As you know I am not in favour of the randomised badger cull in its present form, not because I’m against the killing of badgers, I know 100% badgers are causing the TB problem in cattle. But after 20 years of experiencing the ever out of control TB situation, Many Cattle farmers can’t survive another 25-yr. plan because most of the present farming population will have given up in exasperation. In some wildlife protection circles this would be seen as a better result than removing badgers.
No one wants a solution to this more than I do, having witness the misery that a break down in TB can cause. The politicians keep the same old record, we need all the tools in the box, but the most cost effective, efficient targeted and all year-round tool can’t be considered. I.E carbon Monoxide.
So why is this method so hugely important not only to the cattle but to the badgers that are suffering underground? Firstly, it can be used all year round and before anyone starts screaming that you can’t do this whilst the badgers are having cubs, anyone even with an ounce of knowledge of badger behaviour can easily identified dominant sows and boars that are breeding. Its targeted, in the territories identified as hot spots for TB, it can be done in a day, it can be co-ordinated to make sure that you are not taking out healthy setts. But most of all you can control the perturbation effects i.e. badger movement.
The most important thing to cattle farmers of all types, is that we need a solution and we need it now!
Not in 25 years’ time.
The holy grail of vaccinating badgers has been proven to be a complete failure, firstly they couldn’t catch the badgers and after a 5-year trial at a cost of £320,000 the TB went up (killerton Park) and there is no proof that it would have worked anyway.
They have now completed 4 years in the Somerset and Gloucestershire cull areas. I can totally understand why farmers feel that doing something is better than nothing, being constantly told this is all you have, take it or leave it, there is nothing else.
But the most important thing to know is that it’s not how many badgers you kill, but that you have killed the ones that are causing the problems.
The krebs trials proved exactly what not to do. That randomly killing badgers over several years causes perturbation, but if a targeted removal of infected setts was carried out with carbon monoxide so that only healthy badgers could perturbate, even somebody with no knowledge of badger behaviour, but with a certain amount of common sense, would say that this is a reasonable targeted response.
Because this method can be used all year round, in the hot spot areas, the sensible conclusion that if you’d targeted the infectious badgers with TB, with the 60-day testing regime in cattle, within 6 months after the targeted removal of the infected badgers in that area, you would have positive results. If this was carried out in several different areas and the instance in TB in cattle dropped dramatically you wouldn’t need a science degree to conclude as to where the TB was being transmitted.
I can hear the chorus, it’s the cattle, the Cattle that’s the problem not the badgers, the scientists are still as clueless as they were 20 years ago, putting more and more emphasis on cattle to cattle.
So, here’s the challenge, go to half a dozen farms that have gone down with TB. All with recent break downs, I challenge these so-called experts that it’s a cattle to cattle problem, they can explain to me how these cattle have passed it to each other and I’ll do a survey, assessment and an analysis of the wildlife cattle have come in contact with, where they’ve spread the TB to the cattle and even the type of badger behaviour that will co-inside with the lesions found in the infected cattle. I won’t need GPS, satellite system, or a surveillance camera to identify the contact between badgers and cattle.
Now there’s a challenge!
It’s vital to the farmers that have put their trust, effort and financial resources into the cull and cull results that it stands completely on its own merits.
I wait with bated breath for the results and hope that this cull will result in the end of the misery for farming families and their future. But as I saw with the krebs trials I fear we will see the same fudged conclusions. If you are going to give the farmers in the cull areas the chance to prove conclusively the involvement of infected wildlife, they must be given the freedom to remove badgers not just for 42 days.
when food is more available than any other time of year, when the undergrowth I.E brambles, leaves etc. makes it extremely hard to locate and identify badger movements, using the most ineffective methods for just 42 days and expect significant results.
It’s no good, animal welfare groups getting petitions against the cull, the only reason the cull was set up in the way it is because of their persistence of going to judicial review too block any sensible strategy on their persistence that no badgers must die.