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Battle of the Cotswold badger cull

Battle of the Cotswold badger cull | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Andrew Cozens, a dairy farmer all his life, loves his cows. He knows their names and recognises their foibles – perhaps not surprising, given almost every waking hour of every day is spent tending to their needs.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Culling badgers within the pilot cull zones will not make any difference to Mr Cozens' plight.  Rolling the cull out across the Cotswolds is on the NFU and Owen Paterson to do list but the pilots will produce no evidence that will convince doubters like myself that there is any scientific basis that a badger cull will not make matters worse.

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Gordon McGlone's curator insight, September 3, 2013 8:13 AM

I will be debating the badger cull with Mr Cozens tomorrow September 4th on BBC Radio Gloucestershire's Chris Baxter Midweek Mix at 10.15am.

It could be a lively affair but no badgers will be harmed during the making of the programme.

Shooting badgers within the Gloucestershire pilot cull zone will begin tonight says Gloucestershire Police. 

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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Cheltenham Borough Council agrees to fund badger TB vaccinations | Blog

Cheltenham Borough Council agrees to fund badger TB vaccinations | Blog | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Cheltenham Borough Council agrees to fund badger TB vaccinations
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Royal Welsh Show: Wales is working hard to beat bovine TB, says chief vet

Royal Welsh Show: Wales is working hard to beat bovine TB, says chief vet | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Professor Christianne Glossop told an audience in Llanelwedd that 8% of farms in Wales are suffering a TB breakdown
Gordon McGlone's insight:

||Prof Glossop said: “That will take place across the whole of Wales, giving us a better understanding of the disease picture in badgers.


“We are testing our cattle for TB what we aren’t doing is testing our badgers, so that’s the next stage, building up the evidence base because we all have opinions but not hard facts.”||

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Badger Trust wants to talk ahead of cull court challenge

Badger Trust wants to talk ahead of cull court challenge | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Badger Trust wants to talk ahead of cull court challenge
Gordon McGlone's insight:

||Dominic Dyer, CEO of the Badger Trust and policy advisor at Care for the Wild, said: “I congratulate Liz Truss on her appointment but call on her not to make the mistakes of her predecessor by attempting to push ahead with further badger culling in Gloucestershire and Somerset this summer, without any independent assessment of safety, effectiveness and humaneness.


"Rather than shut the door on any discussion of this issue ahead of the judicial review challenge in the High Court on August 21, we would like to arrange for key representatives of the Badger Trust to meet with the new Defra Secretary of State as soon as possible.”

Defra was unable to comment.||

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Department says badger cull is cost effective - RoI

Department says badger cull is cost effective - RoI | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
According to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney his Department believes the culling of badgers is cost effective and has reduced the levels of TB in bovines.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

The message that forms the foundation for the pro badger cull hymn sheet - 'it works in the Republic of Ireland'.  Their TB strategy that is; the part played by culling badgers is arguable as the rates of cattle infection are also dropping in the North of Ireland where no culling takes place.

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Paterson Out, Truss in: Will Change at the Top Mean a Change of Fortune For England's Badgers?

Paterson Out, Truss in: Will Change at the Top Mean a Change of Fortune For England's Badgers? | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Owen Paterson has served English farmers, taxpayers and, most of all, the wildlife he was supposed to protect, very badly indeed. Liz Truss would be well advised to use her experience from her time in the Education Department to learn from his mistak...
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Farmers rated Paterson, wildlife conservation and animal welfare bodies berated him.  He has left a legacy - a divided countryside.

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FactCheck: has the Irish badger cull worked?

FactCheck: has the Irish badger cull worked? | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Ireland has been killing badgers for years and bovine TB has gone down. Does that mean Britain is right to cull?
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Lies, damn lies, statistics and graphs.  The badger cull debate is a case study in how to (or not) use data and stats to prop up an argument.  The Republic of Ireland badger cull is a case in point - nothing is clear and pros and antis find comfort in the stats.  What is clear is that Ireland does not prove that culling badgers reduces bovine TB in cattle, but it does provide information.i

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We can tackle bovine TB without a cull – Labour

We can tackle bovine TB without a cull – Labour | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Labour accepts the need to tackle bovine TB in wildlife, but continues to rule out a badger cull, Shadow Farming Minister Huw Irranca-Davies told the CLA Game Fair yesterday.
Sharing a panel with...
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Sharing a panel with Farming Minister and Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth George Eustice, Mr Irranca-Davies said Labour had spent 10 years in Government and £50 million killing badgers and it ‘hadn’t worked.’

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Bovine TB rates fall to lowest in 10 years - Farming UK news

Bovine TB rates fall to lowest in 10 years - Farming UK news | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Incidents of Bovine TB in cattle fell in April to their lowest levels in almost ten years, according to the latest statistics from Defra.
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Truss signals intention to continue with badger cull | Farmers Guardian

Truss signals intention to continue with badger cull | Farmers Guardian | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
NEW Defra Secretary Liz Truss has signalled her intention to continue on the same course as her predecessor with the controversial badger cull policy.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

During Defra Questions, Ms Eagle pressed Ms Truss to reverse the decision to continue with the pilots this year.


“Would she at least undertake today to ask the Independent Expert Panel which reported on the safety, humaneness and effectiveness of year one of the cull to report on year two of the culls?,” she asked, the biggest area of controversy over the second year of the pilots.


Afterwards, Ms Eagle said the new Defra Secretary had ‘flunked her first test’ and had ‘missed a clear opportunity to leave prejudice-based policy in the past and place science firmly at the centre of her department’s policy’.


“Instead the Government’s ‘inhumane and ineffective’ badger culls will go ahead this year as planned without further independent scrutiny and will be assessed by Natural England, despite that body’s own chief scientific adviser describing them as an ‘epic failure,” she said.

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Truss confirms badger cull will continue

Truss confirms badger cull will continue | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
New Defra secretary Liz Truss has confirmed that the badger cull pilots will continue for a second year this summer in the south-west of England.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

'Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Maria Eagle said she was appalled that the Environment Secretary had confirmed that she would continue with the discredited, inhumane and ineffective badger cull. '

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Mark Jones's curator insight, July 18, 12:08 AM

The change of Secretary of State represented a real opportunity for a re-evaluation of the ineffective, inhumane and unnecessary badger culls. Sadly it seems that Liz Truss has decided not to re-examine the evidence or consult with independent experts, but instead blindly follow the dogged and flawed path trod by her predecessor.

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NFU OPINION: Why debates by scientists won't solve the bovine TB crisis in Britain

NFU OPINION:  Why debates by scientists won't solve the bovine TB crisis in Britain | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Melanie Squires regional director of the NFU in the South West, argues that the only effective approach to eradicating the disease is one that is comprehensive.

The well-worn adage that if you were...
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TB epidemic ‘will send cost of beef and milk rocketing’

TB epidemic ‘will send cost of beef and milk rocketing’ | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
FARMERS are struggling to cope with the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB) across Oxfordshire, and are warning that prices of milk and beef could go up.
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Vets backing for badger culls criticised by wildlife campaigners

Vets backing for badger culls criticised by wildlife campaigners | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has backed Government plans to repeat two pilot badger culls after assurances from the Environment Department, Defra, that the killing would be 'robustly'...
Gordon McGlone's insight:

No Independent assessment - yet the Vets' trade association supports renewed badger culling within the pilot cull zones of Gloucestershire and Somerset.


Uncomfortable stuff for those vets who stand for animal welfare.  The BVA is not representative of vets, it does not seek majority views on subjects and seems to be kowtowing to DEFRA policy.  

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BVA confirms support for badger cull pilots | News | Farmers Guardian

BVA confirms support for badger cull pilots | News | Farmers Guardian | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
THE British Veterinary Association (BVA) has confirmed its support for the second year of the pilot culls in England, following changes made by Defra to improve the policy.
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Date set for badger cull judicial review

Date set for badger cull judicial review | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
A legal challenge to Defra’s pilot badger culls will be heard in the High Court on 21 August.
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Bovine TB information note: Badger Vaccination Fund 2014 - Publications - GOV.UK

Bovine TB information note: Badger Vaccination Fund 2014 - Publications - GOV.UK | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Information note on Bovine TB explains that we are re-opening the Badger Vaccination Fund for 2014.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

The government has reopened the badger vaccine fund:-


The Government published the bovine TB Strategy for England in April 2014. It included an undertaking to consider transitional financial support for privately-led strategic projects, for example those focussed on maximising the immunity of badgers in locations at greatest risk of advancing infection. As a result, a new Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme will be launched later this year and is intended to support larger scale vaccination and provide longer term financial and other support, such as training and advice, in the Edge Area of England, where the disease is spreading from the High Risk Area. To give groups time to prepare for support under the new scheme, we are opening the existing Badger Vaccination Fund for a further year, focused on the Edge Area of England and with a reduced set of eligibility criteria.

Under the Badger Vaccination Fund, eligible schemes must involve two or more adjacent cattle farms in the Edge Area comprising the counties of Hampshire, East Sussex, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Derbyshire and Cheshire. Defra will also take into account the applicant’s progress on securing a Natural England vaccination licence, the cost of the scheme per km2 and measures taken to secure best value for money in their vaccination scheme.

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Royal Welsh Show 2014: David Cameron Q&A - We will stick to badger cull

Royal Welsh Show 2014: David Cameron Q&A - We will stick to badger cull | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
David Cameron became the first serving prime minister to make an official visit to the Royal Welsh Show when he stopped by at the showground in Builth Wells on Monday (21 July).
Gordon McGlone's insight:

So that is clear - It's Cameron's Cull


Q: Mr Cameron, are you happy with the progress on bovine TB in Wales and in England?

A: Obviously, I’m not happy in that we are still losing so many cattle to this awful disease. The vision is there. What we want is healthy cattle and healthy badgers.


What I think you get from this government is an absolute iron determination to take the right decisions – even if they are difficult and unpopular. And that’s why it’s so important that we complete the pilot culls that are taking place and why I’ve been so personally insistent about that.


I think it’s right to say that when we look at how TB has been dealt with across the world, it usually requires a combination of measures – movement restrictions and all the rest of it. But also a limited amount of culling in the wildlife population that carries it [the disease]. The commitment is there.


Am I happy with how things are going? Well, I’m happy that the pilots are going ahead. But obviously, we need to deal with this dreadful disease. To those who oppose this, I would make two points. First, if we don’t succeed, we are set to spend £1bn over the next decade on destroying cattle – and that is a huge amount of money. The second thing is, for those that care about animal rights, is that this is a miserable disease for badgers.


The whole point of this strategy is to have healthy badgers and healthy cattle and that is what we are absolutely committed to do. In terms of Wales, we will have to watch carefully the vaccination trials and study the figures. I was talking to Carwyn Jones about it this morning.

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Gordon McGlone's curator insight, July 21, 6:37 AM

Don't blame Liz Truss Secretary of State for Environment.


So that it is clear - It's Cameron's Cull


Q: Mr Cameron, are you happy with the progress on bovine TB in Wales and in England?

A: Obviously, I’m not happy in that we are still losing so many cattle to this awful disease. The vision is there. What we want is healthy cattle and healthy badgers.


What I think you get from this government is an absolute iron determination to take the right decisions – even if they are difficult and unpopular. And that’s why it’s so important that we complete the pilot culls that are taking place and why I’ve been so personally insistent about that.


I think it’s right to say that when we look at how TB has been dealt with across the world, it usually requires a combination of measures – movement restrictions and all the rest of it. But also a limited amount of culling in the wildlife population that carries it [the disease]. The commitment is there.


Am I happy with how things are going? Well, I’m happy that the pilots are going ahead. But obviously, we need to deal with this dreadful disease. To those who oppose this, I would make two points. First, if we don’t succeed, we are set to spend £1bn over the next decade on destroying cattle – and that is a huge amount of money. The second thing is, for those that care about animal rights, is that this is a miserable disease for badgers.


The whole point of this strategy is to have healthy badgers and healthy cattle and that is what we are absolutely committed to do. In terms of Wales, we will have to watch carefully the vaccination trials and study the figures. I was talking to Carwyn Jones about it this morning.

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Pictures: Anti badger cull march in Tewkesbury

Pictures: Anti badger cull march in Tewkesbury | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
A protest against the government's badger cull took place in Tewkesbury on Saturday.

Organised by badger campaigner Drew Pratten and supported by national wildlife charities Care for the Wild and...
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Dominic Dyer, of the Badger Trust and Care for the Wild, said: “I’ve worked in the agriculture and food industry for most of my career, and this is the worst agricultural policy I’ve seen in 30 years. I’m sympathetic to farmers, but culling badgers simply won’t work. Ordinary people from around the country have been coming out to protest against this barbaric cull for a year now, and we’re looking forward to seeing many of them come to Tewkesbury.

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Tackling Bovine TB

Tackling Bovine TB | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
This blog will provide updates on the work carried out across England to tackle TB in cattle, and...
Gordon McGlone's insight:

No culled badgers contributed to these results, one Secretary of State was however eliminated.


The most recent bovine TB (bTB) statistics are now online. As of the end of April, more than 4,700 herds across Great Britain were affected by bovine TB, and 11,689 cattle have been slaughtered due to the disease.   The charts and tables in this statistical release illustrate how the trend in bTB incidence has changed since 1996. While it’s important to note that short term changes in these statistics should be considered in the context of long term trends, the monthly incidence rate for April is 3.0%. This is the lowest single monthly incidence rate since 2003 and the third consecutive month in which a decrease in the short-term incidence rate has been observed.

Farming Minister, George Eustice said:

“These latest statistics show that our comprehensive bovine TB eradication strategy is beginning to have a positive effect in bringing this devastating disease under control.

“However bovine TB continues to be a major issue for farmers across England. That is why we are using all the tools we have available to tackle the disease, including a new funding scheme to encourage vaccination of badgers in the ‘edge area’ to help prevent bovine TB taking hold there.”

The most recent bovine TB statistics can be viewed here.

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Bovine TB rates fall to lowest in 10 years - Farming UK news

Bovine TB rates fall to lowest in 10 years - Farming UK news | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Incidents of Bovine TB in cattle fell in April to their lowest levels in almost ten years, according to the latest statistics from Defra.
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TB strategy must target infected setts, says farmers

TB strategy must target infected setts, says farmers | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
A farmer whose closed dairy herd has tested positive for bovine TB has urged the new Defra secretary to reassess the government’s strategy for tackling the disease.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

The Test / Vaccinate / Remove strategy (TVR) being trialled by DARD in Northern Ireland offers a prospect of a far more specific means of targeting badger management rather than the broadside badger culls in England that are failing to achieve anything other than strife and bad PR for farmers.

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'Groundbreaking' TB blood test for camelids launched

'Groundbreaking' TB blood test for camelids launched | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
The UK’s first government approved TB test for camelids – llamas and alpacas – has been launched.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Claire Whitehead, president of the British Camelid Veterinary Society, said: “Bovine TB is not prevalent in camelids but the introduction of this new serological blood test will take away the uncertainty of the skin test and provide an opportunity for owners to verify the health of their herds.”


Peter Roissetter, chairman of the British Alpaca Society, added: “We are very pleased that the government has approved this groundbreaking scheme launched by SureFarm.


“We are optimistic that the government will soon finalise a realistic compensation package and the protocols for use in a confirmed bovine TB breakdown, which will complete the overall approach we take in combatting this disease.”


NFU deputy president Minette Batters said: “I applaud all the work that has been put into this voluntary investment that has got this launch under way.

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Owen Paterson sacked: the end of 'badger bashing'?

Owen Paterson sacked: the end of 'badger bashing'? | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Owen Paterson's departure from Government could see the end of the hated badger culls and a wider return to environmental sanity, writes Lesley Docksey. Given his disbelief in climate change and his arrogant disregard of science, it's not a moment too soon!
Gordon McGlone's insight:

So Paterson's demise was all down to cack-handed culling And fumbled flooding.


||Despite the National Farmers Union, the Countryside Alliance and other friends lobbying David Cameron to keep him in place, he's gone. According to the Daily Mirror he was understood to have "paid the price for the botched badger cull and the Government's cack-handed response to this winter's floods".||

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Campaigners plan to sabotage Gloucestershire boar cull

Campaigners plan to sabotage Gloucestershire boar cull | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
ITV News can reveal plans by wildlife activists to sabotage this year's wild boar cull in the Forest of Dean. They've started a group aimed to disrupt it - and say they'll use techniques learned during the badger cull.
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Cheltenham Borough Council could back badger vaccination plan

Cheltenham Borough Council could back badger vaccination plan | Bovine TB, badgers and cattle | Scoop.it
Badgers could be vaccinated in Cheltenham borough to stop the spread of Bovine TB if councillors back a campaign group's bid to protect the animals from future culls.
A petition with more than 800...
Gordon McGlone's insight:

“This is accepted by the Government, which is already supporting some trials of the licensed vaccine in the Stroud area.


“It is also supported by the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust which is also actively involved in badger vaccination.


“I am proposing that we should be prepared to consider part-funding the vaccination of badgers in our borough if a competent organisation comes forward with a plan to do this.


“They would need to have a convincing plan and a clear idea of the costs involved.”

Mr Rawson has stressed that any council funding would only be made available to credible organisations.

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