This plan is despite science showing that culling of badgers plays no part in the control of Bovine TB in cattle. It seems badgers are again to be used as a scapegoat to appease certain farmers.
Photo: Green party action in Stroud High Street
Hilary Benn after looking at the evidence earlier this year said no to culling. Professor John Bourne, chairman of the Independent Scientific Group, said that he is reassured that Hillary Benn has taken the scientific route rather than the emotive one. He went on to say, "Now farmers will realise the strength of the science and will recognise that culling has no part to play. They should now objectively, alongside government, consider the cattle control elements that we all know are absolutely essential as outlined in our report."
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Meanwhile local campaigner Martin Hancox sent me his "Key misunderstandings arising H, Benn and EFRA Committee 5 Nov.08." See below his thoughts:
1. WHY IS CATTLE TB STILL RISING "OUT OF CONTROL" ?
Its incredibly simple : intensive ANNUAL testing catches cattle before they reach the infectIOUS stage so cuts within herd spread, and going under movement restriction stops export of TBcases .. how TBwas nearly eradicated by the 1970s (without ANYbadger culls). Due to foot & mouth 2001 no testing and big backlog, so explosion cattle-cattle spread .. when movements again permitted a largely hidden spread including into areas expanding existing hotspots ....AND SO .. 30,000 reactors in 2005 due to zero tolerance on overdue tests, fell to 24,000 in 2006 in curerent hotspots. Nov.2006 saw an additional nearly 1000 parishes onto annual tests HENCE RISE 2007 to 28,000, and so far Aug 2008 26,000 so itll be 30-3l,000 for whole year. The whole Welsh herds test bringing in 2-4 yr test areas will also show a big jump, revealing the TRUE extent of the problem. NB in low point hotspots around 1000sq km, now spread to c. 25,000 sq km via local cattle movements expanding hotspots eg now whole Devon/Cornwall.
2. NO POLICY TO TACKLE TB ?
Pre-movement tests stop spread to new areas , but should as in northern GB/Scotland have post-move checks too. Within hotspots intensive annual tests ARE THE ANSWER, and are working ...witness, herds with 6 or more reactors 42%in 2002, dropped to 17% in 2005 .. even less NOW ?
AND THE RECENT iNT J Infect Dis. paper showed a drop in proactive culls of 23%, but 48% l yr after and 60% in 2nd yr .. this is due removal TB cows,NOT a few badgers perturbed or otherwise ( in nearly half the 51 culls a mere 15 or fewer TBbadgers per 100 sq.km were NOT a major cause of anything !!) Sooo PLEASE ASK Jenkins/Donnelly to confirm drop ALL 3o triplet areas incldg no cull ones).