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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Badger cull policy now completely discredited

As if it were not bad enough that the UK Government are pursuing a cull of badgers, despite all the evidence indicating that they do not work, the Guardian have unearthed figures that cast severe doubts on Ministers' recent decision to extend the cull to new areas.

The paper says that tuberculosis levels in cattle have risen in the original two areas of the country where the badger cull has been piloted over the past five years, raising questions about the merit of expanding the scheme:

The figures are confirmed in official data quietly released last week as the government announced plans to expand the controversial cull in England, which campaigners say could see more than 60,000 badgers killed this year.

The figures suggest that, following some early success in bringing the levels down, bovine TB is now on the rise in the zones, in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

Analysis by the vet and former government scientist Dr Iain McGill, who led calls for a public inquiry into the BSE scandal, reveals that the proportion of herds with bovine TB in the Gloucestershire pilot zone increased from 6.9% at the start of culling to 9% over the five-year period.

The rate of occurrence of new confirmed bovine TB cases – known as the incidence rate – was 13.2% last year, compared with 12.7% when the cull began in 2013.

In Somerset, the incidence rate declined, but the disease has become more widespread across herds. The official data shows that the proportion of herds with bovine TB increased from 6.1% when culling started to 6.7% at the end of last year. Defra chooses not to focus on the five-year data. Instead, it points to an earlier report that found a decline in bovine TB in the first two years of the cull.

“The government had all of the data but only released it simultaneous to the announcement on Wednesday of the massacre of up to 62,000 badgers,” said McGill, who has called for a public inquiry into the government’s handling of the cull.

“That they could have tried to hide this data in order to justify such a massacre of protected wildlife, whilst referring glibly to data from 2015 in support of their case, is corrupt and criminal. Defra have manipulated and hidden scientific data to such a degree that it amounts to systemic scientific fraud.”

Huge amounts of money have been spent on this pointless cull despite scientific studies predicting precisely this outcome. If the government had carried out a more humane vaccination programme instead, combined with better cattle control measures as in Wales then we might have made some progress on eradicating this disease by now.
Whilst no expert I had a relative that contracted TB. Cold and damp atmospheres can cause it.
Do not cows live in cold damp places (fields,cowsheds)?There effluence is sprayed out by water put into slurry.Are these cowsheds warm and dry? The environment never gets a chance to be warm and dry.Working practices can be the problem NOT badgers. Vaccination works. Over time the incidents of TB decline.When the problem is under control the cost of the project, Vaccination, drops
Culling is just a short term fix that has to be repeated over and over again. It does NOT solve the problem.
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