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Audit Reports and Costs to the Taxpayer

 Added by  Sally
 21 Aug 2010, 8:02 PM

The Northern Ireland Audit Office 'The Control of Bovine Tuberculosis in Northern Ireland' dated 18th March 2009, makes interesting reading www.niauditoffice.gov.uk/pubs/bovine/Bovine_Final.pdf.
On page 74 under Conclusions and Recommendations
On the cost of compensation
5.28 The annual cost of compensation rose steadily from the mid-1990s and, while peaking at over £16 million in 2002-03, remains very substantial, at some three times the 1995 level.
In total, some £86 million compensation has been paid in the 10 years to March 2006. Despite concerns expressed within the Department that a change in compensation rate, from 75% to 100% of market value, would make having a reactor more desirable and increase the temptation to ‘invent’ or import reactors, the higher rate was introduced in 1998. It is notable that the move to 100% compensation coincided with a substantial increase in the number of reactors. We note the Department’s comments that there are many factors which could cause a rise in bTB incidence; the change in compensation levels at this time may or may not have been a contributing factor.

As The Guardian reported, vaccination costs £82 per badger, compared to £6,800 per culled animal. But still, the government carries on regardless. And meanwhile, the cost to the public purse increases; so far, the badger cull has come with a £16.5m price tag.

Figures published by the government have revealed that in 2016 and this year the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) paid almost £500,000 to Airwave, the company that provides the police and other emergency services with communications equipment. Airwave equipment is considered by police to be the most effective network because mobile reception can be unreliable in the sort of remote areas where much of the culling takes place.
We believe the badger is the scapegoat. Why waste money on killing badgers when, with the necessary political will, cattle can be vaccinated. Almost 15,000 badgers have been killed since the first culling took place in Gloucestershire and Somerset in 2013. This year, protesters believe the cull will extend east to Wiltshire and north to Cheshire and a further 20,000 badgers killed.
Extracted from Martin Hancox letter of 30/4/15. He was on government Badger TB Consultative Panel.
Although farmers and vets are still absolutely certain that "Badgers are the main cause of the spread of TB", so more culls are essential post May 7th; this is a spectacularly wrong misunderstanding of how TB is actually transmitted and spread within the cattle population, and there are two reasons why the actual badger contribution to cattle TB is probably Zero !
There are far too few super-excretor badgers which might be a risk to other badgers or cattle "out there". The 2 recent Pilot culls came to 2494 badgers, so translating from the RBCT/Krebs cull data , perhaps c. 400 with TB, but only 1.65 % superinfectious ones ie. just 7 TB badgers from c. 300 sq.km. A cost of c. £15 million , including some £ 3 million disgracefully wasted on extra policing to protect shooters from protestors or vice versa. And if a typical herd breakdown costs c. £30,000, that is a mere £210,000 possibly saved if they actually improbably did cause herd TB, hardly a rational cost-effective policy.
So Environment Secretary, Liz Truss, gave out false information - the cost per badger was actually: £5,200 PER BADGER (COST 2013 PILOT CULLS)
BBC Points West: www.dailymotion.com/video/x2aahj8_bbc1-points-west-14nov14_animals
BBC Radio Sussex: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02bkt8h
Scroll to 1 hour 12 mins to listen back
Daily Mail: www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-2834695/Cull-cost-5-200-badger.html
Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/nov/14/badger-cull-cost-over-3000-for-each-animal-killed
BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-30058872?post_id=100003038987658_653361671441793#_=_
Farmers Weekly
Leaked Badger Cull Costs Miss £3.5million Police Price Tag
Leaked figures from Defra published today have revealed the cost of the 2013 badger cull – but missed out £3.5 million spent on policing the operation.
The front page of Daily Telegraph today says that each badger killed during last year’s cull cost £3000, with 1,879 badgers being killed at the cost of £6.3 million.
However, a glaring omission from the figures is the £3.5m cost of policing the cull. When this is added on, the cost per badger is actually £5,200.
Dominic Dyer, CEO of Badger Trust and Policy Advisor Care for the Wild, said: “If every badger killed last year cost the taxpayer £3000, that would be a horrendous waste of money on a policy that leading scientists say won’t work. But the reality is that every badger killed actually cost £5,200 – and that is simply beyond belief.
“The government claim they have to do something as bovine TB costs the country a lot of money, and they say that ‘doing nothing is not an option’. But just over the border in Wales, they have looked at the problem, thoroughly tested their cattle so they really understand how many actually have the illness, and brought in more frequent testing and better movement controls. By doing that, they have brought down the number of cattle slaughtered for bTB by 48% in five years. Wales has a policy that is far from doing nothing, and is actually working. England has a policy that is inhumane, unscientific and is throwing money down the drain.”
The cost of policing was included in Defra’s cost/benefit analysis prior to the 2013 cull, so should clearly be included in the cost of the cull. Defra had to pay for the policing costs, charged to them from the Home Office, so the true cost of the cull is much higher than has been reported.
There are about 8,000 cases of TB diagnosed in the UK per year, which costs the National Health Service about £40 million per year to treat.
Of those 8,000, only twenty or so are caused by Mycobacterium bovis, the rest are caused by the human pathogen, Mycobacterium tuberculosis [1].
£40m divided by 8,000 = £5,000 per patient.
Therefore, £5,000 multiplied by 20 = £100,000 to treat people suffering from TB caused by M.bovis per year (and most of these cases are elderly people who consumed unpasteurised milk as children).
The latest estimates suggest that the first year of the badger cull cost £7.29million (excluding £60,000 for the IEP report, administration, AHVLA costs and other government figures which have yet to be disclosed)... [2]
That would treat those affected by Bovine TB for the next 72 years...
Farms are generally paid £34,000 on average for each breakdown, so year one of culling could also have compensated for over 214 breakdowns...
And investment for cattle vaccination research is approximately £4.9million per year... [3] Slightly over half of the cost of one year of a small-scale cull...
This is why every trial to date has been deemed unsustainable... For the possible, marginal benefits a cull may produce, the costs are completely out of proportion...
[1] http://www.polygeia.com/paul-torgerson-talks-to-polygeia/
[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26369306
[3] https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/reducing-bovine-tuberculosis/supporting-pages/vaccines-against-tb
Source: www.facebook.com/TbFreeEngland
The number of cattle slaughtered in Great Britain as a result of bovine TB in the 12 months to March has fallen to its lowest level since 2007-08, according to the Western Daily Press so badger culling is surely a waste of money?
This represents a fall of almost 5,500 from the same period last year, but is broadly similar for the three years prior to that.
March figures are traditionally among the lowest of the year, with a large proportion of animals having been overwintered indoors, away from potential sources of TB in wildlife.
Even so, the lowest boundary of the bovine TB figures for the past 12 months - updated by Defra this month - show the proportion of tests on bTB-free herds after which bTB-free status was withdrawn to be at its lowest since 2007. At the highest boundary, they are still only a shade above last year’s, which were previously the lowest since 2007.
The number of new herd incidents during the period January to March 2014 was 1,404 compared to 1,386 for January to March 2013. The number of tests on officially TB free herds was 24,421 during January to March 2014, compared to 22,919 during January to March 2013.
 The number of cattle compulsorily slaughtered as reactors or direct contacts was 8,823 during January to March 2014, compared to 9,277 during January to March 2013.
Info from: /www.westerndailypress.co.uk/Bovine-TB-figures-continue-fall-England/story-21217856-detail/story.html#ixzz34M1OY3T7
Employees of the company that ran last year's badger cull in Somerset directed the deployment of police officers against protesters, according to a police investigation.
Policing the culls cost millions of pounds and the report, seen by the Guardian, shows that half the personnel in the police's night-time control centre were either from HNV Associates Ltd or the National Farmer's Union (NFU).
The cost of policing badger culls in 2013 was at least £2.6m, more than double initial estimates, according to police sources. Ministers argue that badger culling is a vital part of the battle against bovine TB but many scientists and campaigners condemn the badger cull as a waste of time and money. They argue that stricter controls on cattle movements, better TB testing and vaccination are the only way to control the disease. In Wales, where badger culling was rejected in favour of alternatives, TB in cattle is falling.
Gloucester officers were quizzed about the cull, which cost the constabulary some £2.3 million. Chief constable (CC) Suzette Davenport, together with Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Richard Berry, Superintendent (SI) Jim McCarthy, Inspector Mark Ravenscroft and Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Steve Bean were questioned about incidents and various complaints throughout the weeks of the cull.
The final amount was many times above the original cost anticipated by the force, although the money would be reimbursed by the Government by June, according to Mr Surl.
CC Davenport said the original amount was announced months before the actual cull, and the extension had cost the police more as well.
In total, officers worked 89 days on full-time operations with many having to give up rest days and working overtime.
During the planned eight-week extension, police officers were essentially on 24-hour patrols. Free shooting and cage trapping meant they had to prevent damage to traps while keeping the peace in the countryside, putting a huge strain on resources.
She added: “We have taken about 18 months to two years to plan for the six weeks cull, and there were various issues to take care of.
“We planned for six weeks and the when the cull was extended, the costs increased as well.”
Mr Surl, who had previously spoken out against the Government’s plan for an extension, said it interfered with the police’s daily work.
ACC Berry, the gold commander, told the chamber it had been “one of the largest deployment” of police officers ever.
It was also revealed there were 150 stop and searches during the cull period, something which Mr Surl said caused “quite a lot of dissatisfaction”, especially with people stopped more than twice on the same night.
Mr Surl said the extension and cull must have placed a huge strain on police officers. CC Davenport said although there was no increase in crime, it had become taxing for her officers.
“Ideally what some these people wanted was for us to intervene, but sometimes it was not a criminal situation,” she said.
“In terms of the impact on the people, there was certainly an impact, during the impact, on my staff.
“After the cull was extended, officers had to work rest days and over time, and they became tired. Not just from working those hours, but also from the angst and aggravation of these events.”
ACC Berry said they were “surprised” when they were told on October 23 the cull would be extended another eight weeks, longer than the original window.
It would have taken it well into winter. There were five briefings each day for officers taking part in the patrols, which lasted all day and night.
Free shooting and cage trapping weighed down the officers, according to SI McCarthy, because they had to keep protesters safe while ensuring operators’ traps were not sabotaged.
Mr Surl accused the NFU and Defra of giving people “false hope” that the cull was going as planned.
He added that there were lessons to be learned from this year’s cull as officers prepare for this year’s operation.
Read more: http://www.gloucestershireecho.co.uk/Gloucestershire-Police-refused-supply-Government/story-21087059-detail/story.html#ixzz31mZ4...
Biocensus Opinion: Badger cull maths, stats and management - an extremely interesting and useful appraisal of the badger cull which is well worth reading and clearly reveals just what a waste of money badger culling is.
"... in summary, the current policy has meant that the government has spent £7,290,000 (£5,800,000 of which was public money) pursuing a policy that could quite possibly make things worse. And the farmers who were conned into joining in have quite likely lost £1,490,000 of their own money.
In its starkest form using Defra’s own figures and the best case scenario, it has cost £12,857/km² to save £714/km²."
The piece can be read in full at: http://www.biocensus.co.uk/2013-09-04-11-08-23/blog/entry/biocensus-opinion-badger-cull-maths-stats-and-management
More taxpayers' money being spent by the Government (http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&ProjectID=18287&FromSearch=Y&Publisher=1&SearchText=badger%20&SortString=ProjectCode&SortOrder=Asc&Paging=10#Description):
Developing a surveillance system to report TB in cattle herds exposed to badger control in England - SE3131
The aim of this project is to monitor bovine tuberculosis (bTB) incidence in cattle herds located within and just outside areas where badger control licenses will be issued (intervention areas) and compare to that of herds located within matched ‘comparison areas’, plus regional/national trends. As far as is possible within the design of the badger control policy, the purpose is to: a) monitor the effect of the intervention on bovine tuberculosis and b) identify important changes that could affect the badger control policy as early as possible. Given the pre-determined design of the control policy, this project will act as a surveillance activity rather than being hypothesis-driven research.
In the first year, badger control licenses will be granted by Natural England (NE) to two pilot areas, with up to ten further areas licensed in each of the following three years. As each new area is selected, NE will share boundary location data, enabling us to identify herds located in each intervention area and its 2km ‘buffer’ region.
We will first establish historical (three-years preceding intervention) bTB frequency measures in herds located within intervention areas so that changes over time can be assessed. Several bTB frequency measures will be analysed: e.g. number of new herd breakdowns per 100 herds tested, proportion of herds under movement restrictions due to a bTB breakdown etc.
Secondly, as bTB incidence may change over time for reasons unrelated to intervention, areas without intervention will be selected as comparison areas. Comparison areas most similar to intervention areas in features such as historical bTB incidence, cattle demography and geographical location will be selected. This is to reduce the risk that differences in incidence between intervention and comparison areas are due to factors other than badger control. However, it will not be possible to completely remove this risk or that of random variation and therefore cautious interpretation of study results will be required. Once comparison areas have been selected, reports will be compiled for each intervention: comparison couplet describing their historical bTB incidence and other features (e.g. cattle herd demography) that may influence the interpretation of future results.
Six-monthly and annual monitoring reports will examine different measures of bTB in cattle herds through simple descriptive statistics and graphs and more in-depth analyses where the effects of some factors (other than badger control) that could cause a difference between intervention and comparison areas, are adjusted for using regression techniques.
Any observable change in incidence resulting from the badger cull is likely to occur slowly over time and effects may not be observed in the early years of the study. However the effect of culling is anticipated to increase over time therefore the surveillance methods developed herein should be used for longer term monitoring.
Workpackage A – Couplet identification and characterisation
1. Develop a project protocol document
2. Establish baseline disease frequency data for cattle located in intervention areas
3. Identify areas with no badger control measures to serve as comparison areas to those with the intervention.
Workpackage B – Monitoring bTB incidence in cattle herds
1. Monitor measures of bTB incidence in cattle herds located in intervention areas relative to those in comparison areas.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2013
To: 2018
Cost: £474,358
Contractor / Funded Organisations
A H V L A (Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency - AHVLA)
Police costs now conformed for the two trial areas and are DOUBLE the original estimates. What a waste of money - especially as funding is being cut from so many other areas ....
Martin Surl, Gloucestershire's Police and Crime Commissioner says it cost £1.7 million to police the cull in Glos over the seven week period, or £1,800 pounds per badger for the policing costs alone.
He says the cost will be recharged to central government.
In Somerset the policing costs were £739,000 .
Extracted from a report by Dominic Dyer who is policy advisor with Care for the Wild International. (www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=639438119448011&id=194661603925667)
Then we come to the staggering costs of the badgers culls which Mr Paterson has done all he can to hide from MPs and the public.
If we take account of policing costs, Government trap teams and equipment, Whitehall staff costs in Defra, Natural England and Food and Environment Research Agency and badger sett monitoring and data collection, it is estimated that the total costs of both cull pilots is around £7.3 million.
If we divide this figure by the total number of badgers killed (1,771) we are looking at a cost per badger of £4,121.
If the culls are to be extended as Mr Paterson plans for a further 3 years we can add a further £12 million to the costs giving a total figure of £19.3 million for four years of badger culling in West Somerset and West Gloucestershire.
This figure is all the more worrying, when you consider based on DEFRA estimates that even if the cull pilots were 100% successful and reduced the increase in the spread of bovine TB by 16% over nine years, this would only deliver a knock on benefit of £2.5 million to the tax payer.
So based on current projections the costs of the badger culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire outweigh the benefits by over seven times.
According to the Mail Online the recent two 'disastrous' trial badger culls in Glos and Somerset have costs a massive £7.3MILLION... with taxpayers picking up £5.8million of the bill ... £4,100 for each animal killed – almost double previous estimates.
It also reveals that continuing the cull for three years would eventually cost £19million
The figures were derived from answers to parliamentary questions, statistics from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Freedom of Information requests.
The cost to farmers who paid for the actual culling itself was calculated at £1.49 million.
The policing bill was put at £2.66 million, made up of costs for manpower, transport, equipment and accommodation.
A further £3.17 million was attributed to costs at environment quango Natural England, the Food and Environment Research Agency and Defra, and included trapping, monitoring and data collection.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2533820/Disastrous-badger-cull-cost-7-3M-taxpayers-picking-5-8m-bill.html#ixzz2pbzuubo6
MORE COST TO THE TAXPAYER as EXTRA officers have been deployed as part of Operation Themis after reports of cages being stolen and tracking devices being attached to contractor vehicles in the cull zone:
www.stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk/news/10825921.Reports_of_cages_stolen_and_tracking_devices_being_attached_to_ vehicles_in_badger_ cull_zone/?dm_i=1NFN,204MT,906LDO,77G7Y,1
Watching the video at http://reelnews.co.uk/badger-cull-exposed-as-a-cruel-and-pointless-fiasco/ one wonders how the enormous and unprecedented police presence can be justified. It would seem that officers have been brought into the two trial cull areas from as many as five different police areas and it would seem they are patrolling in large numbers for the entire extent of the cull. The costs are bound to be very high and how can they be justified?
'Extended cull will come at a cost' is the title of the article in the 'Western Daily Press' reporting the comments of the Glos police and crime commissioner, Martin Surl, on Monday. Whilst making it clear regarding impartiality he does say the following about extending the cull:
'Imagine if you were playing for England in that crucial World Cup qualifier and just after you scored the second goal the referee said "we'll play another hour and a half to give Poland more chance?" There would be outrage in the stadium and the players would be out on their feet.'
'Is the principle of extending the cull by eight weeks so very different? After all, it is longer than the original pilot. And if another eight weeks are necessary in Gloucestershire, why do they need so much less time in Somerset? This was a pilot which Natural England said would run over four years. Would it not have been wiser to go away, analyse what worked and what didn't and make the necessary adjustments next year in the second phase?'
'Now the cull in Gloucestershire will extend to the week before Christmas and although my Chief Constable tries to assure me it will not affect normal policing in the county, there will be implications on the budget.
The Home Office says it will reimburse any extra costs incurred by the cull but the money will still come from the taxpayer one way or another. Was it expecting too much for Natural England and Defra to have sought the views of either myself or the police before reaching their decision?'
This is Glos (http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/Patience-run-Gloucestershire-extended-badger-cull/story-19983852-detail/story.html?dm_i=1NFN,1XMD7,906LDO,6Y1MG,1#!) reports that patience may run out on both sides of the debate in the badger cull, and disorder may result from the cull’s extension in Gloucestershire.
That’s the concern of Martin Surl, the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, the man who sets the policy for Gloucestershire Police.
Natural England, which licensed the original six-week trial cull which ended this month, has allowed another eight weeks for shooters to try and kill up to 940 badgers in the west of the county, until December 18.
Mr Surl had previously expressed concerns that the cull would lead to an unacceptable burden on police in the county. Yesterday, he said: "My views on a cull extension have been widely reported and led to criticism from two local MPs. It doesn’t alter my primary concern that prolonging the exercise will test the patience and good will shown so far by all sides to the detriment of those communities where it is taking place.
“The cull is an issue which has divided the country. Managing it has been a delicate operation with the full cost still to be worked out, but thanks to the skill and professionalism of the police and the understanding and good sense shown on all sides, we have got this far without many people’s worst fears with regard to public safety being realised.“
The total police costs are not yet know but it is inevitable that with the current extension they will escalate further - the police costs are being paid for by the taxpayer.
Police costs for the badger cull are said to be spiralling out of control. Police and crime commissioner Martin Surl has said the figure is about £1million, twice the original estimate.
Read more: http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/Badger-cull-campaigners-fear-countryside-free/story-19938059-detail/story.html#ixzz2i3pA1...
Policing costs of the trial culls in Glos and Somerset are being paid for from public funds,
Policing costs alone are estimated to be £1,000 per badger although free-shooting was promoted as being the cheapest option – why aren’t the landowners required to pick up this bill rather than the taxpayer? Police resources have been drafted in from other areas – it is not known how that has affected those areas or at what cost.
Simultaneously with the news of the extended licence period for Somerset, a substantial number of additional cages were delivered to the area – if cage trapping is being used as a fail-safe method of executing badgers, why can’t they be vaccinated instead?
David Williams, Chairman of the Badger Trust said: “David Cameron and his Ministers ignore the best scientific evidence and pursue their own agenda. Defra should immediately admit failure of these trials on the grounds of cost and efficacy, the humaneness remains deeply buried in a cloak of secrecy.
More public money to be wasted on farcical badger culling and police costs of the culls are extended?
According to a local Glos paper ((http://www.stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk/news/10727795._/) GLOUCESTERSHIRE Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl has expressed his concern about the possible extension of the pilot badger cull in the county. In a statement released today, Wednesday, he said: "I was disappointed when I heard Owen Paterson's statement to the House of Commons earlier today.
In a statement released today, Wednesday, he said: "I was disappointed when I heard Owen Paterson's statement to the House of Commons earlier today.
"I know we have to wait for an announcement from Defra about any plans for Gloucestershire but I have made my concerns and unease at any possible extension known to the Home Office today.
"I have to consider and ensure safe and sustainable communities in Gloucestershire.
"I am committed to less crime, more peace and good order and any extension to what has been such a divisive issue in the county is certainly not going to help us achieve that."
70 minutes of what is described in the video as 'police harassment' in the area of the current culls. What a waste of police time. What would this be costing and is it taking officers away from other work in their areas? Is the crime rate going to go up in the cull areas as a result of the police concentrating on what is claimed, in this video to be 'harassment'?

Why are the supermarkets keeping so schtum about the badger cull? A thought provoking article in the Independent at:/www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/why-are-the-supermarkets-keeping-so-schtum-about-the-badger-cull-8806637.html
According to The Times, the badger culls could be extended if marksmen fail to kill enough animals in the planned six-week period, under a Government contingency plan to ensure the trials are completed.
The possibility of prolonging the culls emerged as reports claimed that the one in Somerset had fallen behind schedule, with fewer than 100 badgers killed in the first ten days. Any extension would add to the £4 million estimated bill for policing the two culls.
ANOTHER 25 years to be TB free in England!
Yesterday the Government launched its bovine TB eradication strategy with the aim of England becoming TB free within 25 years - so farmers have to wait again.
You can comment as the consultation stage runs from 4 Jul 2013 to 26 Sep 2013. See all the questions by just keying ''next'' without answering as you go along.
The strategy sets out action in areas such as disease surveillance, pre- and post-movement cattle testing, removal of cattle exposed to bTB, tracing the potential source of infection and wildlife controls including culling and vaccination trials. It also focuses on the development of new techniques such as badger and cattle vaccines and new diagnostic tests that could one day offer new ways of tackling the disease.


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