Friday, June 20, 2014

Con tosh

From the Conservative home webpage - [link] comes a rather spiteful  and loaded piece which implies that farmers want to kill badgers for fun. And because (allegedly) AHVLA's newly published partial statistics show an apparent drop in incidence, then there is really no need to as cattle controls (many yet to hit the farmers concerned) are obviously working.

 Without going too deeply into the minutiae of SAM, the new computer system which is supposed to calculate these things, suffice to say his data are not comparable with the figures of old. Neither is it reliable.

New herd breakdowns are important and for sure, figures for those were the ones which Defra lobbed periodically into Brussels. But they hid the rump of registered herds stubbornly under restriction with zTB outbreaks, which testing cattle and killing reactors failed to clear. And that was far, far higher. In fact the last time those figures were available, over 10 per cent of GB's herds had experienced TB restriction in the reporting period.

Thus the difference between cleaning up an epidemic in a single species and eradicating it in more than one is quite simple.  If you shoot one and not the other, eradication will not happen.

That is the difference between 'incidence' and 'prevalence' of disease.
 Figures for zTuberculosis can be argued ad infinitum, with each side wheeling out an 'expert' complete with his mathematical model and predictably  conflicting view. But published data, based on actual AHVLA risk assessments - [link] put TB outbreaks attributed to badgers in area of 'endemic' TB at around 80 per cent.

So read and learn Tory toddlers at ConHome. If every cow in GB was placed in a hermetically sealed box for the duration, the disease hosted by badgers would continue to upspill into other mammals, and from them to their owners -[link] and vets. As it has started to do already. - [link]

And no amount of 'managing' statistics - [link] rather than the disease, a Grade 3 zoonotic pathogen which governments have a statutory duty to eradicate, will alter that.

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