remains unchallenged.

“In all the circumstances and for the grounds we have set out, we assert that the decisions made by Defra, the Secretary of State and Natural England, separately and or cumulatively were unreasonable and should be immediately revoked.”
Other quotes in the FG piece refer to the number of badgers culled out of an uncertain and moving target within a certain time frame and the subsequent effect on zTuberculosis levels in cattle. Not forgetting of course, other mammals which May's groupies and Defra would prefer to airbrush. Which is a bit bloody rich considering the disastrous launch with cage traps into grossly infected badger populations with cage traps for just 8 nights, undertaken by the RBCT Badger Dispersal Trial almost two decades ago.

And as we predicted, the polemic widens, with poor old Monty Don having to close his Twitter account - (link) after a deluge of abuse. He mentioned that control of the badger population was probably necessary.
Responding to a request to join a march against the cull, Mr Don, who succeeded Jonathan Dimbleby as President of the Soil Association in 2008, tweeted: “Not sure whether the cull is in principle a bad thing. Probably ineffective but not necessarily wrong as a trial.”

Later, as opponents of the policy questioned his comments, he added that the cull was ‘an honest attempt to control TB’.

He said: “We cull many animals – don’t know why badgers get special treatment.”
Quite. Apart from becoming a 'cult' animal for a few and a beneficial cash cow revenue stream for many, badgers are the main predator of many ground nesting birds, bees and wasps (via nests) hedgehogs and small invertebrates. And they dig up carrots. But as more land developments proceed, even if their ancestral homes are protected by statute, their grazing habitats may not be. A consequence is territorial displacement and the perturbation which then explodes the disease which is endemic in the population.

Those statements are not the fanciful wishes of your editors: they are contained in the answers to PQs archived on this site from Owen Paterson's 2003/04 questions. Scroll down to 2004 and read them.

 This is not a debate about badgers or cattle. Controlling the spread of a zoonotic Grade 3 pathogen needs no debate at all. It is by statute an undertaking Governments must adhere to, to protect human health.

 But as the rift grows between the misguided people who want to 'save' all the badgers regardless of their disease status, the ambitious and unscrupulous pseudo scientists who play the 'vaccination' card as an alternative to disease control and those who want a meaningful control of zTB, the only 'winner' is the zoonotic bacteria which infected badgers share so easily.

 This is a comment found on one of the few sites which still allow badgerists that sort of platform:
“The longer this sorry debate drags on, the weaker the democratic process looks. I don't think peaceful protest is working. The innocent are still dying. Until the badger killers are actually slaughtered on the job themselves by the same gunfire they are using against these defenceless creatures, we shall get nowhere. We need to put people off killing with a dose of their own medicine. It worked in World War 2. Democracy has to be fought for - it doesn't just happen.”
That was a comment in a Westcountry online newspaper. And from the fragrant Chris Packham, he of the BBC Badger Benefit club, comments on his Twitter account recently earned him a severe rap on the knuckles after an enquiry into his 'intemperate' comments by Lord Hall of Birkenhead. At the start of the pilot culls, Packham's Tweets included this little gem:
"Tonight could be the darkest for British wildlife that we have witnessed in our lives. [] ..that brutalist thugs, liars and frauds will destroy our wildlife and dishonour our nation's reputation as conservationists and animal lovers."
So Merry Christmas to the zoonotic Tuberculosis bacteria of Gloucestershire. Brian May and Chris Packham love you all.

Incidentally as happened in the RBCT, we're hearing from Gloucestershire of the back up cage traps trashed, intimidation, damage and trespass. In fact complete chaos in an area where FERA's Mark Chambers told us that around 43 per cent of the badgers were infected and that this was "typical of badgers in areas on endemic zTB".

 In that area (Gloucestershire) as well as sentinel tested reactor cattle, we also have reported bison, alpacas and sheep as spill over victims of this bacterium which badgerists are sooooo keen to protect.

So this latest High Court challenge proves an excellent day indeed, for zoonotic bacteria everywhere - on what should be an incontrovertible Public Health issue.

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