The NFU have circulated some screen grabs of the interactive TB map - [link] - so beloved of Camel Ebola and his friends - which show a startling drop in herds under restriction in the two pilot badger cull areas. Produced as a power point presentation, the slides start with a potted history of how to clear TB in cattle herds.
This is followed with screen shots from APHA's iTB map. The first taken to show historic TB restrictions in the years leading up to the culls,(Closed cases) the second after four years of culling.(Open or ongoing on the day the map was printed)
This is a snap shot of herds which had been historically been under restriction in the Gloucestershire pilot cull area. Single dots are single outbreaks. Turquoise dots indicate clusters of up to 20 farms under restriction.
And now, herds currently under TB restriction after 4 years culling.
In Somerset, historic outbreaks in the years before the cull started:
And a snapshot after four years culling:
( ** Please note that the iTBmap charts show different time scales and are not comparable. The historic data shows several years of closed breakdowns - and illustrates the need for a cull?
While the second screen grab, shows holdings currently under restricton, after four years of culling.)
And remember, this was culling for 42 nights only, complete with intense scrutiny, huge publicity, (most of it bad) and much interference.
The results are stunning.
The editors and contributors to this site have always supported a targeted cull of infectious badgers, encouraging the developers of non invasive testing in their work. The shock waves which followed the announcement that they did not wish 'their' test to be used to cull badgers, are still reverberating.
So as we wish readers a happy new year, we extend grateful thanks to the farmers of Gloucestershire and Somerset for piloting the alternative strategy.
The fact that more badgers and not necessarily the infected ones will be killed, seems to have escaped the gravy train which follows this disease around.
Nevertheless the results of even a partial cull, are beyond expectations.
So a Happy New Year to all.