17 Jun 2009

New website on badgers and Bovine TB

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

M.Hancox, Stroud


Anonymous said...

There are a few things I don't understand.

I dont understand why the EU issued guidelines in 2006 in favour of removing TB-infected wildlife as part of bovine TB eradication.

Also how have New Zealand virtually eradicated TB when their problem was as bad as ours 10 years ago?

Philip Booth said...

I will see if I can find out.

Philip Booth said...

I am starting to get answers in - here is one "i dont think the EC did Advise a wildlife cull .. but the current EC Agric Committee which was chaired by Neil Parish may well do so.. AND N Zealand has had a textbook cattle control programme, like Australia .. Farmers Guardian covered both countries in recent issues of their Target TB series .. this week is EC countries theyre wrong tho TB badgers Spain, Italy, SWITZERLAND AND N & S Ireland."

Here is also a letter sent to me from Stroud-based Martin Hancox:

27th June 2009


As a former member of the government's badgers and TB Panel could i congratulate George Monbiot for his pithy article on the Welsh badger cull (17th June). The whole idea is spectacularly mindless, as is the English badger vaccination trials BY Injectable vaccine ( is it really credible farmers will be so daft as to go along with that ?).

Infact the whole saga has now gone well past its Sell By Date. The rationale behind culls was that back in the 1970s low point with a mere 89 TB herds and 600 TB cattle in TINY southwest hotspot pockets , badgers MIGHT be the hidden reservoir so a cull faintly plausible .

Since then TB has spread amongst the cattle population outwards into an area roughly 1/4 of GB everything west of a line up from Dorset to Midlands ... with 7000 herds and 40,000 TB cattle last year . Indeed the explosion due to relaxing cattle controls due to mad cows and foot & mouth 2001 resulted in 190,000 TB cattle amongst 25,000 herds .

That contrasts with the tiny numbers of TB badgers (which merely caught it from the cows) with 15 or less in half the Krebs/RBCT 8 year cull trials .. so hardly a major cause of anything AT ALL as explained www.badgersandtb.com .

SO everyone needs to wake up and deal with CATTLE TB , NOT OLD Brock !!

sincerely, Martin Hancox MA Oxon