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‘Hard culling’ puts 100,000 badgers in line of fire' | The Sunday Times

‘Hard culling’ puts 100,000 badgers in line of fire' | The Sunday Times | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it

‘Hard culling’ puts 100,000 badgers in line of fire'

Gordon McGlone's insight:

'Hard culling’ puts 100,000 badgers in line of fire - Jonathan Leake, Sunday Times'


Paterson's affection for policy based on cherry-picked evidence is revealed in Leake's detailed interview with the Secretary of State.  It is clear that unless something significant derails the pilot badger culls, scheduled to start within a week or two, badger culling will be taking place throughout the South West of England over the next four years.


100,000 badgers might then be culled in the 40 cull zones that Paterson would licence and that the NFU have been pressing for.


|| OWEN PATERSON, the environment secretary, has drawn up plans for a big expansion of badger culling — including allowing farmers the freedom to shoot the animals — before the first two controversial trial culls have even begun.||


It is important to remember that the Gloucestershire and Somerset pilots will only test methods of culling; can badgers be killed to standards that are not fully published, humanely, cheaply - and by the farming community?


The pilot culls will generate no scientific knowledge.


Opposition to badger culling as a significant and sensible bovine TB management strategy is significant at political, scientific and public levels.


Owen Paterson has staked his career and his credibility in delivering a cull of badgers as the key plank in a bovine TB control strategy.  It is clear that his commitment is total.


The badger cull is a bad idea and a signal that future Defra policy will be driven by politics and not scientific evidence. 






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Bovine TB, badgers and cattle
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Animal health: How to control bovine tuberculosis : Nature

Animal health: How to control bovine tuberculosis : Nature | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
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.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

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. 

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Farmers facing 'more pain' in fight to combat bovine TB

Farmers facing 'more pain' in fight to combat bovine TB | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
FARMERS have been warned they face more pain before there are any significant gains made in reducing bovine TB levels in Britain.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

At last a clear statement about the minor role that badgers play in the epidemiology of bovine TB a from the DEFRA Chief Scientist.


Defra’s Chief Scientist Ian Boyd said, while it was clear, badgers played a significant part in transmission, there was a ‘strong evidence base’ to suggest cattle spread was the biggest factor.

While there is huge uncertainty over the figure, he cited research suggesting direct spread from badgers could account for as little as 6 per cent of breakdowns.


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Badger cull 'cost £5,200 per animal'

Badger cull 'cost £5,200 per animal' | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Badger culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire have cost the equivalent of £5,200 for each badger killed, an animal charity says.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Care for the Wild is challenging Defra's figures as it claims that the substantial policing costs, funded by another government department,mother Home Office, are not included in their original figure.

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Badger culls must be based on facts, not panic and bias

Badger culls must be based on facts, not panic and bias | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Steve Backshall: Unless every single badger is killed, the survivors move around, resulting in an increase in bovine TB. But will politicians listen?
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Steve Backshall stays strictly objective and does not dance around this clear, comprehensive and unarguable put down of the current political rationale for a badger cull.

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Welsh Government | Badger found dead survey

Welsh Government | Badger found dead survey | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
We would like to know if you come across any dead badgers anywhere within the Intensive Action Area.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

The Welsh Government continues with its science based, evidence driven policy of controlling bovine TB without culling badgers.  Road Traffic Accident and naturallyndeceased badgers are to be collected, given post mortem examinations and the data gathered collated.


This policy was abandoned in England on the grounds of cost

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HELPING BADGERS: Rock legend Brian May joins forces with Derbyshire artist Pollyanna Pickering

HELPING BADGERS: Rock legend Brian May joins forces with Derbyshire artist Pollyanna Pickering | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
DERBYSHIRE wildlife artist Pollyanna Pickering has joined forces with legendary guitarist Brian May in a new venture to help raise funds for the vaccination of badgers. One of the founding members...
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We have proved badger cull works - Gloscon

We have proved badger cull works - Gloscon | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
THE second year of the pilot badger culls have been a success and should pave the way for wider roll out of the policy, according to a spokesman for the Gloucestershire cull company.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

NFU is claiming success in culling badgers - it depends of course what one considers success to look like.  The pilot badger culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire were science free zones.

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Badger cull set to fail for second year running

Badger cull set to fail for second year running | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Two-thirds of the way through Gloucestershire cull, fewer than a third of required badgers had been shot
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Do something with the number that you first thought of then use it as the basis of a licence for two secretly delivered pilot badger culls,  unmonitored in their second year.  What a potty basis for a flawed disease control strategy.


"But Professor Rosie Woodroffe, a badger expert who worked on the 10-year trial, said: “The targets are all rubbish because they are based on rubbish data. In Somerset they set themselves an unbelievably easy target. It was not set in line with their aim – to kill at least 70% of badgers. They have completely thrown that out.”

Officials estimated the Somerset population by counting setts and multiplying by a fixed number, a method described as “very crude” by Prof Woodroffe. This estimate suggested the target should be between 316 and 1,776 badgers killed, with Defra choosing the lowest figure

There is a 97.5% chance the cull will therefore fall short of the 70% mark, according to Prof Woodroffe. In Gloucestershire, the range was estimated as 391 to 1,292, with 615 being chosen as the target.

“Defra claim to take a precautionary approach to setting these targets. But killing too few badgers risks increasing cattle TB, quite the opposite of precautionary,” she said. “Furthermore, with the data that is being collected, it will be impossible to know how effective this year’s culls have been.”

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Unlawful, ineffective, toxic: the badger cull must end - vaccination is the answer

Unlawful, ineffective, toxic: the badger cull must end - vaccination is the answer | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
The Badger Trust' is in the Court of Appeal today, making its case that the 2014 'trial' badger cull is unlawful, writes Dominic Dyer. But beyond that, the entire culling policy is driven by politics, not science, and is doomed to failure. It's time for Cameron to harness his 'big society' to apply a genuine solution: badger vaccination.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Dominic Dyer, Badger Trust CEO, gives his views on the badgercull

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John Dougherty's top 10 fictional badgers

John Dougherty's top 10 fictional badgers | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Badgers in stories are usually wise and kindly animals – which may have little to do with real life but does anybody really care? Here John Dougherty picks the best badgers in children’s books
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Who would have thought that Owen Paterson, enmeshed as he was 'fighting the Green Blob', would have had the time to make a top ten literature chart?

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Care for the Wild and JWT London take on the government's badger cull

Care for the Wild and JWT London take on the government's badger cull | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
David Masterman, creative director at JWT London, added: “The situation is horrific; we needed to highlight it in an arresting way.”
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Philip Mansbridge, CEO of Care for the Wild, said: “When you ask JWT for help, you literally don’t know what you’re going to get – but it’s always spectacular. They say a picture paints a thousand words, and at Care for the Wild we’ve used a lot of words trying to fight the badger cull. JWT’s advert cuts right to the chase and delivers a message that will make people notice, and that’s what we needed.”

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WMN Letters: Let farmers control badgers

WMN Letters: Let farmers control badgers | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
We are told by the anti-cull brigade that killing one badger will spread TB, yet slaughtering thousands of cattle will cure it. How can a dead badger spread the disease? I don't know how these so...
Gordon McGlone's insight:

The answer seems to be - control badgers.  What is the question? Eliminating bovine TB or dominating the countryside - that is the real issue and the one that Owen Paterson battled for in his fights with the 'Green Blob'.  The badger cull is the testing ground for environmenatl management and species conservation.

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RSPCA to 'rebuild bridges' with farmers - but still reject badger cull

RSPCA to 'rebuild bridges' with farmers - but still reject badger cull | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
The RSPCA has admitted it has to 'rebuild bridges' with the West's farming community after 'the damage done' by former chief executive Gavin Grant – but maintained that farmers involved in the...
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Animal welfare and nature conservation organisations work with farmers as an integral part of their work.  Contentious issues such as the badger cull may stretch relationships to the limit.  NFU President Meurig Raymand could assist greatly by leaving working arrangements between farmers (most of whom are after all not his members) and the RSPCA to evolve in a pragMagic and practical way.  The devil is in the detail and this should not be an NFU Presidential speciality.

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NFU demands independent body to help eradicate TB - Farmers Weekly

NFU demands independent body to help eradicate TB - Farmers Weekly | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
The NFU is lobbying government for the creation of a new independent body to eradicate bovine TB and depoliticise the debate over the disease. At present,
Gordon McGlone's insight:

The NFU admits that it is a trade body and presses for an independent body to oversee the management of bovine TB; code for a major role out of badger culls funded through DEFRA and managed by a body that excludes wildlife conservation and animal,welfare bodies.

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Don't Tell Queen's Brian May, But the Badger Cull Has Actually Been a Big Success

Don't Tell Queen's Brian May, But the Badger Cull Has Actually Been a Big Success | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Britain's experimental badger cull has been a surprising success. Not that you'd guess this from any of the headlines in the papers.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Unsubstantiated badger cull twaddle.

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Coalition badger cull cost taxpayer £3,350 for every animal killed - Telegraph

Coalition badger cull cost taxpayer £3,350 for every animal killed - Telegraph | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Controversial drive to stop spread of tuberculosis by culling badgers led to 1,879 animals being killed but cost taxpayer almost £6.3 million
Gordon McGlone's insight:

The culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset were pilots 'designed' to see if farmer managed operations would work.  Clearly on the basis of taxpayer costs they didn't.  

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Badgers... Time for Evidence-Based Policy Rather Than Policy-Based Evidence

Badgers... Time for Evidence-Based Policy Rather Than Policy-Based Evidence | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
This week heralded an all too familiar event in the UK Parliament - a House of Commons debate on the badger cull. With the second year of culling having very recently completed, politicians and animal lovers alike are eagerly awaiting the news of jus...
Gordon McGlone's insight:

We seem stuck with a failed badger cull policy despite overwhelming evidence that the pilots have failed.   When will the politicians listen?

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Animal Aid website will let voters check politicians’ animal welfare credentials

Animal Aid website will let voters check politicians’ animal welfare credentials | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Voters will for the first time be able to rate the commitment to animal rights of MPs and parliamentary candidates, thanks to a new website that compares their records on issues including hunting, vivisection and badger culling.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

MPs' animal welfare commitment is now under an even brighter spotlight.

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Environment Minister defends badger cull policy

Environment Minister defends badger cull policy | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
People must worry about cattle just as much as badgers if they are concerned about 'all of God's creations', a senior Tory MP has said.
Sir Tony Baldry, who represents the Church of England in the...
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Police commissioner promises to reveal cost of Badger cull response

Police commissioner promises to reveal cost of Badger cull response | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Police commissioner promises to reveal cost of Badger cull response
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Will anyone really know the true costs of the pilot badger culls.  The overall policing financial costs may be revealed but what about  the damaged to confidence in Natural England, broken Defra promises and community frictions?


Quote

“We want to ensure the taxpayer in Gloucestershire does not foot the bill for this.

“Officers will not be deployed to Operation Themis as part of their regular duties. It will be staffed through overtime, rest days and mutual aid.


“All costs will be submitted to the Government after the cull has concluded.”


Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl said he will reveal the costs when the cull is over.


He said: “We won’t know until it’s over and there is no point in speculating. Last year, the police estimate was based on how long they were told the cull would last, only for it to be extended.


“As a result, the final figure was much higher than expected. As soon as I know the precise cost, I will make it public as I did at the end of the previous pilot phase.”


It was revealed following a Freedom of Information (FoI) request that Gloucestershire Constabulary had requested £2,338,248 from the Home Office for 2013’s Operation Themis expenses and received the amount in full this summer.


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SNJ reporter Kate Wilson joins Bill Oddie on Wounded Badger Patrol

SNJ reporter Kate Wilson joins Bill Oddie on Wounded Badger Patrol | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
As the second badger cull in Gloucestershire and Somerset draws to a close SNJ reporter Kate Wilson joined television presenter Bill Oddie and another 50 anti-cull protesters on a mission to find wounded badgers.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

As the 2014 badger cull pilots draw to an end questions remain over their effectiveness, humaneness and safety.

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NFU accuses badger cull opponents of 'misleading' public

NFU accuses badger cull opponents of 'misleading' public | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
THE NFU has accused opponents of the badger cull of misleading the public with a poster campaign which carries the strapline: ‘Over 12,000 badgers already killed’.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

The advertisement directs readers towards the website where the full details are given.  The NFU should know all about spin - based on its own lopsided statements about bovine TB and badgers.

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Cheshire Wildlife Trust first to trial badger micro-chipping

Cheshire Wildlife Trust first to trial badger micro-chipping | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Tuberculosis vaccine scheme will see badgers micro-chipped
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Cheshire Wildlife Trust has made strong progress in its work with the farming and veterinary communities in developing a BadgrBCG vaccination programme.  With the neighbouring Wildlife Trust in Shropshire the trust has led on engaging with farmers who want to use badger vaccination on their land as part of a package of measures that will reduce the risk of bovine TB infections within their herds.

Micro-chipping vaccinated badgers would generate knowledge about the ecology and behaviour of badgers within the study area as well as reducing the need for 'blanket' vaccination of badgers trapped in subsequent years of the programme.  The marker paint used on vaccinated badgers in year one is not permanent, microchips will show whether a badger has been vaccinated each time that the animal is trapped.  It may lead to a reduction in programme costs once the implications of badger micro-chipping is better understood.

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Badger Trust will visit Court of Appeal on Thursday (October 9)

Badger Trust will visit Court of Appeal on Thursday (October 9) | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
A LEGAL challenge over this year’s badger culls is being taken to the Court of Appeal on Thursday (October 9).
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Too late to stop the current 'pilot' Badgerculls but important in setting the Government's current clumsy culling policy in its legal context.

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Fractious badger cull debate yields few answers

Fractious badger cull debate yields few answers | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
CHESHIRE farmer Phil Latham and Shropshire vet Den Leonard metaphorically entered the lion’s den as they tried to explain why badgers should be culled to control bovine TB (bTB) in front of a hostile audience at the Labour Party Conference.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

There are no easy answers to the bovine TB problem.  Doing nothing is not an option but neither is blaming the whole thing on badgers the option that makes scientific sense.

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Public support for badger culls on the rise, survey shows

Public support for badger culls on the rise, survey shows | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Public support for the pilot badger culls is increasing, according to a YouGov survey.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Treat with care - other analyses are less comforting to the cullophiles:-

       But opposition to the culls still holds the majority vote, at 42%, despite the upward trend of people coming out in favour of the controversial policy.

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