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Expert says Gloucestershire badger cull 'not scientific'

By The Citizen  |  Posted: September 17, 2012

  • Jean Berry

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ONE of the world's top dairy farmers has branded the badger cull as "not scientific".

Forest of Dean herdsman Steve Jones said if it went ahead, the "carnage, cost and corpses" would be there for all to see.

He made his comments at a meeting against the badger cull in Coleford on Friday, which had been due to be attended by Queen guitarit Brian May. He had to pull out after a family tragedy.

Mr Jones has managed cattle all over the world and says the spread of bovine tuberculosis on farms can be stopped with simple measures, such as cleaning out water troughs.

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And he condemned government plans for pilot badger culls in Gloucestershire, saying healthy animals would be left to die in agony and infected badgers would scatter in fear, spreading infection.

Chief executive of the RSPCA Gavin Grant told the meeting: "If they cull the badgers, we will never forget and never forgive."

The Government believes culling badgers will help combat bovine TB. It is to issue licences to land owners so they can shoot badgers with high-velocity rifles.

Last week the Badger Trust lost its case against the cull in the Court of Appeal.

Brian May, who spoke earlier this year at an anti-cull meeting in Stroud, sent a message of support and apology to the meeting.

His representative Anne Brummer, read a statement which said:"We may lose some battles, but, by God, we will not lose the war."

He urged people to spread the word about a petition at www.TeamBadger.org. If it gets 100,000 signatures the issue will be eligible for debate in the House of Commons.

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  • Charlespk  |  October 16 2012, 10:09AM

    Being a short sighted, small minded badgerist won't protect them from MDR or XDR M.bovis spread by badgers. . Mycobacterium bovis is constantly mutating and getting closer. . Not even to you. 1. Woman struck down with TB that she caught from her pet ALPACA. (M.bovis) http://tinyurl.com/8a7bwy9 2. Urgent need for tuberculosis vaccines; experts report progress, obstacles in growing drug resistance. http://tinyurl.com/c2r52bq (open in a new window) 3. Mum seeks answers to TB infection. http://tinyurl.com/9txo85a (open in a new window) 4. Child TB poses bigger threat. http://tinyurl.com/9r6ennv (open in a new window) 5. Molecular typing of Mycobacterium bovis isolates in Argentina: first description of a person-to-person transmission case. http://tinyurl.com/bwxembw (open in a new window) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Back in 1997, Dr. Jerome Harms, now Senior Scientist, Pathobiological Sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, wrote. "Recently, there have been many outbreaks of M.bovis caused tuberculosis in humans especially HIV+ patients. Most have occurred in countries where M.bovis is endemic in the animal agriculture population. Multi-drug resistant strains of M.bovis are now appearing as well. The significance of this TB threat from M.bovis has not been taken as seriously as the threat from M.tuberculosis (Human TB). . . . " "However, the scientific and medical community must not ignore the potential of an M.bovis TB epidemic." Again; quite prophetically, he wrote that back in 1997.

  • Freeborn_John  |  October 16 2012, 9:20AM

    @Thornley - as my old Gran used to say - "Empty vessels make the loudest noise."

  • Charlespk  |  October 15 2012, 4:37PM

    "Read a lot of literature!" . . Well not even half enough! Extreme views! . How dare you. Address Dr Ueli Zellweger MRCVS GST TVL of Somerset, or Dr John Gallagher, a veterinary pathologist since 1972 or Dr. Jerome Harms, now Senior Scientist, Pathobiological Sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison with that slur. . These are people who have been at the 'coal face' for decades. . People who know the science inside out and the solution and warned of the consequences of the inaction in dealing with M.bovis. The only people who are listening to people like John Bourne, Lord Krebs et al now are badgerists. The thing you badgerists will just not accept and now even deny with sophistry and distortion, is the fact that we once conquered this problem by clearing badger setts in the locality of herds and culling all and any reactor cattle. . (The clean ring strategy). The national herd was clear of disease and all herds in the UK were officially designated 'brucellosis Free' in October 1985. . That is 'all such pathogens'. With the discovery of Streptomycin and other antibiotics and drugs; we thought we had beaten tuberculosis and all the sanatoriums had long been closed. . . Then some in their mistaken wisdom listened to badgerists because they wanted their votes, and decided the risk from badgers was by then minimal. . With the explosion in the badger population, we can now all now see just how 'minimal' that was. The gassing of badgers ceased in the late 1970s and testing of cattle continued. . . In 1986, a total of 38,000 herds comprising 3,200,000 cattle were tested, resulting in the slaughter of just 506 cattle that reacted to the test. . The latest position with around 40,000 being slaughtered is neither acceptable or sustainable. . But apparently in the eyes of the Badger Trust and all badgerists; the cattle just aren't beautiful enough to be that concerned about so they just keep on with their nonsense about vaccination with the BCG, totally ignoring all the world wide known factual evidence about its failings and severe limitations, even for the human population. Thornley and baderists everywhere; no one of consequence is any longer listening to you. We have to solve the problem again. . There will be a cull.

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  • Thornley  |  October 15 2012, 4:13PM

    84% on 'this is gloucestershire' poll is opposed to the cull but for some reason these fora seem dominated by a couple of people with extreme views who laugh at, or insult anyone in disagreement with them. They say the top scientists are all talking rubbish. Well, for me as a scientist, who has read a lot of the literature I know which seems the the most convincing case. The links are: John Bourne, who led landmark 10-year cull in the newspapers today: http://tinyurl.com/d2xlglc The Observer front page yesterday (14th Oct) saying the planned cull is 'mindless': http://tinyurl.com/9bmrmh9 And the key letter from the top disease experts published in the same paper: http://tinyurl.com/944hdhl

  • Charlespk  |  September 22 2012, 1:27PM

    Apart from the obviously now very urgent imperative to end the slaughter of thousands of reactor cattle that's been causing endless misery for farming families for over a decade; those of us who care about children, way above their own self-promotion, know that there has to be a badger cull or eventually we'll just have more and more of this. EMAIL SENT/RECEIVED April 2nd. 2006 County Times. Powys, Mid Wales. "Dear Mary, This is winding up into something very nasty. We were told about the problem last autumn, but the newspapers / media had very little on it. Local vets and farmers knew and fed us bits. This (below) was published 30th. March, and our source has now had another conversation with SVS vets and private vets in the area. In the late 1990's just a couple of farms were under bTb restriction, but that has now surged to become 30/40. Dead badgers have been found in the area, including one on school playing fields. This carcass was taken to test for 'poison'. but HSE stepped in and stopped the postmortem - inadequate Group 3 pathogen facilities (?). . It was riddled. SVS sent letters to Welsh Assembly / Page St. and they were lost stolen or strayed. The whole episode was buried. Page St. wanted absolutely no positive Tb badgers. In the last 3/4 years eight or nine children, not including this little one, have had treatment for enlarged neck glands. This involved either a 6 month course of antibiotics, or operations to remove. Classic m.bovis lesions I'm told (by a vet) but referred euphemistically by doctors as "Atypical tuberculosis from a non human source". They are telling these kids, that they picked it up from the ground. The badgers use the school playing fields as latrines, and a newish housing estate borders the same farmland too. We're ignoring those canaries again. (reactor cows)" http://tinyurl.com/9r6ennv It's time to wake up and smell the coffee. Don't you have any children or pets?

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  • Charlespk  |  September 22 2012, 1:16PM

    Neither Lord Krebs nor Professor John Bourne are the leading experts in this field. . In fact nothing could be further from the truth. Both have totally politicised bTB. Just as John Bourne politicised the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) problem. . The man's a disgrace. . I wouldn't trust him with any sick animal. The European Commission has warned UK Governments they need to show greater long-term commitment to tackling the problem of bovine TB (bTB) in wildlife. In a report seen by Farmers Guardian this week, the Commission insists there is 'no scientific evidence' badger vaccination will work, compared with the 'considerable evidence' badger removal will improve the TB status of both badgers and cattle. Brussels officials warn the Welsh TB eradication plan has been 'disrupted' and will 'lose impetus' as a result of the decision taken this year to opt for vaccination over culling. It called on UK politicians to 'commit to a long-term strategy' that transcends party politics and fear of what voters might think. The European Commission co-funds TB eradication policies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to the tune of €32 million a year. Earlier this year, it sent a delegation over to the UK to ensure the money is being spent effectively and should continue to be paid.

  • IsitJimKerr  |  September 20 2012, 2:36PM

    Unfortunately this discussion has been hijacked by the extremists on both sides. As I've said, I have no knowledge either way, but I heard this morning that some farmers in the cull area have NEVER had any experience of bTB. That's just the latest twist. While I am an animal lover, not an activist, or veggie, I just prefer animals to humans!!....I actually want this cull to go ahead. Whatever the results, it will then be a number of years to see if the levels of bTB rise or fall in that area. Also adjoining areas will be assessed. And if, by any chance the relevant people are still around, I would like them to come on this site and apologise for their vitriolic attacks, and bigoted opinions.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  September 20 2012, 1:12PM

    Ah! but Harymary my comments might seem weird to you but, as we have seen you can't come up with any answers be they weird or otherwise.

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  • Harymary  |  September 20 2012, 12:55PM

    @2ladybugs Your sense of humour is as weird as your comments. But, hey! There are lots of people whose minds are totally closed to anything that tells the truth that badgers are being scape-goated in this horrible tragedy, and tbh, I can't be bothered with them.

  • 2ladybugs  |  September 20 2012, 12:48PM

    Ha!ha!ha! the day just gets better.......they reckon it is 90% now. 90% of what.....the badgers?????????? fish in the sea????????? stars in the sky???????????. IT JUST AIN'T 90% OF THE POPULATION OF THIS COUNTRY, NO WAY JOSE'.

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