The count down is on.

The count down is on.

We now have a date for our next bTB test. It’s the 15th July. I am really not looking forward to it. It is an unknown. Will I have a clear test? If I don’t, how many reactors? How many more breeding cows /heifers will I loose? I think about it every day especially when I’m checking the cattle. Just now they look so well and so content with huge amounts of spring grass its lovely to be amongst them but the 15th July hangs over all of us.

It has been interesting over the past week or so to have been able to debate the bTB issues first on Radio 4 and also at the Royal Agricultural University Science and Technology debate with non-farmers giving their perceptions and concern’s. It is so important to have a reasoned debate with all sides but this is not always easy with some very extreme views. So much is talked about the “science” and its sometimes conflicting views. I found this piece of information very useful.

It is from the final Independent Scientific Group (ISG) on the RBCT Randomised Badger Culling Trial and concerns on trapping. Trapping was only carried out for an average of 8 days per annum. Of the 15666 traps set 8981 (57%) WERE TAMPERED WITH AND 1827 (12%) WERE STOLEN.

This alone must cast doubt on the trial? The fact that it cost so much money does not mean you get good science. Perhaps we should also look at the previous 5 trials which show big reduction in bTB herd outbreaks after more efficient culling. I don’t think the question should be if culling badgers will reduce bTB in cattle because the evidence is there to show that, but how do we efficiently cull and control the badger population in the areas with the greatest reservoir of bTB in the environment.

I will very soon post some very useful information to help explain this better

cows in pasture bolg


7 thoughts on “The count down is on.

  1. Good for you to get those facts. I know that trial was a pretty good farce – an appalling waste of money, and a cause of wasted years also. But nobody wants to listen. I hope you have found a method of making good sense public, and even instigating some effective action. (I can’t imagine why I have to “reply” in this odd format – computers are a mystery.) Yours, Pippa Woods

  2. First of all, can I say that I entirely sympathize with anybody who loses animals to TB. It is an appalling disease and me and many wildlife enthusiasts are equally as committed as farmers to bringing it under control. Those who threaten, harass and intimidate farmers do not represent the majority of animal rights activists. We want a solution as much as you do, and realize the immensely good things that a lot of farmers do to encourage wildlife. However, you must be aware that there are just as many marksmen who have displayed equally repulsive behaviour in the pilot culls last year, and that the threats and intimidation are not confined to one side. Similarly, there have been serious allegations of the NFU effectively using Gloucestershire Constabulary as their private police force. This must be addressed.

    I am a zoology student with a keen interest in agriculture, specifically wildlife-friendly farming practices and biological pest control. I have read much on the subject and I have to tell you that culling badgers to try and curb TB is completely counterproductive. All the science says that it simply will not work. Do a quick search on Google Scholar and see for yourself.

    The government is lying to you about this issue. They have cherry-picked the (irrelevant) evidence from Ireland and other countries which do not replicate our situation over here. Culling badgers in this country has never been proven to reduce transmission rates, even with extensive study, as culling causes changes in badger behaviour that can actually increase transmission of TB. Furthermore, the majority of badgers that were killed were perfectly healthy and many of these animals took over 5 minutes to die. It is simply unacceptable to cull badgers in this way and all the evidence shows it is inhumane. You do not decrease animal suffering by adding to it. Farmers have a responsibility to product the environment and the wildlife that depends on it as well as their businesses.

    In contrast, positive immunological responses to vaccines have been detected in badgers and cattle, and while far from perfect, vaccination offers a cheaper alternative to culling as it can be undertaken largely by volunteers. There is huge potential for vaccines if the government invests in research into more accurate skin tests and increased biosecurity measures instead of this incredibly failed and costly policy of badger culling.

    It is vital that farmers and conservationists work together on this issue but the NFU simply refuses to look at any evidence that culling won’t work. For every study that claims extremely limited benefits of culling, there are 10 that claim the exact opposite. Look and see for yourself. Don’t continue down a path of ignorance just so you look like you’re doing something.

    • What does the guardian have to do with the science? I’m not using the guardian to support my points. I am using the scientific evidence. Perhaps you should do the same.

      • The best article I’ve seen for a long time is here on this site

        Bovine TB Past and Present- is there hope for the future?

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