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Wildlife Reservoirs, is the badger a costly distraction, a scapegoat ...?



 Added by  Thomas (Guest)
 22 Jul 2010, 6:43 PM


Prof John Bourne, who conducted the infamous ten year, government-funded study which showed that badger killing is a waste of time and money, recalled what he was told by a senior politician:
 
"Fine, John, we accept your science, but we have to offer farmers a carrot. And the only carrot we can possibly give them is culling badgers."
 
This strand on the forum deals mainly with the wildlife reservoirs involved in the bovine TB saga. In the UK this is, as we are probably all aware by now, believed to be mainly the badger. No other mammal has been studied in the UK as intensely as the badger so actually we don't really know just how other animals are implicated. In other countries different species are implicated. There are some anomalies too, including the example below.
 
Has anyone an explanation for the following!
 
According to last issue of Gwlad, Australia is now bTB free after 27 years of trying. We are told it has no wildlife reservoir. New Zealand is still aiming for eradication. It has a wildlife reservoir - possums - which are considered a pest species as not indigenous so are being culled - and vaccinated!
 
HOWEVER - possums ARE native to Australia and bTB was rife in country for years so - why are the Australian possums not a reservoir?

Sally
https://www.welshconservatives.com/news/wales-shock-28-percent-increase-livestock-slaughtered-due-bovine-tb?fbclid=IwAR382kQXcX_...

 
Dear Paul,
 
I agree that cattle slaughtered in Wales has increased dramatically since the introduction of the The Refreshed TB Eradication Programme 2017, but what you fail to explain are the reasons for the increase in the number of reactors. Basically, the more you test the more you find, it’s not a difficult concept to understand or explain, which you deliberately avoided on your website.
For decades the U.K. has relied upon SICCT for removal of Tb infected cattle. It has now become apparent that the sensitivity of SICCT is only 49%-65%,( Defra research, Downs et al) thus leaving between 35%-51% of undetected infection in the herd to further spread disease. Wales has employed the widespread use of gamma interferon, which has an improved sensitivity of approx. 90%, thus removing a greater number of reactors in the early stages of infection before visible lesions have developed. I am aware that the specificity of gamma 96.6% is lower than that of SICCT thus removing some false positives but in areas of high btb where the reservoir of disease is greatest only a small number of false positive animals will be removed. There is a trade off between sensitivity and specificity, which is a small price to pay in reducing bovine Tb in endemic areas, as clearly stated on TB HUB.
 
https://tbhub.co.uk/guidance/testing-and-compensation/cattle-interferon-gamma-ifny-testing-bovine-tuberculosis/
 
Also to be noted, ALL IRs are now removed, whereas previously they were allowed to remain on farm until further testing, thus increasing the risk of spreading disease.
 
In addition to SICCT and Gamma, Wales has introduced a whole suite of Tb tests, to increase the sensitivity of testing. SICCT and Gamma will remove 95% of infection but the remaining 5% remains stubborn, hence the necessity for more tests being employed in Wales, flexi gamma, IDEXX, non validated tests eg Actiphage, Enferplex is currently under consideration.
 
Had you attended the Bovine TB conference at Aberystwyth University/ Bovine Tb Centre of Excellence it would have tremendously improved your little knowledge of bovine Tb. The whole conference was centred around the most recent scientific advances in btb testing now being employed in Wales, thus offering an explanation to vets, farmers, unions and public of the increased number of reactors now being removed in Wales.
As you are no doubt aware chronic and persistent Tb farms in Wales each has its own tailored action plan, of the 95 farms with action plans 38 have become OTF within 18 months as a result of enhanced testing and biosecurity, carefully planned cattle movements, risk based trading, all without interference with wildlife.
Until industry with the support of all political parties take responsibility for disease, bovine Tb will stubbornly persist.
 
I would like to draw your attention to the Gatcombe Project where a permanently housed herd had been under restriction for several years. Vet Dick Sibley was given permission to use the non validated test Actiphage which detects m.bovis bacteria in blood as low as 5 bacteria/ ml. The test is not dependent on the erratic immune response, hence the sensitivity is almost 100%. Actiphage was used in conjunction with SICCT and gamma, disclosing a previously undetected reservoir within the herd, enhanced testing succeeded in gaining OTF for this farm.
Interestingly, PCR was also employed to examine faecal m.bovis excretion. The results showed that some cattle were excreting large numbers of bacteria whilst being negative to both SICCT and Gamma, the results of which suggest that reinfection was occurring via faecal contamination, not aerosol transmission alone. Considering a reactor sheds 36 million bacteria per day, there are usually between 1-6 reactors per herd, and many more undetected, farmland becomes entrenched with Tb contamination which is able to exist in the ground for one year or more. The temperate climate in the West of the U.K. provides the ideal environment for the persistence of bTB.
 
The farming press recently disclosed, using Defra data, a huge reservoir of Tb in cattle in England detected by the increased use of gamma alone, as described above.
 
The Down’s report attributes reduction in Tb in both Gloucestershire and Somerset as a result of badger culling, but read carefully it is heavily caveated, and makes a passing suggestion that the fall could be attributed to improved testing and farmer performance.
 
May I also draw your attention to the excellent letter from Professor Glossop in response to Tb reservoir in cattle in England, published in Vet Record last week, where she explains the need for enhanced testing as introduced in Wales.
 
The Welsh government has similar concerns to those expressed in the accompanying news article ‘Huge reservoir of undetected bTB infection found’ (VR, 26 October 2019, vol 185, p492), particularly in those herds that have a chronic TB testing history. In Wales, these are typically dairy herds of mid to large size in endemic TB areas. A surprisingly high number of animals in these herds have long-term histories of being intermittent inconclusive reactors (under Welsh interpretation rules), or having positive responses to bovine tuberculin on multiple occasions, and are eventually culled one to three years later as TB skin or interferon gamma (IFN-γ) blood test reactors.
Over the past 12 months, Wales has been applying a wider suite of tests alongside IFN-γ testing in chronic TB breakdown herds. For example, the IDEXX antibody test for TB and the flexibly enhanced IFN-γ test (BoviGam; Thermo Fisher Scientific) have been used to test high-risk animals. We are also considering how the Enferplex Bovine TB antibody test (Enfer Scientific ULC) might complement our approach in identifying infected animals at an early stage.
 
I suggest that, before you publish electioneering propaganda, you research your topics in detail. You have succeeded in embarrassing yourself and your party with lack of knowledge about a highly important subject, not only to farmers, unions and those closely involved in bovine Tb, but to the wider electorate.
 
I suggest you remove or correct your recent post forthwith.
 
I eagerly await your response.
 
Linda Griffiths
Independent Researcher.
 
 
The following article in the Guardian left me open mouthed. I would have approached the Hunt Saboteurs association as I feel they are the most active with field workers.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/21/conservatives-hope-to-turn-animal-welfare-sentiment-into-votes
And this link explains why I am very selective in the media that I follow.
https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/the-proof-we-have-been-waiting-for-jeremy-corbyn-has-the-entire-media-elite-against-him/1...
 
If you got to the end, congratulations and thanks for sticking with me.
 
Derek CAN
 
 
 
 
Sally
The European Commission is penalising Ireland €1m for a failure to make progress in eradicating bovine tuberculosis (TB).
 
The EU was to provide €9.8m to the TB programme for 2018, accounting for 11% of total funding. However, its contribution will be reduced to €8.8m because Ireland's TB herd incidence has risen over the last three years. (And this is despite the country culling virtually all its badgers - so it can't be badgers then? Now they are apparently going to target deer.)
 
https://www.farmersjournal.ie/eu-to-penalise-ireland-for-tb-programme-failure-507788
 
Sally
Ecologist article
 
... an even bigger elephant was detected relatively recently, thanks to a final act of the retiring Defra Chief Scientific Advisor Ian Boyd, in June 2019. His written advice was that it will never be possible to distinguish the existence or measurement of direct benefit from badger culling from any other individual bTB intervention. Other interventions include additional and more effective bTB testing, hygiene improvements in cattle sheds and the prevention of infected slurry spreading from causing faecal ingestion of infected slurry.
 
https://theecologist.org/2019/nov/05/badger-meddling
 
Sally
Gatcombe Farm project secures TB-free status
 
A new approach to disease control is being taken on a dairy farm in Devon. This article is well worth reading and could well provide a proper, long term solution for farmers. It involves taking out infective cows and minimising exposure to slurry. The trial has seen the herd attain TB-free status after six years of persistent breakdowns. It is known that the Mycobacteria that cause bovine TB is present in slurry/cattle manure and housed cattle so this trial, which certainly seems to be working, could be a way forward.
 
The farm in question is Gatcombe Farm, run by Robert and Thomas Reed.
 
They have been involved in a five-year project overseen by Dick Sibley of West Ridge Veterinary Practice, Tiverton, in partnership with Queen guitarist and animal rights supporter Brian May.
 
 
 
The full article is well worth reading:
 
 
https://www.fwi.co.uk/livestock/health-welfare/livestock-diseases/bovine-tb/brian-mays-gatcombe-farm-project-secures-tb-free-sta...
 
 
 
 
 
Sally
MARTIN HANCOX (ex Government TB Panel) ASKS 'ARE BADGER CULLS WORKING OR MAKING THINGS WORSE ?
 
A mixed response to the 11th September authorisation for a 2019 badger cull of between 36,987 and 63,908 badgers, in 11 new areas, so now totalling 43 areas across vast areas of avon, cheshire, cornwall, devon, dorset, glos., hereford, staffs., somerset, and wilts (1). That is more than the 32,000 reactor cattle over the last 12months ! An astonishing 8165-16,175 from an area of over half Devon alone , but Ian Boyd admitted "we cannot estimate badger population sizes", so how can there be a realistic estimate of this vast population, so the "necessary " 70 % cull will be wild guess work? Farmers very annoyed that a Derbyshire cull stopped by "BOJO". They haven't noticed but Oxon, Hants, and Warks scrapped too.
 
And a great deal of confusion as to whether these culls are working, c. 65, 000 so far 2013-2018. Farmers say they are reducing cattle TB, but Iain McGill and 14 other vets point out that cherry-picking the data, the numbers actually show an increase in cattle TB. Glos. in 2017 down 58 %, 2018 up 130 % !
 
No-one seems to have noticed , these figures given in the Godfray 2018 and four APHA reports, are actually a very clever optical delusion. The variable changes in cattle TB over the course of the cull are actually the effectiveness of annual cattle testing, so it is scientific fraud to claim that they are due to the badger cull. The full 4 year cull in Glos. + Somerset, ""seemed" to have halved cattle TB, 10.4 to 5.6, and 24 to 12.. but that was nothing to do with the cull of 3656 badgers, only c. 450 with TB, so perhaps two dozen "superexcretors" from 300 sq.km.
 
And the entire "Badger Perturbation "cull policy is based on another optical illusion. The first result in the Randomised Badger Culling Trial, was a 43 % rise in the 2 km wide buffer ring around proactive areas. So culls must be over a wide enough area that this "detrimental perturbation effect" is outweighed by the alleged "beneficial effect" inside cull areas . No-one seems to have noticed, but there was no cull in the buffer ring, the rise across all 30 trial areas was the tripled accumulation of reactors due to lack of testing during foot and mouth 2001. So embarrassingly, the ups and downs in cattle TB result from relaxing and tightening cattle controls. Absolutely nothing to do with the cull of a mere 1515 dead-end spillover TB badgers out of 11,000 from 1900 sq.km. The ISG 2007 report actually found no effect on unconfirmed breakdowns. And no difference between accumulated breakdowns in reactive cull versus no cull areas, 356 vs 358.
 
The only positive news on the TB front, as explained at the recent Aberystwyth "TB Summit" , is that ENFERPLEX is now OIE approved, along with IDEXX. And these together with ACTIPHAGE are the "magic "bullet for chronic TB herds, 60 in Wales currently.
 
1 https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/bovine-tb-controlling-the-risk-of-bovine-tb-from-badgers
 
2 https://www.farming.co.uk/news/apha-grants-access-to-new-highly-sensitivespecific-test-for-chronic-tb-breakdowns
 
3 WWW.BADGERSANDTB.COM
 
 
Sally
Badger cull in England extended to ‘unimaginable scale’
 
The controversial badger cull in England has been expanded to an “unimaginable scale”, according to a leading expert who warned the government is paying far too little attention to the transmission of tuberculosis between cattle when they are traded.
 
Ministers approved culling in 11 new areas on Wednesday, taking the total to 43. Up to 64,000 animals are likely to be killed this autumn, up from a maximum of 42,000 last year.
 
Full article at:
 
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/11/badger-cull-england-extended?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
 
Sally
Vets accuse ministers of 'barefaced lies'
 
A group of vets have accused Defra and its ministers of telling "barefaced lies" about the effectiveness of one of its badger culls.
 
The claim is contained in a letter from the group to the chief vet.
 
It asks her to ensure the department retracts "insupportable claims that its badger cull policy is working".
 
A spokesman for Defra said all statements had been "absolutely correct".
 
However, Dr Iain McGill, a veterinary surgeon and director of Prion Interest Group (a veterinary research group) told BBC News that claims by Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) that the badger cull in Somerset and Gloucestershire were working were not supported by scientific evidence.
 
"According to Defra's figures, they claim that they calculated that the incidence [of TB in cattle] has reduced.
 
"But their calculations are unclear and deliberately opaque. And, indeed, the current situation in the cull zone says there is an increased prevalence.
 
"So, either their figures were calculated on an extremely inaccurate basis and they've got it very badly wrong, or they have actually gerrymandered those figures to make it look as if the incidence is falling when the evidence clearly shows that the prevalence has gone up.
 
"Badger culling has not worked. They are issuing barefaced lies in this matter."
 
Chris Cheeseman is former head of Defra's wildlife epidemiology unit and advised the department on its TB strategy for more than 40 years. Now retired, he is able to speak freely about the badger cull policy.
 
"Defra has been cherry-picking the science since they started culling," he told BBC News. "The fact that they are rolling it out on such a vast scale is a travesty of the available science."
 
Dr McGill's group has also raised concerns that new research adds to evidence that a skin test widely used by the department to detect the presence of TB in cattle is much less effective than claimed.
 
On Defra's TB Hub, it is stated that effectiveness "lies between 52% and 100% with an average of about 80% sensitivity at standard interpretation".
 
But two new research papers indicate that the average effectiveness may be much lower, between 50% and 60% at best.
 
Full article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46150548
 
Sally
Vets accuse ministers of 'barefaced lies'
 
A group of vets have accused Defra and its ministers of telling "barefaced lies" about the effectiveness of one of its badger culls.
 
The claim is contained in a letter from the group to the chief vet.
 
It asks her to ensure the department retracts "insupportable claims that its badger cull policy is working".
 
A spokesman for Defra said all statements had been "absolutely correct".
 
However, Dr Iain McGill, a veterinary surgeon and director of Prion Interest Group (a veterinary research group) told BBC News that claims by Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) that the badger cull in Somerset and Gloucestershire were working were not supported by scientific evidence.
 
"According to Defra's figures, they claim that they calculated that the incidence [of TB in cattle] has reduced.
 
"But their calculations are unclear and deliberately opaque. And, indeed, the current situation in the cull zone says there is an increased prevalence.
 
"So, either their figures were calculated on an extremely inaccurate basis and they've got it very badly wrong, or they have actually gerrymandered those figures to make it look as if the incidence is falling when the evidence clearly shows that the prevalence has gone up.
 
"Badger culling has not worked. They are issuing barefaced lies in this matter."
 
Chris Cheeseman is former head of Defra's wildlife epidemiology unit and advised the department on its TB strategy for more than 40 years. Now retired, he is able to speak freely about the badger cull policy.
 
"Defra has been cherry-picking the science since they started culling," he told BBC News. "The fact that they are rolling it out on such a vast scale is a travesty of the available science."
 
Dr McGill's group has also raised concerns that new research adds to evidence that a skin test widely used by the department to detect the presence of TB in cattle is much less effective than claimed.
 
On Defra's TB Hub, it is stated that effectiveness "lies between 52% and 100% with an average of about 80% sensitivity at standard interpretation".
 
But two new research papers indicate that the average effectiveness may be much lower, between 50% and 60% at best.
 
Full article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46150548
 
Sally
Campaigners call for immediate halt of failing Welsh badger cull
 
Today, 29th July 2019, the Welsh Government published the results of their 2018 "badger removal operations", killing badgers on six farms with chronic TB breakdowns [1]. The total cost to the taxpayer last year was £395,802 to kill 26 badgers, only 11 confirmed at post mortem as having TB: a cost of £36,000 per infected badger. Each of the 59 farms in Wales identified as having a chronic TB breakdown has an action plan designed to tackle the disease. None of the farms where the action plan involved killing badgers has gone free of the disease, compared to 22 farms that have gone free of TB using cattle measures alone [2].
 
 
 
Over the first two years the Welsh Badger Cull has cost taxpayers £778,914 and killed 31 badgers, only just over a third (11) of which were confirmed as having TB at post mortem, despite testing positive for TB using a blood test described as "rubbish" by leading badger ecologist, Rosie Woodroffe [3].
 
 
 
The Animal & Plant Health Agency who have worked with the Welsh Government to carry out the "badger removal operations" admit that, since each of the six badger cull farms is subject to a combination of measures including badger interventions, they will be "unable to disentangle and detect any effects" of the cull "for a number of years" [1].
 
 
 
Simon Collie of campaign group "Stop the Welsh Cull" [4] called today for the policy to be immediately abandoned. "The failure of this policy was completely predictable. No independent badger ecologists believe that the policy will have a positive impact on bovine TB in cattle - the overwhelming scientific consensus is that it may make TB in cattle worse [5]. The Welsh Government have repeatedly rejected a more widespread cull like the ones run by DEFRA in England so they must immediately put a stop to the Welsh cull with its waste of money and lives. There is ample evidence that bovine TB in Wales can be successfully reduced in cattle with cattle measures alone. Blaming wildlife is a costly diversion."
 
 
 
 
 
[1] Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) report on the delivery of badger trap and test operations on chronic TB breakdown farms in Wales in 2018 (TBOG0135) https://gov.wales/bovine-tb-badger-trapping-and-testing-chronic-tb-breakdown-farms-2018
 
[2] FOI response https://gov.wales/atisn13191
 
[3] Tweet from Rosie Woodroffe of the Zoological Society of London https://twitter.com/RosieWoodroffe/status/1018223869210095617
 
[4] Stop the Welsh Cull campaign page https://www.facebook.com/stopwelshcull/
 
[5] "A restatement of the natural science evidence base relevant to the control of bovine tuberculosis in Great Britain" , Proceedingso f the Royal Society B, Godfray et al, http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/royprsb/280/1768/20131634.full.pdf
 
 
Sally
On 2nd July, the Court of Appeal heard the challenge to the decisions of Sir Ross Cranston in the High Court in July 2018 (Langton -v- The Secretary of State for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs and Natural England). The Court sat between 10.30am and 4.10pm, with much of the proceedings (the morning and part of the afternoon) televised and now available on Youtube:
 
Links https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cF4Qc7a8p3U and (pm) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwwNRwj0cMQ
 
Unfortunately the sound quality from parts of the room was not too good at times, but a summary can be read at https://thebadgercrowd.org/blog

 
Sally
https://thebadgercrowd.org/blog
 
Badger Culling – just 5 days to Court of Appeal Hearing
 
Next Tuesday July 2nd at last sees aspects of Supplementary Badger Culling and Habitat Regulations Assessment of badger culling under review by the Court of Appeal, nearly a year since the cases were first heard in the High Court. We are hopeful that further scrutiny will finally show the full merits of our arguments.
 
This time there are three Judges. There are parts of last year’s submissions to work through and new supporting submissions. So far the case is listed for one day but the exact timing, court number and judges are yet to be revealed.
 
The Hearing will be televised:
 
https://www.judiciary.uk/you-and-the-judiciary/going-to-court/court-of-appeal-home/the-court-of-appeal-civil-division-live-strea...
 
From submissions made by Defra and Natural England for these appeals, and from other exchanges of correspondence it is clear that the intention is to continue to increase badger culling this year and beyond. Yet despite monitoring the general trend in bTB in each cull area, senior government sources also confirm this week that there will be no absolute indication of whether badger culling is contributing to bTB control or not.
 
Sally
Badger Culling and Bovine TB in Cattle; A Re-evaluation of proactive culling benefit in the randomized badger culling trial
 
This damning report has been published in the Journal of Dairy and Veterinary Sciences in May 2019. Yet more evidence proving that badger culling is a waste of time, money and effort. The validity of the large scale badger culling, now rolled out to so many other counties in England, is, once again, being questioned.
 
https://juniperpublishers.com/jdvs/pdf/JDVS.MS.ID.555826.pdf
 
Sally
Update on Join the badger crowd; help stop unlawful culling (Part 2).
 
Hi everyone, I just wanted you to know if you are not already aware that we are back in the High Court in early July with Appeals of aspects of our 2018 cases against Supplementary Culling and a lack of protection of SSSIs against badger culling and potential Carnivore Release Effects.
 
We now face the horror of 40,000 badgers being slaughtered this autumn - more badgers than ever despite the cruel, useless, unscientific approaches being taken.
 
We had 'limited success' in our March Section 28 (SSSI protection) Judicial Review case and have applied to appeal that too. More news on that soon.
 
This week we have launched a new pre-action letter against the refusal of Defra to stop the supplementary culls.
 
I wanted to thank you again for all your past generous support and to let you know that Badger Crowd now has basic web-pages https://thebadgercrowd.org/ that you might care to browse.
 
We are planning to start up a new appeal on Crowd Justice in the not too distant future to help meet the costs of new actions in 2019 and will keep you all informed as this happens.
 
Sincere thanks again and I hope that we can fight together again this year to bring at long last:
 
#justiceforbadgers
 
With very best wishes, Tom + the Badger Crowd.
 
 
Sally
 
SHOCK NEWS : BADGERS HAVE NEVER ACTUALLY BEEN THE CAUSE OF THE SPREAD OF CATTLE TB ; SO THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO POINT IN CULLING THEM !!
NEW LIGHT ON TB ( BOVINE TB NEW TESTS )
 
A surprising update on the badger/ bovine TB Problem. Pity we have traditional "civil wars" every year in Englands green and pleasant land, between badger cull shooters and protestors such as Jay Tiernan of "stopthecull". Extra policing last year in the 32,000 badger cull ran to c. £3 million.
 
The irony in all this is that badgers have never actually been "The cause of the spread of cattle TB". No-one in 50 years has explained how badgers might realistically give cows a respiratory lung bronchopneumonia. And eight major badger-cattle contact studies found that badgers avoid cattle at pasture, in farmyards and in barns. Only 4 "contacts" within 1.5 m sneezing distance in over a million contacts. So it just isn't happening !
 
This Alice in Wonderland 50 year old debate is all based on one costly mistake. Since TB is a progressive lung disease , there have always been two types of reactors and 2 types of herd breakdowns :- newly infected cases with No Visible lung Lesions are hence "Unconfirmed" , and later cases with Confirmed Visible lesions. Vets have wrongly assumed that these NVL cases are "perfectly healthy" and don't have TB. But all these unconfirmed breakdowns supposedly "due to badgers" are actually embarrassingly simply new unconfirmed cases from the last breakdown.
There has never actually been any self-sustaining reservoir of badger TB generating new breakdowns. The few and only TB badgers have actually just caught TB from cows , just 1515 out of 11,000 culled from 1900 sq.km. in the RBCT.
 
Badgers are not the cause of persistent TB in chronic herds either. Only 7 TB badgers out of 37 sampled from 3 farms in Wales in 2017, cost £360,000. Every week reveals some new farmer under restriction 5-20 years. Andrew Dutton Thurwaston , Derbyshire the latest. The very simple quick answer for chronic herds is two new test, IDEXX and Actiphage. Why aren't DEFRA and vets pointing this out ?
 
Hopefully Tony Juniper new head of Natural England (from 23rd April) , will refuse to licence any further utterly pointless badger culls ! Since culls don't work they must be unlawfull under the badgers act 1992.
sincerely,
 
martin hancox, ex government TB Panel
 
 
Bovine TB test wins royal recognition - Veterinary News - VetSurgeon - VetSurgeon.org
 
https://www.vetsurgeon.org/news/b/veterinary-news/archive/2019/04/17/bovine-tb-test-wins-royal-recognition.aspx?fbclid=IwAR0OgRI...
Bovine TB test wins royal recognition - Veterinary News - VetSurgeon - VetSurgeon.org
www.vetsurgeon.org
 
Sally
www.devonlive.com/news/this-badger-cull-wrong-say-2713092
 
 
Sally
BOVINE TB :- NEW EVIDENCE FROM CUMBRIA
 
 
Badgers have been blamed as "the main cause of the spread of Cattle TB for nearly 50 years". So a new generation of farmers, vets, and even veterinary epidemiologist "experts", will be surprised to re-discover that bovines ie. cattle have actually been the "cause of the spread of cattle TB" all along. A two step process: prolonged close aerosol "contact" in shared air spaces, such as barns generates c. 3 new case / breakdown , then dispersal of these by local cattle movements, to cause a scatter of new herd breakdowns, c. 20 million cattle movements / a.
 
So, this "new light" on the spread of Cattle TB was re-discovered in the consultation on badger cull licensing in Low Risk and Edge areas a year ago (1, 2). All new cattle herd breakdowns are clearly bought-in cases from the HRA, missed by the annual and pre/post-movement tests. And the concern was that a new self-sustaining reservoir of a badger TB hotspot might be created . However, only 1 out of 22 potential "badger" hotspots were found 2004-2017, in Cumbria.
 
The latest report on the Cumbria LRA shows very clearly that , the entirely new index case was a bull newly imported in 2014 with Irish DNA Spoligotype, 17:z. There were 35 breakdown herds with this DNA type, in 2018, which can only have arisen by local cattle movements. And out of the 602 badgers culled, there were only 40 TB badgers out of the 363 fully autopsied. These arose as a dead-end spillover host with this spoligotype, scattered across the cull/ study area :-
20.9 % infected from the core "Minimum Affected Area", and only 1.7 % in the bigger overall outside ring "Intervention Area". Clearly there was no new Woodchester Park like self-sustaining reservoir in the badger population.. but just 1-2 TB badgers found at the epicentre of bad herd breakdowns, as found as long ago in the 1980s "Clean Ring " culls.
 
Badger culling policy is based on Godfray's flawed "RBCT Perturbation Model" (3, 4, 5, 6, 7). The first result in the Randomised Badger Culling Trial, was an unexpected rise in cattle TB in the 2 km wide buffer ring surrounding proactive cull areas, which was supposedly due to wider movements by badgers perturbed by the cull. No-one has noticed, but there actually was no cull out there, and in fact this rise happened in all 30 trial areas and 30 buffer rings, and was simply the threefold jump in accumulated reactors arising from the suspension of cattle testing during foot and mouth 2001. The halving of cattle TB, actually in all 60 areas , was simply 5-7 years of intensive cattle testing. So these changes in cattle TB had absolutely nothing to do with culling a mere 1515 dead-end spillover TB badgers out of 11, 000 culled from 1900 sq.km. So the Perturbation cull model in England, Wales, Eire and Ulster is pure fantasy pseudoscience. As is the idea of ring or edge vaccination (6).
 
So badgers cannot be spreading TB , a respiratory bronchopneumonia, but are collateral damage, and a Miners canary indicator of cattle TB spread. So it is utterly meaningless to cull or vaccinate them .. and since they are not the cause of the spread of cattle TB, any cull licences must be by definition unlawful under the 1992 Badgers. A very disappointing outcome of the recent Court case (PDF, 4, 8 ), culls deemed unlawful, in not taking adequate account of culls on protected sites. But cull licences not revoked, so the badger trust may launch another appeal on the basis of this new information. Hopefully Tony Juniper as the new boss of Natural England from 23rd April, will refuse to licence any further costly pointless badger cull or vaccination schemes
 
sincerely, Martin Hancox ex-government TB Panel
 
REFERENCES
1 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bovine-tb-surveillance-in-wildlife-in-england/tb-surveillance-in-badgers-during-year-...
2 Cattle Contact Networks are the cause of the spread of cattle TB, 20 million cattle movements / a
https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rsos.180719
3 https://theecologist.org/2019/mar/25/fate-badger R. Meyer
4 https://www.brockbase.com/2300/RBCT-conflicts
5 https://theecologist.org/2018/dec/04/bovine-tb-black-and-whitewash T. Langton
6 https://www.zsl.org/blogs/science/what-does-the-godfray-review-mean-for-badgers R. Woodroffe
7 Hancox M , www.badgersandtb.com and flawed Godfray Report
 
https://juniperpublishers.com/jdvs/pdf/JDVS.MS.ID.555748.pdf
 
8 http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2018/2190.html Court case
 
 
Sally
SHOOT THE BADGERS? PITY THE BIRDS AND BUTTERFLIES TOO.
 
NATURAL ENGLAND FOUND BY HIGH COURT TO HAVE OVERLOOKED RISKS TO
OTHER ANIMALS FROM BADGER CULLING.
 
HIGH COURT AGREES THAT NATURAL ENGLAND FAILED TO PROPERLY PROTECT SPECIAL WILDLIFE SITES AND THEIR INHABITANTS WHEN ISSUING BADGER
CULLING PERMISSIONS, YET STILL FAILS TO ORDER THE SCRAPPING OF AFFECTED LICENCES.
 
There is mounting public scepticism over the science and justifications behind mass culling of badgers in England, which has increased steadily since 2013 as a part of the Government’s attempt to control the livestock disease bovine tuberculosis.
 
Few are aware of the possibility that far more subtle and insidious knock-on effects are playing out across our countryside as a result of depletion of this top carnivore from the landscape, and as a consequence of bouts of focused shooting, digging and trapping around badger setts to be found in
sensitive habitats and locations.
 
Natural England, the statutory adviser to the Government on wildlife matters, issues licences for badger culling for DEFRA. Before granting licences they are required, under duties laid down by the Wildlife and Countryside Act, to consider the possible side-effects of badger culling on other wildlife, most particularly in and around nature reserves and specially protected sites such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).
 
In a High Court action brought by ecologist Tom Langton on behalf of The Badger Crowd and others, Natural England’s conduct was examined over a two day judicial review hearing at the start of this month. Judgement was received in the last few days.
 
 
 
The judge agreed that Natural England had failed to consider effects on important species in a number of the SSSIs it had considered – in other words a failure to properly exercise its statutory duty. In an additional number of cases, Natural England had already conceded that it had made
errors and had moved to try and correct them in the months and weeks running up to the case being heard in the High Court. In a substantial proportion of further cases, Natural England offered no defence beyond claiming that any omissions were rendered academic as a result of ‘standard’
conditions on the licences, which they argued would afford accidental protection to the special plants and animals they had otherwise failed to consider.
Because the number of Natural England’s assessments considered by the judge was only a sample of those at issue, the judgment leaves it unclear how many additional SSSIs have been affected by the statutory agency’s failures to undertake proper assessments. The full scale of short and long term
ecological implications are simply not known. Despite this, and notwithstanding his declaration that Mr Langton had achieved some success in the claim, the judge refused to order the revocation of any of the culling licences affected by the flaws he agreed had been made. An appeal against that
decision is in progress.
 
If permission to appeal is granted, it stands to be heard with another part of the case brought in 2018 which is already proceeding to the Court of Appeal. The judgment in that case found that Natural England had presided over similar failures to fully exercise its responsibilities under the
European Habitats Directive, but it similarly failed to lead to any licences being quashed. A dismissed challenge against ‘supplementary’ badger culling policy will be heard at the same time.
 
Press Release from Badger Trust 20 March 2019
 
Sally
Is the badger really public enemy number one?
By Polly Pullar - 15th March 2019
 
Interesting article (Scotland is BT free and has badgers) at:
https://www.scottishfield.co.uk/outdoors/wildlifeandconservation/is-the-badger-really-public-enemy-number-one/?fbclid=IwAR0cGZP0...
 
Sally
BROCK IN THE DOCK : BADGER POLITICS BOVINE TB POLICY UPDATE
 
Dear Sir Ross Cranston,
 
I suspect that the 2 days proceedings, will have not fully exposed the absurdity of badger culls , as explained below .
 
best regards, martin hancox, ex-government TB Panel
 
BADGER POLITICS BOVINE TB POLICY UPDATE
 
 
Recent "progress" on badgers and bovine TB : - 4 steps forward, and 3 1/2 backwards or sideways ! At the recent NFU Conference, Michael Gove, reiterated the Godfray claim that badger culls will reduce cattle TB by 15 %. No doubt government response to Godfray will shortly reaffirm. But badger cull perturbation increasing TB is actually pure fantasy , so is a clever optical delusion and pseudo-scientific fraud !
 
 
 
George Eustice and Christine Middlemiss also still claiming the full 4 year Pilot culls in Glos & Somerset, halved TB. But that's is simply daft, just 3565 badgers removed, perhaps 400 with TB, but only a dozen superexcretors, from c. 300 sq.km.
 
Eustice resigned from government, mostly over Brexit, and uncertainty over grants . It'll be most interesting to see if replacement minister will be any less pink specs tunnel visioned.
 
 
 
Neil Parish and the EFRA Committee asked Tony Juniper , probable new head of Natural England if he would continue with culls. Whilst preferring wildlife trust vaccination policy, he said he would implement licencing culls if so instructed by Gove. However a check on the "science" needed. Unfortunately he will be given the Godfray nonsense, so back to square one.
 
 
 
And lastly, 28th Feb, and 1st March saw Crowdjustice/ Badger Trust appeal in the high court. Challenging adequacy of natural England monitoring of cull impacts of protected habitats. If there is any justice, in all this Judge Sir Ross Cranston , ought to rule that licencing badger culls under the Badgers Act 1992, must clearly be unlawful, because neither culls or vaccination schemes will ever work. Because rather embarassingly, badgers have never actually been the cause of the spread of CATTLE TB in the first place. No-one has ever explained how badgers might give cows a respiratory lung disease , so all the scatter of new unconfirmed breakdowns supposedly "due to badgers" are actually simply new unconfirmed reactors from the last herd breakdown. Nothing to do with badgers whatsoever !
 
 
sincerely, Martin Hancox , ex-govt.TB Panel
www.badgersandtb.com
 
Sally
Badger protection, badger culling and the law. Worrying times. By Tom Langton
 
Badgers are social animals and watching them quietly in gardens or from a hide is a delight. Just like cats and dogs, their playful rough and tumble behavior as cubs and adults is just one part of their complex social organization. Although nocturnal in habit, by day they often live in close-knit social groups underground in setts.
 
Badgers were protected from cruel persecution for gambling and with dogs by the 1973 Badgers Act and this was strengthened in 1992. As a result of legal protection, studies suggest that badgers have steadily recovered since their local extermination in parts of the country in past centuries, and may now be returning to more natural levels.
 
However, few would have foreseen the calamity that has taken place in England in recent years,starting with government studies in 2007 using mathematical modelling of field trials. These suggest that badgers pass bovine TB back to cattle at levels that can be reduced by badger culling.
 
Sadly badgers are infected from bovine tuberculosis (bTB or cattle TB) when eating earthworms infected with bTB bacteria from cow pats or spread slurry. In the near eradication of the disease in the 1960’s, infected badgers did not spread bTB back to cattle in places that it had been removed from, suggesting that the badger-to-cattle pathway is relatively rare or even non-existent.
 
The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 however allows badgers to be removed to stop disease spreading, and a government policy in 2011 was forced through. All at a time when prevailing academic opinion was that it could not make any meaningful contribution to bTB reduction. A small number of powerful government employed and funded vets and intensive livestock representatives pushed the policy forwards, with major charities not strong enough to stand up to them.
 
Culling began in Somerset and Gloucestershire in 2013 and spread to Dorset in 2015, then to Devon, Cornwall, Wiltshire and Herefordshire. Since then, Staffordshire, Shropshire and Cumbria have been added. This year, culling is threatened in Avon, Berkshire, Derbyshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Sussex and further into East England. Some think the government aim is to reduce badger numbers everywhere to delay their final recovery. In England, so far since 2013 over 67,000 badgers have been shot in cage traps or at night in the open using some methods the British Veterinary Association say are inhumane.
 
Studies of culling since 2013 in Gloucestershire and Somerset have led to claims by Ministers that culling is working, but close inspection shows this to be doubtful. In fact in 2018 in Gloucestershire, new incidents of bTB doubled. In truth the situation is muddled and not set up to be reliably monitored. It is a shambles and mess that one senior government expert described as ‘an epic fail’.
 
A government review in 2018 indicated that unless farmers improve testing and biosecurity the contribution of other measures is unlikely to be enough. In other words, the badgers killed over the last five years may have all died in vain because the main cause of disease is not being properly addressed.
 
Beyond the shocking and sad cruelty of the culling, with wounded badgers running off to die at length and in pain in their setts, are wider effects on the ecosystems that are disrupted by upsetting predator balances. Legal challenges have resulted in acceptance of the problem and a further case
 
will go to court this February. Further challenges to culling methods and issuing of licences are
 
underway. At time of writing, five High Court actions aiming for Judicial Review are live, managed by a large team of volunteer ecologists, disease experts and fundraisers.
 
All this shows that we need to work harder to ensure that laws passed to protect our wild animals are not abused on flimsy evidence by small vested interests.
 
If you would like to support people who are trying to help badgers and their wild communities,please go to the Just Giving crowd fund pages. You can find the Badger Crowd appeal being run by
 
Badger Trust Sussex by putting New Call to Action against Badger Culling in the search box or following the Link: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/badgertrust-sussex-NewCalltoAction
 
Sally
High Court Rules Against Natural England As Failed Badger Culling
Approaches New Legal Test.
 
A ruling against Natural England this week means that vital evidence will now be put in front
of a High Court Judicial Review Hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice London on Thursday
28th February/Friday 1st March, in under two weeks-time.
 
At a hearing this week, an attempt by government agency Natural England to prevent
submission to the court of a witness statement for the claimant from ecological impact
expert Dominic Woodfield was overturned. It details omissions in Natural England’s
assessments of ‘collateral damage’ to precious sites & species.
 
Legal cases addressing the risk of damage to rare and protected species and nature reserves
from badger culling activities have been brought by ecologist Tom Langton, supported by a
coalition of Badger protection organisations, wildlife charities and members of the public.
The claim is that Natural England’s issue of culling licences is unlawful due to inadequate
checks and procedures since the badger culls began in 2013. The claims surround
controversial permissions for the killing 67,000 badgers so far across the West of England,
with fears that up to a further 40,000 badgers could be condemned to die this year.
 
The boost for litigation against the issuing of badger cull licenses comes at a time when an
application is pending on two related cases from 2018 at the Court of Appeal. Two further
challenges against badger culling in Cumbria and across the rest of England are in their early
stages and further challenges are possible in 2019. The decision coincides with at a time
when the government, farmers and vets are confronted by increasing bovine tuberculosis
(bTB) in the first pilot badger cull area in Gloucestershire, where figures for 2018 indicate a
53% increase in breakdowns, starkly illustrating the failure of Defra’s 2011 Policy.
 
This is in line with expert warnings that continuing to cull badgers there could be counter-
productive and hence effectively illegal as it is not capable of preventing the spread of
disease as required by the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.
 
#Justice for badgers
 
https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/badgertrust-sussex-NewCalltoAction
 
 
Sally
Godfray Review, Bovine TB, Perturbed Badgers or Problem Herds.
 
https://juniperpublishers.com/jdvs/pdf/JDVS.MS.ID.555748.pdf
 
Sally
Another thought provoking Ecologist article.
 
https://theecologist.org/2018/dec/04/bovine-tb-black-and-whitewash
 
Sally
New research suggests that Defra's decision to interfere with badger cull licensing could be unlawful.
 
Thought provoking article at https://theecologist.org/2018/nov/23/badger-culls-could-be-unlawful
 
Sally
In a recent independent review commissioned by the government found it (not surprisingly) found that culls made only a modest contribution to reducing TB in cattle. The review called for more curbs on cattle trading and better biosecurity on farms.
 
New analysis of the latest government data shows the number of herds hit by bovine TB in the west Gloucestershire cull zone increased by 29% this year, suggesting efforts to control the disease in one of the original cull zones may be failing. It is common sense, to those who have been following this fiasco for many years, THE BADGER IS BEING USED AS A SCAPEGOAT. Will this species follow the many others that the human species have virtually wiped out?
 
More info at: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/nov/17/badger-patrol-cattle-bovine-tb-gloucestershire?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
 

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