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Badger cull expected to be delayed

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 23, 2012

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The Government is make an announcement on the badger cull at 12.30pm today amid widespread speculation that the pilot culls in the Westcountry are to be delayed by up to a year.

The news will infuriate many farmers who are losing thousands of cattle to bovine TB, believed to be spread by infected badgers.

But anti-cull protesters and animal welfare organisations who have been campaigning against the culls, will be delighted.

The shooting of badgers was to have started in Gloucestershire and West Somerset shortly.

But surveys have found many more badgers in both areas than first thought, making an efficient cull of 70% of the mammals – essential to reduce bovine TB – impractical before the badger breeding season begins in the winter.

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  • Juan11_1  |  October 26 2012, 12:00PM

    "...they unfortunately face the wrath of the Anti Cull people who are often very intimidating and use threatening behaviour" The extremists behind the intimidation have a long (and well documented) history of violence going back over many decades. One by-product of the decision to defer the cull is that the intimidation inflicted so far is likely to diminish and many will be grateful that no lives have been lost.

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  • eyeopener  |  October 25 2012, 9:21PM

    MPs have voted against the government's policy of culling badgers in two pilot schemes in England. In a non-binding vote, MPs rejected the policy by 147 votes to 28, calling instead for vaccination, improved testing and bio security. I watched that debate and it was interesting to see how the schism between pro and no cull protagonists did not follow party lines. Obviously the government had to support its own policy but it was obvious that individual MP's had investigated the evidence for and against before deciding what stance to take. Some of the facts that emerged underline how flawed the cull argument is: * It will take NINE years to achieve a 16% reduction in bovine TB leaving 84% of the problem in place. * Even if you kill every badger the soil can retain TB for up to two years. * That the killing of badgers will disrupt the local ecology causing not just badgers but all wildlife to evacuate an area in which culling is being carried out. Consequently the optimum period for culling is five days to avoid such an evacuation, NOT the six weeks this cull was to run for. We would lose wildlife, possibly never to return with the resulting damage to our tourism industry. * The cull is meant to be discreet, using rivers and roads to isolate culling areas; except….. badgers successfully cross roads at night and can swim rivers and canals. One could go on and on but culling could never have solved beef farmer David Barton's problem. One last but often overlooked fact… with all the hysteria calling for a cull…Bovine TB is the cause of just 10% of cows being slaughtered… other causes such as lameness are even higher in the league tables. Why this focus on the 10%? With MPs rejecting the policy by 147 votes to 28, the public at large overwhelmingly against culling as well as scientific opinion and an election approaching… it would not come as a surprise if the government didn't find a face saving reason not to cull in 2013.

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  • Charlespk  |  October 25 2012, 7:46PM

    Should read: "So we now know the House of Commons has a majority of people who don't know what they are talking about when it comes to dealing with tuberculosis.

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  • Charlespk  |  October 25 2012, 7:44PM

    So we now know the House of Commons has a majority of people who don't what they are talking about when it comes to dealing with tuberculosis. That's all the more to sue when the excrement hit's the fan. "It happens then as it does to physicians in the treatment of Consumption, which in the commencement is easy to cure and difficult to understand; but when it has neither been discovered in due time nor treated upon a proper principle, it becomes easy to understand and difficult to cure. The same thing happens in state affairs; by foreseeing them at a distance, which is only done by men of talents, the evils which might arise from them are soon cured; but when, from want of foresight, they are suffered to increase to such a height that they are perceptible to everyone, there is no longer any remedy." . . Niccolo Machiavelli 1469-1527 Scotland here we come!!! http://tinyurl.com/3zpxybr (open in a new window)

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  • Bleach  |  October 25 2012, 7:24PM

    It's academic now anyway. Defeated in the Commons at around 5:30 today. http://tinyurl.com/9kyrjnz

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  • Charlespk  |  October 25 2012, 3:10PM

    It would be greatly appreciated by all farmers if certain posters would stop libelling and other people would try to become educated to the problem before they make any emotional judgement or comment. Why BCG does not perform like other Vaccines. "In any normal infection the body defence works by production of vast amounts of antibodies. Such antibodies can also be stimulated by ordinary vaccines for all kinds of bacteria and virus diseases and they can be traced in blood which makes diagnosis with various techniques fairly easy. But this does not work for Tuberculosis - it never did and it never will do - because the tubercle bacteria have a waxy coat to which antibodies cannot attach. Tuberculosis therefore causes a so called humoral body defence; that means the very slowly multiplying bacteria are attacked by enzymes and white blood cells mainly. These are killing or even digesting the bacteria by a method called phagocytosis resulting in crumbly pus in the so called tubercles - whole heaps or lumps containing several 1000 to billions of bacteria. This defence is much more unspecific and slower than the usual one by antibodies. Any BCG vaccine stimulates this humoral defence only but never prevents an infection; it may keep it on a low scale maybe. There is no other vaccine available and there most probably will never be another one. No matter how many millions more DEFRA invests (I hear of some 30 so far for the Vaccine only) this is nature - which cannot be forced by politics." . . . . . . . . . . Dr Ueli Zellweger MRCVS GST TVL Somerset Dr Ueli Zellweger who is highly respected is a veterinary surgeon with over 30 years experience mainly with cattle and is considered a world expert in this field. Again quote:- "But this does not work for Tuberculosis - it never did and it never will do." "But this does not work for Tuberculosis - it never did and it never will do." "But this does not work for Tuberculosis - it never did and it never will do."

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  • Bleach  |  October 25 2012, 1:34PM

    @Charlespk, who said: "and of course culling any reactor cattle. (which our farmers have been doing relentlessly)" From a recent EC report following an investigation into how well the UK is handling the TB problem: " ... found numerous "shortcomings", including missed targets on both the rapid removal of cattle with TB and the follow-up of missed tests, and "weaknesses in cleaning and disinfection at farm, vehicle, market and slaughterhouse levels, exacerbated by lack of adequate supervision". All these problems increase the risk of TB spreading between cattle." the report also found: * "3,300 overdue TB tests as of May 2011" * "Local authority surveys provided evidence that some cattle farmers may have been illegally swapping cattle ear tags, ie retaining TB-positive animals in their herds and sending less productive animals to slaughter in their place." and finally, David Fisher, a Defra funded TB inspector has said, "It is an open secret that isolation of [TB] reactors and inconclusive reactors is rare." He also said that Defra's own database showed that in 2009 there was a 20.8% non-compliance for BTB issues and there was only one instance that year of a dairy farm being check for compliance with an isolation notice.

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  • eyeopener  |  October 24 2012, 4:07PM

    @Charlespk "Badgerists are not 'experts'. . Badgerists are mainly anthropomorphisists who believe that badgers have more right to life than any other mammal." The thrust of that statement is to state that Badgerists are governed by emotions rather than empirical science. Where did you get that FACT from? This is simply a personal opinion to which you are entitled, but expressed as emotively as the Badgerists you condemn.

  • Bleach  |  October 24 2012, 1:28PM

    "SOME scientists say it will make it worse, SOME say it will make it better, while SOME politicians say it will make it worse, and SOME politicians say it will make it better. Who do people believe?" You read the science and believe that. Politicians aren't allowed to have an opinion on this - hell, nobody is, any more than you're allowed to have an opinion on whether the sky is blue or not, it's science, it either is or it isn't and in this case it is. The most recent trials were extensive, took place over a period of ten years, were undertaken by the best in the field and the very thorough report at the end of was very clear and had a great deal of solid evidence to support it. Running another trial won't change that, any more than taking a look at the sky will turn it green. I have no idea what Charlespk is trying to say, other than that he seems to be saying that vaccination won't work and backing it up with gobbledegook. Vaccines aren't the subject of this discussion, the efficacy of culling is. Nobody prior to his post has even mentioned vaccines.

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  • Bleach  |  October 24 2012, 11:45AM

    For Charlespk: http://tinyurl.com/6l6j3b

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