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NEW figures have shown that nearly 2,000 cattle were slaughtered in Gloucestershire last year as a result of bovine TB.Ministers have said the statistics showed the growing impact of the disease on...
A need for action should not be equated with a need to cull badgers. The badger cull is becoming a distraction from the full 'tool box' that must be applied vigorously if the disease is to be controlled. Top amongst these and the measure that is most unpopular with farmers is the reduction in cattle movements. The insensitivity of the bovine TB skin test means that a proportion of animals from herds that are currently considered clear of bTB but that have had a pattern of breakdowns could be infected with the disease.
The most optimistic reading of the RBCT and ISG work showed that culling badgers MIGHT (if carried out to a standard that is practically almost impossible to achieve) reduce bTB by 12% to 16%.
A badger cull does not address the missing 84% of the problem.
Action is necessary; the badger cull is the wrong sort of action.
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The most optimisitc reading of the RBCT and ISG work showed that culling badgers MIGHT (if carried out to a standard that is practically almost impossible to achieve) reduce bTB by 12% to 16%.
A model of the transmission and spread of bovine tuberculosis in Britain suggests that controlling the epidemic will require large-scale cattle slaughter or a major rethink of combined control strategies.
Prof Robbie MacDonald's take on the Warwick University group's paper is an invaluable review of the scientific, sociological and policy implications of research that challenges the premiss that culling badgers can make a useful contribution to controlling bovine TB.
The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) has said is it “essential” for the TVR Research Project to be carried out.
Team Broc setts out for action
Inspired by the success of the Team Badger animal welfare alliance in England, Team Broc is now active in Ireland.
Even an architect of the cull now says it will fail to stop the spread of disease to cattle.
The badger cull is doing nothing for England's international scientific and wildlife management credibility.
THE extent to which bovine TB (bTB) is now a national concern in England was highlighted when 160 farmers attended a meeting on the subject in Kendal auction mart, Cumbria, on Monday evening (July 7).
Wales’ grip on bovine TB eradication will tighten further this autumn when cattle must be tested before they are moved between linked pieces of land.
The Department of Agriculture is seeking contractors to carry out a cull of up to 12,000 badgers over 2 years in an ongoing effort to tackle tuberculosis levels in cattle.
If you wanted to find a story with legs you would be hard pressed to surpass the contortions and convolutions of the Badger culls in England and the Republic of Ireland.
However animal welfare groups are hotly disputing the need for any more culling, with the Irish Wildlife Trust claiming many studies show badger culling is ineffective at stopping TB outbreaks in cattle.
The IWT also point out that years of culling in this country has not got eradicated bovine TB.
Farmers argue the latest cull is necessary and say there is ample evidence linking infected badger populations to the spread of TB to disease free cattle, something that can have a devastating impact for farm families..
Professor David Macdonald, who sits on the NE board and chairs its scientific advisory committee, criticised the 2013 trial culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire in which 1,861 badgers were shot, saying: “It is hard to see how continuing this approach could be justified.”
Campaigners against the badger cull in Gloucestershire have vowed to continue patrolling the countryside as a judicial review gets under way.The Badger Trust has been granted permission by a judge...
A new computer simulation suggests a badger cull will not effectively control the spread of bovine TB.
Bovine TB is the animal disease with no easy answers, no silver bullet and no quick fix. The farming industry and the government have a tough time ahead of them according to this research paper's prognoses.
According to the new research culling badgers is not the panacea that the farming industry wants and that government ministers have suggested
“Our model offers a dispassionate, unbiased view of the spread of bTB through the cattle industry of Great Britain” says model co-author Professor Matthew Keeling, from Warwick’s School of Life Sciences and Department of Mathematics. “The model is based on the recorded pattern of positive and negative tests and uses the known movement of cattle around the country. We aim for it to provide policy-makers with the best evidence possible from which to make decisions relating to bTB and to contribute to the ongoing discussions on this sensitive issue”.
Government advisors support Badger Trust High Court legal challenge
The Tenant Farmers Association has written to DEFRA Minister George Eustice MP calling for DEFRA to overturn its decision to ban partial derestriction of TB breakdown holdings.
The controversial subject of badger culling has been a hot topic in the West Country for a number of years. To cull or to vaccinate has split farmers and land owners across the country, leaving those with smallholdings confused by what options are available to them.
||According to Professor Macdonald these trials were not sufficiently successful as the target was a 70% reduction. He commented that “following this epic failure it is hard to see how continuing this approach could be justified”.
A second Oxford academic, Professor Tim Coulson, has also criticized government ministers. When speaking to the BBC, Professor Coulson stated, “If culling worked I'd be fully supportive of them [Defra, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs] rolling it out, but all the evidence is that it does not.” Professor Coulson is a member of the Independent Expert Panel, which was tasked by the government to advise it on the pilot culls.||
Environmentalists have dumped dozens of wellington boots on Defra’s doorstep as part of a campaign to oust Owen Paterson.
Giving Owen Paterson the boot - literally.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson made no attempt to meet the Independent Expert Panel after its critical report on the badger culls, a briefing for MPs was told.Professor Tim Coulson, a professor...
A FARM advisory service which helps farmers who have been affected by bovine TB faces closure if its annual funding from central government is not renewed. The South West TB Farm Advisory Service,...
A MAJOR cull of the wild deer of Wicklow is urgently needed as cases of bovine TB rises sharply in the Garden County and farmers count the cost of damaged crops, broken fences and lost
Cull wildlife to manage disease in domestic stock; the international zoonosis mantra. Oh - and things don't always work out quite as planned either.
“The later implementation of the badger culling programme in these counties due to staffing reasons, and the particular terrain involved makes badger culling more difficult. This has impeded progress in eradication. The staffing issue has been addressed and the badger culling programme is now being implemented more effectively,”
Bovine tuberculosis is a major problem in the UK: in 2013 around 8m cattle were tested and 32,000 slaughtered at a cost of an estimated £100m, including compensation – a huge economic burden that makes…
Bovine tuberculosis (TB) is one of the most complex, persistent and controversial problems facing the British cattle industry, costing the country an estimated [pound]100 million per year. The low sensitivity of the standard diagnostic test leads to considerable ambiguity in determining the main transmission routes of infection, which exacerbates the continuing scientific debate. In turn this uncertainty fuels the fierce public and political disputes on the necessity of controlling badgers to limit the spread of infection. Here we present a dynamic stochastic spatial model for bovine TB in Great Britain that combines within-farm and between-farm transmission. At the farm scale the model incorporates stochastic transmission of infection, maintenance of infection in the environment and a testing protocol that mimics historical government policy. Between-farm transmission has a short-range environmental component and is explicitly driven by movements of individual cattle between farms, as recorded in the Cattle Tracing System. The resultant model replicates the observed annual increase of infection over time as well as the spread of infection into new areas. Given that our model is mechanistic, it can ascribe transmission pathways to each new case; the majority of newly detected cases involve several transmission routes with moving infected cattle, reinfection from an environmental reservoir and poor sensitivity of the diagnostic test all having substantive roles. This underpins our findings on the implications of control measures. Very few of the control options tested have the potential to reverse the observed annual increase, with only intensive strategies such as whole-herd culling or additional national testing proving highly effective, whereas controls focused on a single transmission route are unlikely to be highly effective.
National-scale research heavily contradicts government’s badger policy and says emphasis on cattle is only way to curb epidemic
This research challenges the current government's bovine TB policy and throws down a gauntlet to labour; becoming the party of cattle culling is an even tougher option than the current muddle.
Vets have warned anti-badger cull campaigners not to claim that wildlife vaccination is behind a fall in TB-infected cattle in Wales.
VOLUNTEERS who oppose the Government's badger cull have been completing the latest vaccinations of badgers on land around west Cornwall this week. Cornwall Badger Rescue is giving badgers at a...
Sennen ecologist and lay badger vaccinator Kathryn Driscoll said: "Its great to see the landowners who care about the cattle and the wildlife looking for the best options to control the spread of Bouvine TB in cattle. This has been shown to be biosecurity measures; like securing farm feed stores and limiting animal movements along with vaccinations."
Anti badger cull campaigners have won a legal battle against the Government as they attempt to prevent the cull resuming this year.A judge has granted the Badger Trust permission for a Judicial Review in the High Court into the continuation of the cull in England.