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Thread: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

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    Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    this is the original paper in Nature

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal...ture13529.html

    this is one of the key passages:

    The role of badgers in the maintenance and spread of bovine TB is a matter of considerable scientific, political and public interest5, 25, 26. Owing to the absence of necessary spatial and population level data on badgers, our model does not explicitly include their role in transmission. The environmental reservoirs play a comparable function, although the contribution of reservoir species and contaminated pasture cannot be separated.

    article on it in the guardian:

    http://www.theguardian.com/environme...?commentpage=1

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    Senior Member matthew's Avatar
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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    Quote Originally Posted by matbrojoe View Post
    this is the original paper in Nature

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal...ture13529.html

    this is one of the key passages:

    The role of badgers in the maintenance and spread of bovine TB is a matter of considerable scientific, political and public interest5, 25, 26. Owing to the absence of necessary spatial and population level data on badgers, our model does not explicitly include their role in transmission. The environmental reservoirs play a comparable function, although the contribution of reservoir species and contaminated pasture cannot be separated.

    article on it in the guardian:

    http://www.theguardian.com/environme...?commentpage=1
    Methinks a cull of modelers is on the cards.
    Simple squared = stupid.

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    This is a proper academic study conducted by Cambridge & Warwick Universities looking at the data from 15 years of study. It is pointed out that the majority of cases are caused by "Super Spreader" farms that are doing a lot of cattle trading and that the current skin test is inadequate to pinpoint some reactors so that the disease is able to spread rapidly. It concludes that vaccination and mass culling on a scale not seen since 2001 are the only options if the UK Government is serious in controlling bTB. It is difficult to argue with their conclusions

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    heard of a very candid conversation with a ministry vet who intimated that the recent lowering in TB and future drops are not really associated with the new rules and regs but with farmers "taking matters into their own hands". trouble of course with this is the new rules and regs with receive undue praise.

    lazy

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals


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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    Quote Originally Posted by Bald Rick View Post
    This is a proper academic study conducted by Cambridge & Warwick Universities looking at the data from 15 years of study. It is pointed out that the majority of cases are caused by "Super Spreader" farms that are doing a lot of cattle trading and that the current skin test is inadequate to pinpoint some reactors so that the disease is able to spread rapidly. It concludes that vaccination and mass culling on a scale not seen since 2001 are the only options if the UK Government is serious in controlling bTB. It is difficult to argue with their conclusions
    Was reading an Article in the Western Morning News on this same "study" Today.

    But they have got it the wrong way round with the mass culling & vaccination - Gassing entire populations of Badgers in the hot spot area's is what has to be done to wipe out this disease.
    The vaccination of Cattle can only begin when we get a vaccine that works !!

    I was talking to my Sister a day or two ago - she breeds & shows Pedigree Limousin & Speckled Park cattle. It is something that she loves doing & something she has excelled at now for a good number of years !
    I have never heard her talk in such a depressed & negative way before...she had just lost one of her best cows to TB.
    They are a closed heard that Tested clear in February ! First test since turning cattle out to grass &, surprise, surprise - they go down with TB...AGAIN!
    The suckled Calf that lost it's mother wanders around balling for it's mum - this brings my sister to tears !
    But those tears of sorrow soon turn to tears of rage & anger when she see's all the Badgers rolling around in the grass & digging their latrine's in the hedge bottoms.

    I suspect there are probably a few farms that contribute to the TB problem ? Some of these farms that have blocks of land quite some distance from the main holding, that comes under the same holding number as the main farm, could well be making things worse if they are moving cattle between the two units.

    But the major problem in the TB hot spot area's is The Badger !
    And until such time the Government "grows a pair" and gets to grips with the reservoir of TB that is in the Wildlife in these areas where bTB is endemic...we will never be rid of this retched disease.

    The suggestion of Slaughtering complete heards of healthy cattle, while the disease runs riot in our Wildlife, must surely have been made by someone or some body with an agenda ???

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    Time you visited your sister to deal with the fox problem, Phil.

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    i can see how a small number of farms might be 'superseeders'........but didn't eire have more bovine tb and as they culled more badgers the tb dropped?.....isn't that proof?.....just how it seems to me but i'm no expert

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    Thornbury was clear for 10 years after badger clearance.

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    I,m helping with T b test results tomorrow.Got a feeling its going to be a ..................

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    Surely the answer is a two pronged attack: more regular testing of cattle, (a pain I agree) plus a big reduction in the badger numbers. That cannot be done by shooting, the only way is gassing.

    Jack Caley

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    Quote Originally Posted by Bald Rick View Post
    This is a proper academic study conducted by Cambridge & Warwick Universities looking at the data from 15 years of study. It is pointed out that the majority of cases are caused by "Super Spreader" farms that are doing a lot of cattle trading and that the current skin test is inadequate to pinpoint some reactors so that the disease is able to spread rapidly. It concludes that vaccination and mass culling on a scale not seen since 2001 are the only options if the UK Government is serious in controlling bTB. It is difficult to argue with their conclusions
    I need to look at it in more detail, i've only skim read it so far, but a number of things occur to me at present.

    They're lumping badger to cattle transmission under 'environmental contamination'. They acknowledge that there is a risk from infection contained within the environment somewhere, but it can't be quantified what comes from badgers and what is down to contaminated manure spread on fields etc. but is it likely that TB is spread via slurry in the way suggested?

    I do wonder if the people who conduct these studies actually understand the way in which farming actually works?

    Ian Boyd, DEfra's chief scientist makes some good points on his blog:

    On the face of it, this is not a very profound outcome especially when one considers where the uncertainties might lie within the model. The model itself is provided with most information about cattle-cattle transmission of bTB and, while few would doubt that this is the most important route of infection in cattle, it is not a surprise that if one was to intervene very hard to eliminate the disease by eliminating cattle then the problem (i.e. the control of TB in cattle) converges on a solution. Clearly, if the end point is zero cattle, which could be an outcome of such an approach, then the problem has been solved. It did not need a sophisticated model to tell us this.

    A key issue is whether badgers are able to sustain disease without the presence of cattle. This paper suggests not but I am not so sure we have evidence strong enough to support such an inference from a study that made so little effort to model the badger component of the disease cycle.

    Does this mean that badger-cattle infection is unimportant or is it just left relatively unseen in all the noise of uncertain data, model simplification and (possible) selection bias by those carrying out the study? There are other data that suggest another story, such as the genetics of bTB that show an important epidemiological link between badgers and cattle.

    the latter point refers to the fact the TB strains are region specific, which tends to suggest that cattle movements, which are nation wide, are not the primary source of tb spread.

    Last but by no means least, what does actually happen when the culled out farms are re stocked? No prizes for guessing:

    http://www.burtonmail.co.uk/News/Bac...0823123228.htm

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    I will hold my hand up and agree that it was an academic modelling study and Ian Boyd does make very valid points indeed.

    I am very fortunate to be in a low risk area with no badgers on the ground locally & with a closed and housed herd so I can do nothing but sympathise with those of you living with the disease on a daily basis coping with an inert Government etc etc.

    However, politically and socially, the UK is not going to wear mass badger culling because there is a massive disconnect between the vast majority of the population who are led by the nose by the likes of Mr May and programmes such as Spring Watch (you only have to see the threats levelled at anyone who remotely talks of animal killing) and farmers, vets etc dealing with bTB. Ergo, nothing will be done and the recent shooting cull was seen to be a failure & thus unlikely to be repeated. Gassing, whilst probably the most efficient method, is highly unlikely to be adopted. People will immediately link it to the holocaust or even fracking!
    There can only be one ultimate answer and that has to be an effective - & compulsory (I well remember the fiasco of sheep dipping) - vaccination pdq and allow the wild population to self regulate as it will.

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    This is the result of 'rough assumptions' and 'vague estimates' piled into a complicated model, and the results published with no understanding of the basics of disease transmission. Many references relate to previous models designed by the ISG which, without examining the hard evidence available to them, gave equal weighting to 2 parts cattle v. 1 part badger as 'risk' of breakdowns.

    http://bovinetb.blogspot.co.uk/2014/...e-simples.html

    As we said in that piece:

    "No disease control program in a target species can be successful if a maintenance reservoir in an interacting species is left to re infect. That is indisputable. Just as the self sustaining nature of zTB in the badger is indisputable.
    And ignoring it does not make it disappear."

    If every cow in GB was shot, zTB would still be a self sustaining pathogen in badgers, and thus available as a source of infection to any other mammal coming into contact with it.

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    Just a bit of light entertainment on the side of a serious problem!!
    I had a visit last week by a friend from Shropshire. I worked with him in the Min of Ag 52 years ago.

    He does not like badgers!!

    They root up his potatoes, looking for worms.
    Last year they destroyed all his sweet corn, just laid it out, did not eat it.

    He does not like Brian May!!!

    Jack Caley

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    The assumption that first catches my eye on skimming this model (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal...ture13529.html) is :-

    “The level of infection in the environment is predicted to decay with a half-life of 34 days……..”

    Environment includes Badgers as well as slurry etc. Can’t just spot the references to back up this assumption.

    So after a whole herd cull the infection level from badgers and other environmental sources is halved every 34 days! ?
    Or perhaps I’ve miss read / miss understood it.

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    Quote Originally Posted by FarmerP View Post

    “The level of infection in the environment is predicted to decay with a half-life of 34 days……..”

    .
    My understanding from that comment is that after 68 days there should be little or no contamination......... but doesn't make any sense if there is still a live vector/reservoir wandering around.

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals


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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    Quote Originally Posted by FarmerP View Post
    The assumption that first catches my eye on skimming this model (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal...ture13529.html) is :-

    “The level of infection in the environment is predicted to decay with a half-life of 34 days……..”

    Environment includes Badgers as well as slurry etc. Can’t just spot the references to back up this assumption.

    So after a whole herd cull the infection level from badgers and other environmental sources is halved every 34 days! ?
    Or perhaps I’ve miss read / miss understood it.

    that would bemy understanding as well. They seem to think that bTB infection is not self sustaining within the badger population.

    what strikes me is that there is an awful lot of bad science associated with TB. The RBCT has thrown up a host of assumptions which are now apparently accepted as hard fact and all sorts of further research is based on them.

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    Quote Originally Posted by Joyce View Post
    My understanding from that comment is that after 68 days there should be little or no contamination......... but doesn't make any sense if there is still a live vector/reservoir wandering around.
    A half life is usually the time it takes for something to lose half it's strength or effectiveness. So, after 34 days it will be half but that doesn't mean that after 68 days it will have gone, it will have lost a half of the remaining half, so will be 1/4 of the original strength. After 102 days it will be 1/8 of the original and so on. At some point I guess it either dies or becomes too sparse to infect anything.

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    Quote Originally Posted by Pasty View Post
    A half life is usually the time it takes for something to lose half it's strength or effectiveness. So, after 34 days it will be half but that doesn't mean that after 68 days it will have gone, it will have lost a half of the remaining half, so will be 1/4 of the original strength. After 102 days it will be 1/8 of the original and so on. At some point I guess it either dies or becomes too sparse to infect anything.
    m.bovis is a tough cookie. Experiments over 100 years ago by Professor Koch to assess its longevity found that:
    it survives freezing.
    is acid fast.
    loves water.
    is only killed by pasteurisation at high temperatures for x minutes.
    partially dried, it is twice as lethal as in fresh product.

    In the environment, it can be zapped by UV light in a couple of hours, but it's a different story if protected by a layer of soil, or shadow of a hedge bank, or cloud cover. In the confines of a badger sett, in the dark and relative humidity the survival time is months if not years.

    A modeler, wedded to his or her machine and a concept, may not appreciate these finer points of epidemiology.

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    Quote Originally Posted by Pasty View Post
    A half life is usually the time it takes for something to lose half it's strength or effectiveness. So, after 34 days it will be half but that doesn't mean that after 68 days it will have gone, it will have lost a half of the remaining half, so will be 1/4 of the original strength. After 102 days it will be 1/8 of the original and so on. At some point I guess it either dies or becomes too sparse to infect anything.
    Yes, that's correct. That's how they measure radiation, i believe. Though radiation half life is governed by physical laws that will always be the same, a bacterium will live so long and then die, this may be a relatively short or long time depending on environmental factors but there will, presumably, be a point at which it is gone completely. So i assume the term half life in this case may refer to the probability level of reinfection, rather than the actual strength of bacteria in the environment, as it were, if that makes any sense.

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    I wonder what the modelers would make of this situation?

    http://www.fwi.co.uk/articles/03/07/...wn-with-tb.htm

    Closed herd and no TB ....... until the Somerset floods. Those badgers who didn't drown , made it to some sort of dryish land. And this is the result.

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    Thanks boys, I knew I was being too simple

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    Quote Originally Posted by Bald Rick View Post
    I will hold my hand up and agree that it was an academic modelling study and Ian Boyd does make very valid points indeed.

    I am very fortunate to be in a low risk area with no badgers on the ground locally & with a closed and housed herd so I can do nothing but sympathise with those of you living with the disease on a daily basis coping with an inert Government etc etc.

    However, politically and socially, the UK is not going to wear mass badger culling because there is a massive disconnect between the vast majority of the population who are led by the nose by the likes of Mr May and programmes such as Spring Watch (you only have to see the threats levelled at anyone who remotely talks of animal killing) and farmers, vets etc dealing with bTB. Ergo, nothing will be done and the recent shooting cull was seen to be a failure & thus unlikely to be repeated. Gassing, whilst probably the most efficient method, is highly unlikely to be adopted. People will immediately link it to the holocaust or even fracking!
    There can only be one ultimate answer and that has to be an effective - & compulsory (I well remember the fiasco of sheep dipping) - vaccination pdq and allow the wild population to self regulate as it will.
    I completely understand the point you are making...BUT.

    It is sod all to do with "the UK" as a whole!
    Any Government has the power to instigate the gassing of Badgers !

    We have long since gone past the point where we should be arguing the toss about what is acceptable to the British Public & what is not !
    The overwhelming majority of people in this country probably don't have a view either way....until of course the bunny huggers & the likes of the long haired hippy May go sticking their noses in to things that they don't really understand !
    The Badger Trust are no Better, they were originally set up to monitor Badgers & their habitat and help protect the whole Environment. They have now become a strong politically motivated "protection at any cost" group that will have people believe that Badgers in no way contribute to the tb problem...or other issues such as the huge decline in some species of bumble bee, hedge hogs & ground nesting birds !
    And this "trust", that is supposed to be the Number one organisation & authority on Badgers across the UK, can't (Won't is probably a better word) give us a true and accurate record of the current population of Badgers in the UK & by how much that population has increased over the last 15 to 20 years !!!

    You then have organisations like The National Trust that have purposely chosen an estate that is slap bang in the middle of a TB hot spot to carry out their half baked bloody vaccination program ! I am convinced that this was done to fend off any possibility of a cull taking place on their Land. If they were 100% committed to getting rid of TB they would have chosen an estate in an area where most of the Badgers were free from TB, and fully supported the culling of Badgers in parts of this country where the disease in endemic ! But the truth is - they are more worried about public image than they are getting to grips with a disease that is making the lives of some of their own tenants a bloody misery !

    As for the compulsory Vaccination of Cattle ? All very well talking about it - but how many more years before we get a fully approved & effective vaccine ??

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post

    It is sod all to do with "the UK" as a whole!
    Too right, Phil, and the rest of your post!

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
    I completely understand the point you are making...BUT.

    It is sod all to do with "the UK" as a whole!
    Any Government has the power to instigate the gassing of Badgers !

    We have long since gone past the point where we should be arguing the toss about what is acceptable to the British Public & what is not !
    The overwhelming majority of people in this country probably don't have a view either way....until of course the bunny huggers & the likes of the long haired hippy May go sticking their noses in to things that they don't really understand !
    The Badger Trust are no Better, they were originally set up to monitor Badgers & their habitat and help protect the whole Environment. They have now become a strong politically motivated "protection at any cost" group that will have people believe that Badgers in no way contribute to the tb problem...or other issues such as the huge decline in some species of bumble bee, hedge hogs & ground nesting birds !
    And this "trust", that is supposed to be the Number one organisation & authority on Badgers across the UK, can't (Won't is probably a better word) give us a true and accurate record of the current population of Badgers in the UK & by how much that population has increased over the last 15 to 20 years !!!

    You then have organisations like The National Trust that have purposely chosen an estate that is slap bang in the middle of a TB hot spot to carry out their half baked bloody vaccination program ! I am convinced that this was done to fend off any possibility of a cull taking place on their Land. If they were 100% committed to getting rid of TB they would have chosen an estate in an area where most of the Badgers were free from TB, and fully supported the culling of Badgers in parts of this country where the disease in endemic ! But the truth is - they are more worried about public image than they are getting to grips with a disease that is making the lives of some of their own tenants a bloody misery !

    As for the compulsory Vaccination of Cattle ? All very well talking about it - but how many more years before we get a fully approved & effective vaccine ??
    Phil , you are being totally naieve.

    Politicians are the only ones with the power to do anything.
    They are scared shitless of the urban vote(foxhunting?) and will NEVER take decisions which may be the correct ones but will lose them votes.
    That is how this country operates now. There are no politicians with any integrity or balls now.

    Jack Caley

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack_Caley View Post
    Phil , you are being totally naieve.

    Politicians are the only ones with the power to do anything.
    They are scared shitless of the urban vote(foxhunting?) and will NEVER take decisions which may be the correct ones but will lose them votes.
    That is how this country operates now. There are no politicians with any integrity or balls now.

    Jack Caley
    We have the the best administration lobby cash can buy.

    But the eradication of zoonotic Tuberculosis is not something any government can duck. As a grade 3 zoonotic pathogen, together with most of the developed world, we are signatories to the OIE (Office des Internationale Epizooties) eradication programs for this disease. These are fed down to the EU, competence of which is held by offices in Madrid and thus on to our puppets in Westminster. It's how they operate their responsibilty which is highly questionable.

    Matt
    Last edited by matthew; 05-07-14 at 06:32 PM.

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack_Caley View Post

    Politicians are the only ones with the power to do anything.
    There are no politicians with any integrity or balls now.

    Jack Caley
    Agree with last sentence but as for the first, politicians are under the thumb of the un-civil servants - a clear case of Yes Minister - and dare not rock the communal gravy train.

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    Re: Tuberculosis threat requires mass cull of cattle, not badgers, study reveals

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack_Caley View Post
    Phil , you are being totally naieve.

    Politicians are the only ones with the power to do anything.
    They are scared shitless of the urban vote(foxhunting?) and will NEVER take decisions which may be the correct ones but will lose them votes.
    That is how this country operates now. There are no politicians with any integrity or balls now.

    Jack Caley
    Jack.

    No, not being totally naive at all.
    I know exactly "how it works".

    I am just doing what a lot more farmers should do & voicing an opinion on an issue that should have been tackled properly years ago.

    I am well aware of the fact that the Government & political parties shy away from the grime realities of this disease and THEIR responsibilities !
    The Government has a legal responsibility to properly control & eradicate TB from the UK !!!
    The grime realities of the situation with TB is that we need a total cull of Badgers in severly infected areas where the disease is endemic - Devon, South Somerset, parts of Gloucestershire & Pembrokeshire etc !
    The Government have not, to date at least, taken their responsibility and tackled what is a very serious issue & threat - which is why we now find ourselves in the situation where we have a protected species (Badger) that's numbers are now totally out of control and a Disease that is threatening to destroy the livestock industry in the UK for good !

    It is time for people to wake up and face facts, and that does not only apply to the Government - it also applies to organisations such as the Badger Trust, The National Trust, The Duchy, Crown estates........and also a small minority of farmers that still think it is acceptable to move animals across 3 parishes to blocks of land that have the same Holding Number !!!

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