Local badger expert Martin Hancox has just launched a website with his views on badgers and Bovine TB - as someone who has looked at the issue at some length I am still convinced that a cull is the wrong (see many previous blogs) - it is therefore disturbing to see both Tories and Lib Dems come out in favour of a cull - I am also certain that Martin's views need proper investigation. Anyhow here is his latest letter to press:
After nearly 40 years, as with much progress in politics and science, The Great Badgers and Bovine TB Debate has been resolved by serendipity .. although like the Emperors New Clothes no-one can "SEE IT" !!?? Cattle TB Peaked at 40,000 TB cattle last year .. a 42 % rise on 2007 , which is worse now than it was back in the 1950s before GB's textbook Area Eradication Scheme from 1960 nearly wiped out TB by the early 1970s apart from small recalcitrant south-west hotspots (Without ANY badger culls).
SO , farmers and vets have YET Again urged a mass badger cull .. and have persuaded both the Tory's and LibDems at the 4 June local elections to promise .. as in Wales, a cull. Labour continue to claim a cull cannot make any meaningful contribution to solving cattle TB because of the infamous (and rather silly badger perturbation effect .. the 23 % rise in reactive areas happened BEFORE the cull even though the experts then said it was due to the cull ISG 2007). The Greens are the only party anti-cull.
SO what has actually gone wrong ?? It seems beyond belief but no-one can see that the explosion outwards from SW hotspots when there were 89 herds and 600 TB cattle in 1979 ..to 7000 herds and 40,000 TB cattle in 2008 in an area including everything west of a line up from Dorset to the Midlands .. is SIMPLY spread within the cattle herd ..spurred on by relaxation of cattle controls due to Mad Cows/Foot & Mouth 2001 . So, 190,000 TB cattle, amongst 25,000 new herds since FMD (including 11,000 UNConfirmed , the True hidden TB reservoir.. NOT badgers after all).
With that amount of TB swirling around amongst the cattle population no badger cull or vaccine strategy will have the slightest relevance . There were 15 or fewer TB badgers per 100 sq.km. trial area in half the Krebs/RBCT culls .. a mere 166 superexcretors out of 11,000 culled which MIGHT have posed a risk to cows .. although no-one has shown how badgers might give cows a respiratory lung infection !? Badgers simply catching TB from cows. Victim not Villain. ALAS Poor Brock. www.badgersandtb.com