Sunday, October 19, 2014

New link added.

We are pleased to add a link to Gloucestershire farmer David Barton's - [link] poignant blog which tells the story of his herd, his continual testing, his cattle deaths and his frustration.

This young cow one of his latest casualties.

Meanwhile timely advice from the SW TB Advisory service - [link] to secure your buildings.

 There is a video on the link showing these vermin wonderful creatures exploring your yards, milking parlours and feed stores while you sleep.

And AHVLA, now recycled with 'Plants' added and many Veterinary Laboratories decommissioned, are known as APHA; and they  have updated their advice on gaps which badgers can slither through or under.

This is now reduced from 10cm to 7.5cm. In old money, that's from 4" down to just under 3".

 Did we say we'd need hermetically sealed boxes for TB free cattle? You bet we did. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Yes you can, no you can't?

This week, the farming industry is awaiting yet another High Court decision - [link] on whether (or not) to cull badgers to control the spread of zTuberculosis.

After winning a case in August (with no right of appeal) the Badger Trust won the right to appeal the judgement in September and the case was heard last week. No, we couldn't work that one out either.

Farmers Guardian reported it thus:
A key legal judgment that could have profound implications for the roll out of the badger cull policy in England is likely to be delivered soon.
The arguments seem to hinge on Independent assessments of the humaneness - or otherwise - of shooting this animal. And not a little input has been heard from members of last years' 'independent' panel, trying to comply with the protocol - [link] dreamed up by NE and this year overseen by them and APHA.

 To make sense of that alphabet soup, NE are Natural England, who hold the competence for licensing any badger culls and APHA are the newly formed Animal and Plant Health Agency.

So we are happy to remind readers of  a badger cull which occurs annually in Germany and which we briefly mentioned here - [link].  The screen grab below is part of a larger pdf which details the numbers of badgers shot in Germany over the last decade. 

 Between August and October, badgers may be shot in Germany if they cause damage to land, buildings property or persons.

And last year, 66, 579 were shot, without causing offence  (or employment?) to anyone at all.

pdf file shown courtesy of BovineTb Information.-[link] and the full version can be viewed here - [link]

Friday, October 03, 2014

'Honouring the lie' (2)

Edit: New link added to Labour party debate. At the moment, the new Tory Secretary of State says that she wants to continue the badger culls initiated by her predecessor. But that was this week. And by next May she may have changed her mind.

But listening to the tide of emotional claptrap - [link] coming from speakers at the recent Labour Party conference debate on zoonotic tuberculosis, one could be forgiven for thinking that the problem was farmers demanding game shooting for entertainment and not control of a Grade 3 zoonotic pathogen, only one level below the dreaded ebola.

Dairy farmer, Phil Latham and vet, Den Leonard gave facts and were heckled. (Click on right hand side tool bar of the above video stream link to hear that) But what really grates, is the absolute faith lodged by the three speakers who opposed culling badgers - for any reason whatsoever - in what they all referred to as 'the science'.

For those of you who have not listened to or read what the arch magician of this recent £50m charade known as a 'culling trial', please refresh your collective memories on what Professor John Bourne actually told the Efra Committee on June 18th 2007 about the basis of the RBCT.

We covered it in this post - [link] at the time, but will repeat again the corrupt basis of 'the science' which the three people opposing the motion,  support: This of course is the 'political' science, bought and paid for, steered by the then Labour government, with the help of a few computer models and corrupt scientists in 1997.

Listen to what the arch magician, Prof. John Bourne, told the EFRA committee on June 18th. 2007 and weep:
"Let us go back to 1999 when we started our work. It was made very clear to us by ministers of the day - and they have not refuted it since - that elimination of badgers over large tracts of countryside was not an option for future policy"
A horrified Geoffrey Cox, MP intervened "Is it not the function of science...
"It was on that basis that we designed the trial. We also had to take into account welfare considerations with respect to culling used, and limitations on culling with respect that cubs were not killed or died underground [ ] Those were clear political limitations that we operated under; I have no reason to believe that those political limitations have changed".
Geoffrey Cox, MP then asked Bourne to clarify the report's findings and its conclusions in the light of his statement describing a political steer in what should have been a scientific exercise. Professor Bourne replied thus:
"We repeatedly say 'culling, as conducted in the trial.' It is important [that] we do say that. Those limitations were not imposed by ourselves. They were imposed by politicians."
And it those same politicians, following their very own brand of 'science' who may be in charge again in 8 months time. So what's in store this time? Certainly not culling this 'iconic animal', so beloved by 'the public', many of whom Dominic Dyer confirmed have never seen a badger, but who are fired up on a wave of his misplaced and dangerous emotion to somehow 'save it'. Try telling that to the disease now endemic in it.

And on the basis of their own brand of 'political science', described above, Labour's politicians would scrap any notions of a cull of infectious badgers, and instigate more crack downs on cattle movements, and vaccination forays.

Cattle crackdowns - [link] have been tried before with predictably ignominious results - [link] but politicians of all hues are following Bourne's computer generated 'success' rate which relied on an assumed data input of 2 parts cattle to one part badger.

And the ad hoc vaccination of badgers, now in its 4th year, appears to be giving results the opposite of that which was expected, as this link - [link] shows.

So we will finish by adding a little mischief to this toxic mix of politics, political science and emotion by putting our own spin of some real science.

When Lesellier, Chambers and their pals postmortemed a few badgers in a previous vaccine trial to to see the effect of vaccine + TB - [link] these animals, the process gave one animal (D313) such a hammering that he developed tuberculosis in every labelled organ, and few which were not.

He was one of nine given the high dose vaccine now being used indiscriminately  the field. Further investigations of his miserable carcase could find no reason for his violent and lethal reaction. Thus in percentage terms, D313 becomes 11 per cent of previously clean and pathologically healthy badgers, given a 10x strength BCG jab and rendered 'super excreters' during the process of vaccination and exposure to m.bovis. And he is airbrushed. Forgotten. Dead.

And that really is honouring the lie.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

October 1st: 'If it Moves, Test it.'

Today saw more of the promised restrictions come in for cattle, camelids and deer.

Alistair Driver in the Farmers Guardian - [link] has the details.

With a tad less clarity of language than the FG explanation, the full details are on this link - [link] and for the first time, camelids are mentioned - [link].

Although not covered by statute until zTuberculosis is suspected or confirmed, this is a move in the right direction to bring these susceptible 'other species' under the TB eradication umbrella.

Another step would be to adhere to the promise of quarterly updates to these tables, described here - [link] but apparently stuck in a bureaucratic log jam since September 2013.