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Thursday, October 13, 2011

A viable alternative to a badger cull

The BBC report on claims that the UK's first independent badger vaccination project has proved that the technique is "viable and affordable" as a means of tackling the reservoir of bovine TB.

They say that the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust vaccinated 35 badgers during the summer against the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB) in cattle. They say that the trial did not look for any impact on disease in badgers or cattle:

Instead, the idea was to see how feasible it would be to train staff and vaccinate the animals, and how much it might cost.

"We are delighted with the results (which prove) that there is an affordable alternative to the proposed cull," said Gordon McGlone, the trust's chief executive.

"Bovine TB is a big problem, but local culling of one of our much-loved native animals is not the answer.

"Scientists have spent the last 12 years investigating whether killing badgers will halt this serious disease in cattle, and the answer they are getting is that it could well make the problem worse."

The UK's so-called "Krebs Trial", the largest investigation of badger culling undertaken in any country, found that culling can reduce the incidence of bovine TB in the target area.

But if it is not done thoroughly and consistently over a large area, it can actually increase the disease burden, as badgers roam further from their setts when others die, taking bacteria to other farms.

The Welsh Government is still re-evaluating its approach to how it tackles the disease and will report later this year. However, these results show that there is a clear alternative and one that will get the support of the whole community.
"There has to be another way, a better way."

(Sorry, I can't recall the original source of this line ... Supertramp?) cw
The vaccination trials in England are very encouraging and hopefully the politicians there will now take serious note.
However, I'm afraid that you have to face up to the fact that it has taken the election of a Welsh LABOUR Government to kick culling into touch here in Wales.
The best to hope for is a similiar result soon in the UK Government so that we have a compassionate approach to preserving our valuable wildlife.
Of course they have not made that decision yet and in any case they will need me to support them to get it through the chamber.
Anonymous - Sadly most Labour AMs voted for a badger kill in the last administration though most were in principle against a kill. It appears that Loyalty to the coalition won over Conscience. For me Conscience and Fact come first.
It also doesn’t help a decision whether to kill badgers or not, when the BVA President Carl Padgett recently stated that ‘we know that at least 30 – 40% of badgers within an area will be infected’. We know that 16 – 20% of badgers may be infected. The BVA president is being asked for his source when he doubles the figure without reference.
A personal thank you to Peter for his unwavering stance on this badger kill issue throughout.
"Of course they have not made that decision yet and in any case they will need me to support them to get it through the chamber".

Er Getting a bit egotistical Peter you personally aren't the balance of power you know.
Nothing egotistical at all. Labour have 29 voting members, of the opposition 27 want to introduce a cull. So that leaves me and/or one other to help them get it through if indeed a vote is needed.
Derek - surely you must know why the Labour AMs in the coalition voted for the cull, I'll tell you why anyway, it was only because of the agreement to give Plaid the Rural Affairs cabinet post, nobody on the Labour side really wanted to go to bed with Elin Jones ! I can understand that !
Only Plaid want to kill badgers to satisfy the farmers and the FUW which has consistently provided misinformation since a cull was first intimated.
Politics won't change I'm afraid, well I can't see it changing so you have to play the system and if that means tactical voting so be it.
I have confidence in John Griffiths that he will not waver and will recommend that no cull is justified.
Thanks Anonymous. The latter part of your first paragraph made me laugh out loud.
It wasn’t tactical voting or indeed politics that stopped the killing of the badger in Wales. It was the Badger Trust who sought a judicial review that was successful in halting a badger kill.
I’m sure that you are justified in putting your faith in John Griffiths but I know for a fact that at least one Labour AM is pro kill and Peter is indeed correct that his vote could be crucial.
Derek - I'm on your side !
I've been very actively involved in trying to prevent any badger cull, including PAC, and attended the Badger Trust conference in Sheffield this year so I am well aware of their involvement and intervention.
The point I was making was that a badger cull may have been quite close if the Welsh election hadn't taken place.
I will fight to the bitter end to prevent any cull in Wales, or indeed in England.
Anonymous. I’ll forgive you almost anything after making me laugh out loud after reading your previous comment. Since April 2008 laughs have been few. The good news is that we are both working hard to prevent a badger kill. (I have a feeling that we are on the same emailing lists re the badger kill. I must look up the list of those attending the BT conference !!!!). We just see politics and the way politicians work differently.
As the guest speaker said on Radio 3, one morning this week, to be effective in politics you have to be outside politics or words to that effect. (Keep quiet Peter:)
We have to await the outcome of the Expert Panel’s deliberations but if there is a vote it will be very close. Fingers and everything crossed.
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