Badger Cull

(70 Posts)
RedMolly Tue 18-Sep-12 15:32:05

Just wanted to mention that there is a new petition to try and stop the pilot badger culls:

epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/38257

More info at www.badger.org.uk and www.defra.gov.uk/animal-diseases/a-z/bovine-tb/

Please sign if you think the cull should be stopped. Obviously if you think it should go ahead you won't be signing!

Thanks

If tb cattle infected milk gets mixed in with non infected milk does pasteurisation destroy the risk to human consumers.

Jellykat Wed 19-Sep-12 22:30:49

I think the tests (the skin prick tests that are currently widely used here) don't always detect early stages of Bovine TB, some animals can carry but not develop it full blown for sometime.

barbarian Yes it would.. Have just read that in the last decade only a handful of humans have contracted TB from animals.

Beamur Wed 19-Sep-12 22:39:02

This was in the news a couple of days ago.
www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19623703
This is all about appeasing the farming community. I can only imagine how devastating TB can be if you have it in your herd, but this cull seems to fly in the face of scientific findings.

lottiegarbanzo Wed 19-Sep-12 22:52:18

Thing is, I understand farmers' desire that 'something should be done' and it seems to me that is the Govt's motivation - to be seen to be doing something (as with so much political meddling and muddling). But, if I was a farmer i'd read the evidence and feel deeply condescended to by a govt that thinks I'd rather have something ineffective and potentially harmful done than wait for the cattle vaccine. Especially as doing this costs money and takes up people's time.

I don't think the desire to be doing something, sense of being ineffectual while waiting and perhaps the Govt's desire to encourage people to take their frustrations out by shooting something (as they won't be wasting parliamentary time lifting the hunting ban this term) should be underestimated.

Jellykat Wed 19-Sep-12 23:19:28
RedMolly Thu 20-Sep-12 09:32:02

Read the link Jellykat

After the extensive culling of 2011, what is the situation now? Strangely (and coinciding with the science), bTB is now RAMPANT in this area.

It is all so utterly pointless isn't it?

Is there any chance of getting this thread moved to somewhere where it may get a bit more traffic, or added to discussions of the day? I haven't started many posts so am a bit clueless how to go about it. If anyone knows and thinks it is a good idea, please feel free to do what's needed and prevail on the powers that be mn.

Just want as many people as possible to be made aware of this. The petition was over 62000 this morning - would be a shame to lose the momentum.

DEFRA have a consultation on bovine tb strategy that runs until 19 October (see link in op) if anyone would like to comment.

What is the National Trust's stance on this? I know all the wildlife charities, RSPB etc. are against. And some supermarkets, sadly not Sainsburys so I had to go to the co op yesterday which was full of very slow walking people (and badgers of course).

helsybells Thu 20-Sep-12 09:42:38

I'm from a farming family though we haven't farmed dairy at any point in our history and I'm so torn on this one.

I personally can't find any evidence (and I've been following this on and off for some years now) that a badger cull will make any difference and I just can't understand why vaccination is not implemented. Furthermore there seems to be no conclusive evidence about the dangers of TB infected milk being any danger to humans whatsoever. Llke an earlier poster said surely pasteurisation would do the job- or would we end up with a BSE style veto on all british dairy products if it was found that TB infected milk was in the system? I would imagine we would.

The only serious reason I can see for farmers backing a cull is that they personally would perhaps be expected to foot the bill for vaccinating their cattle rather than it coming from the public purse. But would the cost of vaccinating be any more than the cost of implementing a cull from public/EU money? The cost of paying for vaccs on the average dairy herd would surely kill the dairy industry completely, it is on its knees anyway with the cost of keeping each cow normally higher than the amount it generates anually. As it is and most farmers carry on in dairy because their families have traditionally farmed dairy and this is their skillset - other forms of farming they may not be so familiar with and the costs of switching may be prohibitive. IF this isn't the case to be profitable they are forced to run mega-dairies which are controversial in their own right. Hence when an earlier poster asked how the cows were allowed to be kept in such as state the answer is probably that the farmers simply cannot afford to keep things in a decent manner.

Yet I also see the devastation that TB causes to the farmers that have to put up with it reappearing in their herd time and time again. Most of the farmers I know are sensible and decently educated people so I can't understand where widespread support for a cull comes from when there is clearly some seriously large pieces of the puzzle missing. I have also talked to some close friends who farm, again they are non dairy but they seem a bit non-plussed too...

I would love to see on here if anyone is from a dairy background and has any input on this.

Floggingmolly Thu 20-Sep-12 09:47:12

Signed.

ShirleySharpeyes Thu 20-Sep-12 09:53:11

Signed.

helsybells Thu 20-Sep-12 09:54:53

Agree RedMolly - i'd love to see this get some more air time but like you have no idea how to go about it!

RedMolly Thu 20-Sep-12 10:24:38

What is the National Trust's stance on this?

The NT has a tendency to sit on the fence (see their policy re hunting). I think as far as badgers go they were initially against the cull, then in 2010 changed their minds and said they would back it if certain conditions were met, but i think they are now vaccinating all the badgers on their land. Will try and find something a bit more concrete later.

frumpet Thu 20-Sep-12 13:29:28

So how does a badger pass TB to a cow ?

Beamur Thu 20-Sep-12 13:38:08

I'd be happy to pay more for a pint of milk if it meant decent standards in farming and welfare, a living wage for dairy farmers and a vaccination programme for TB instead of a cull.

Beamur Thu 20-Sep-12 13:40:11

TB is an airborne disease, so presumably proximity between an infected animal and uninfected ones could spread it.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Thu 20-Sep-12 13:41:39

frumpet the TB gets transferred when the badger sneaks into the fuel and steals the milk from the teat of the cow...

Signed and shared.

WowOoo Thu 20-Sep-12 13:52:37

Signed.

I watched Countryfile about this on Sunday. Interesting discussion from both sides, prob on iplayer if anyone is interested.
It showed some farmers having target practice training and they were stressing how it had to be a clean shot so as to minimise suffering. But, the badgers will be moving targets. Horrible.

Beamur Thu 20-Sep-12 13:52:42

ItsAllGoingToBeFine - I thought that was just a myth.

Abitwobblynow Thu 20-Sep-12 16:16:04

"So how does a badger pass TB to a cow ?"

Everyone here is talking about 'bad science' but nobody is actually describing WHY it is 'bad science'.

Someone has asked the question, and so I will answer it:

It is clearly known how this vector works. How many of you live in the countryside and know what badger shit consists of? Badgers are omnivores: therefore, their dung is remarkably similar to ours (more fibre though). Badgers make areas called 'latrines' and you will find a an area where they have dug holes and filled them.

So: what happens, is that the badgers will either visit the dairy yard because of the spilled grain fed to the cows, and sh t there, or the cows will graze the grass around the badger latrines. Either way, the cows ingest the badger sh t and become infected. Because they live in close proximity to eachother in a humid environment (cow shed), and they are already stressed by intensive lactating, they pass it on to eachother.

I do support badger culls. Not because I hate badgers or support TB cows or any other such thing. I have never ever done anything to hurt a badger. None of this is the point, in my opinion.
I support a cull because we humans have interfered so badly in the ecosystem that it is all out of balance. Badgers are at the top of the food chain (apex predators), and have been protected for years. There are simply too many of them. The impact this overpopulation has on the rest of wildlife, can no longer be ignored. Badgers have a tremendous sense of smell, and eat anything. Their over large numbers are now hurting other less sexy/cute/cuddly/fashionable species and sending them to extinction: nightingales, hedgehogs (a favourite snack), bumblebees (which nest in mouseholes, a nice little morsel of grubs and honey), ground nesting birds. I have not heard a nightingale for over 15 years, and it dawned on me the other day I haven't seen a hedgehog for some time either. We are overrun with badgers in our area (secret, and no I have never hurt them. I just observe with my eyes).

Sentimentality is not good for nature and we humans have put it out of balance. We must respect all of it, live in balance and not impose our misty eyed views on it.

Abitwobblynow Thu 20-Sep-12 16:22:16

(Any volunteer who doesn't want them shot, but would rather implant with contraceptives, is fine by me. But any acknowledgement that there are too many of them and other wildlife needs protecting too, has to be the first honest step).

Beamur Thu 20-Sep-12 17:53:41

I don't know if there are excessive amounts of badgers or not, but they are (cull outwith) a protected species; but I'd suggest some of the declines you've mentioned - honeybees, skylarks, etc, are more to do with the changes and intensification of farming methods rather than by predation by badgers.
I do agree though, that we have to live in a way that balances our needs with those of wildlife too.

lottiegarbanzo Thu 20-Sep-12 18:09:05

Abitwobblynow, please point me to a reputable conservation organisation that agrees with you about the need for a cull of badgers to protect other wildlife. (hint, they don't).

This is not why the cull is happening.

RedMolly Thu 20-Sep-12 18:10:02

There is no scientific concensus on the transmission routes of btb from badgers to cattle or from cattle to badgers for that matter. There are theories.

Regarding population size, even the DEFRA website states:

The relationship between bovine TB in badgers and in cattle is highly complex, and the rate of transmission between species is not in direct proportion to badger density.

For the record i live in the countryside, have done all my life, and am an ecologist by profession. I worked for a govt regulatory authority in this field and spent many years liaising between wildlife groups and farmers. Intensive farming practices have had a far more negative impact on the species you mention than badgers. I am not the save the cute furries brigade. Culling does not work, and the tax payer is expected to foot the bill.

peeriePistoriuslicker Thu 20-Sep-12 18:17:04

Signed. Will link on FB again too.

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