Friday, September 26, 2014

More on Killerton

Almost a year ago, we told the tale of the National Trust badger vaccination programme on its Killerton Estate - [link] in the Exe valley.

This area was a hot spot for cattle TB anyway, and the Trust decided to spend copious amounts of funds, and gain not a few brownie points by vaccinating some of its resident badgers. How many out of the total residing in Killerton's woods, it has no idea. And for results on cattle TB incidence, we have had to rely on farmers in the area, Defra flatly refusing to release stand alone figures for these latest playgrounds.

But this weeks, Farmers Weekly reports a pedigree beef herd - [link] on the estate, as going under herd restriction. From the notice on his gate, the farmer is less than happy.

And tonight, BBC local television network interviewed a very unhappy dairy farmer in a similar position. In fact we hear of several new herd breakdowns on the estate after 4 years of playing in the woods, with infectious badgers.

But the reason for vaccinating badgers, Defra tells us,  has nothing to do with the incidence of TB in cattle. Thus to collate and publish cattle test results in those areas, would they say 'be quite wrong'.

In 2011, they produced a paper with this little gem (and have repeated the doctrine many times since):
a): Bovine tuberculosis Animal species: Badger vaccination: Description of the used vaccination, therapeutic or other scheme Badger BCG licensed in March 2010 has been used as part of the Badger Vaccine Deployment Project to build farmer confidence in vaccines as a key tool in an eradication programme.
To build farmer confidence? Not with the farmers on the Killerton Estate, that's for sure.

And as we have said before, what an extraordinary reason for promoting a vaccine which doesn't work, for a zoonotic disease which kills.

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