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Badger Cull

(161 Posts)
ThursdayLast Tue 27-Aug-13 07:33:09

Anyone have any opinions on the badger cull?
Or the protests surrounding them?

CFSKate Mon 17-Feb-14 11:43:34

Jellykat Mon 02-Sep-13 00:27:17

I have just seen the notices that have been put up in Gloucestershire, warning the public at entrances to the live shooting areas, and feel sick.

There are many Wounded Badger Patrols (not animal activists!) being set up, to help wounded and dying animals. Seems i'm not the only one who thinks freeshooting is not a clean cut death. sad

WetAugust Sun 01-Sep-13 22:11:54

I saw it.

It said there was a bovine vaccine bu the EU had banned its use.

It was said that it had yet to be ascertained if the vaccine would affect milk or meat.

It said that it hoped the vaccine would be available within*10 years*. !!

It seemed to imply that this programme of vaccine safety testing had not yet even started.

I think there was a little hint of scepticism in the programme about the inaction of the EU in all this.

Then they interviewed some activists who vaccinated badgers.

So, as I always do in cases such as this I ask myself - if there is no rush to roll out a bovine vaccination programme, who is profiting from the current situation?

So who exactly is profiting from this?

Is it the pharma companies who sell the TB test kits that would be redundant if an effective vaccination were to be introduced.#

Is the phrama company that produces the current TB test kits the same company that is developing the vaccination. Is one pharma trying to freeze out the other?

Is it the vets - can't see how they would profit either way.

Is it the farmers - can't see that losing stock through TB benefits them at all.

So who is so keen for the current situation to endure?

ThursdayLast Sun 01-Sep-13 21:28:07

I missed it too, sure it will be on again though.

Sounds interesting...

Jellykat Sun 01-Sep-13 20:37:48

Missed it Vicar, but yes here in Pembs we're into our 2nd year of vaccination, after our cull was abandoned by the Welsh Assembly.. Thank god!

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 01-Sep-13 19:14:31

is anyone watching country file now?

there is a vaccination for badgers. its being used in some areas.

Jellykat Sat 31-Aug-13 22:51:11

Thank you for explaining, i understand a bit more now..i do sympathise with the small scale farmers, but am still 100% against the cull.

ThursdayLast Sat 31-Aug-13 20:08:54

And before I get another barrage of abuse I'm talking about SMALL SCALE FARMERS. Not landowners. Not intensive farming.

Farms with cattle numbering in the few or several hundred. more political conspiracy!

ThursdayLast Sat 31-Aug-13 20:06:25


I had to find out the answer before I could reply. Caz has pretty much said it all anyway.

They get what is supposed to be a market value, it is generated from the average sales taken from the last three months, and believe it changes monthly. I believe (v approx) it to be about 70% of the value, but does not take the individual animal into account.

That compensation financially is still only the cull sale value, her value at the end of her working life...not the value of her productivity...IYSWIM.

And it is scant compensation for the logistical nightmare that TB testing, and being under restriction entails. You have v limited options to sell, more animals to feed but less money coming in to house or supply feed! It's one of those lose lose situations for small scale farmers. Often creates a cash flow crisis, in farming you need to make money to spend money, otherwise it stagnates.

These things can lead to lowered standards of living for the farm animals...through no fault of the farmers.

cazboldy Sat 31-Aug-13 12:51:45

it is supposed to be market value.

problems arise when it is a special cow, so worth more than standard market value. ie a show quality animal, a special bloodline, irreplaceable.

it is also hard to replace like for like. For example one of the cows we lost was 7 months in calf, so would have had another soon as a replacement for the future.

It is also more of an impact than just the loss of that one cow.

You cannot move animals off your farm until you have had 2 clear tests. a minimum of which will be approx 6 months as the tests can only be done 60 days apart.

If you don't get a clear test of course it can be an ongoing problem.

Then you have to feed and house extra cattle - or have them destroyed.

and as far as I am aware you cannot buy replacement cattle while under tb restrictions either, so potentially your income is very much reduced.

Jellykat Sat 31-Aug-13 11:40:10

Thursday There's something i don't put it simplisitically- farmers get compensation for a TB infected cow don't they? What proportion of the cows worth is the compensation? i.e does it fund buying another cow?

WetAugust Sat 31-Aug-13 09:48:14

...but the methods they are employing in their attempt to reduce/annihilate bovine TB do make them tosspots.

They should be having that difficult conversation with the EU over an acceptable vaccination policy.

Not culling badgers in a few disparate areas in the hope that it may reduce TB by a paltry 15% max. A completely unsustainable strategy longterm.

It's a tosspot idea.

ThursdayLast Sat 31-Aug-13 07:16:32

I started this thread because it is a matter that's important to me and I hoped to gain some knowledge from others opinions...and I have.

I don't think politics and money are necessarily the evil you all believe...decisions on war, the NHS etc are all made politically and financially.

And money IS important when it's YOUR livelihood on the line.

Trying to help reduce TB does not make anyone a tosspot.

Jellykat Fri 30-Aug-13 23:19:55

I agree with Vicar, the basis for the cull is not scientifically led.. surely that only leaves politics and money.

The government has to be seen to be doing something, killing badgers in these IAAs is an easy option..but then what? sad

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 22:54:39

Because lots of cows have TB so 'something must be done'.


ThatVikRinA22 Fri 30-Aug-13 22:53:09

i do believe that this is about politics and money, and not about science.

ive read jellys post - which seems to reiterate this fact. the cull has no basis in science.

so why are we even having this discussion?

ThursdayLast Fri 30-Aug-13 07:56:31

I liked that link Jellykat, rational and insightful. Thank you for sharing it with me. (And thanks for not advocating worldwide vegan ism as the answer too the worlds problems wink)

I think Incognitos final point is probably the most accurate of all that have been posted on here...that this is a govt attempt to save face with the rural community and no further or more long reaching efforts will be made.

This thread has really emphasised then need for a workable vaccine for cattle, and taught me lots of others things too...some more helpful than others!

Vicarina, I hope you're not so narrow minded as to believe all farmers are the same! I'd like to emphasise that 'landowner' and 'farmer' are not mutually exclusive. But thanks for your insightful anecdote all the same.

ThatVikRinA22 Fri 30-Aug-13 00:53:11

i have no idea why the government cowtow to the land owning masses on this issue.
i sat in a pub the other week listening to a farmer having lunch with his lawyer and talking about the fields he just sold for over a million pounds.

poor farmers. i had to leave. he was very loud and put me right off my food.
thats what the cull is about. money. everything always is.

MostlyLovingLurchers Wed 28-Aug-13 22:39:48

Yes Varya, they are legally protected under The Protection of Badgers Act 1992. However, Natural England (who are fundamentally part of Defra) can issue licenses in 'exceptional' circumstances. They have said that no further licenses will be issued until the effects of the pilots have been evaluated.

Interesting point Incognito re using the pilot culls as an excuse not to roll out something on a larger scale.

Varya Wed 28-Aug-13 22:20:17

Dairy cows live comparatively short lives and grieve for the calves taken from them. To me farming seems a very cruel way of life and the badger cull is just another cruelty. I thought badgers were supposed to be a protected species.

Jellykat Wed 28-Aug-13 21:28:46

Icognito Evidence for what you are saying is stated here -

Please read Thursday, i'd be interested in what you reckon to it.

Jellykat Wed 28-Aug-13 21:00:05

Absolutely Takver, and do you remember while EJ was trying to push the cull through, the amounts of letters to our local paper from landowners and farmers pointing out the many flaws in cattle management/ movement/ testing etc.. Thankfully here these huge gaps in biosecurity have been tightened, but i have not read or heard anywhere, any talk of enforcement regarding these gaps in the English cull areas..

SlowlorisIncognito Wed 28-Aug-13 20:53:43

I have every sympathy with cattle farmers who lose animals to TB. I think more money should be put into developing effective vaccinations against TB, as this will prevent cattle catching TB from all sources, and should eventually develop herd immunity. I think the government should be funding this as a priority.

Whilst badgers are a source of TB infection, there is a lot you can do to prevent badgers getting into cattle sheds, and stop them being attracted onto the farm, as the main source of infection is badgers coming into cattle sheds in search of food or bedding. However, another animal which is a major carrier of TB in the UK are deer. Deer are more likely to share pasture with cattle, thus it's harder to prevent infection.

Plenty of other animals, including more exotic livestock such as camelids (including animals like camels and alpacas) can infect cattle with TB. Whilst cattle are routinely tested before movement, sometimes more unusual forms of livestock are not tested as there is less awareness and less restrictions. It is possible that when these animals come into contact (e.g. at an agricultural show), TB could be spread from the camelid to a cow.

Enforcing biosecurity on farms is really important for disease prevention. The government could perhaps put money into helping small scale farmers develop better bio-security (for example by providing grants for specific equiptment, or providing education on the best techniques). Large scale intensive farms are very hot on biosecurity, and tend to have less problems with disease (because infectious disease in an intensive environment is devistating).

I'm not against a cull in principle, although I do think there are other things the government could and should be doing (instead if it has to be a choice). However, I do think doing a cull in a small area is pointless. It will probably have one of two results (because culls in a limited area usually do)- either it will cause badgers to disperse from the cull area into the surrounding areas, causing, possibly, a rise in TB in those neighbouring areas, or, after the cull is over, badgers from neighbouring areas will move back in, redering the cull pointless over the long term.

I'm also worried about the effect of removing badgers from ecosystems, which doesn't seem to have been that widely investigated. Badgers act as an apex predator in lots of ecosystems, and it has been shown that the removal of apex predators often has unintended consequences for the ecosystem.

In this specific case, I would be a bit worried about the effect on mink populations. Badgers do sometimes compete with mink for food, so it follows a lack of badgers might cause an increase in mink populations, which we have spent a long time trying to completely eradicate, because they are a harmful invasive species. It will probably also cause an increase in other predator numbers, such as foxes.

I think the trials are so small scale and short term as to be pointless, and I wonder if the government are going to use this as an excuse not to go ahead with a wide scale cull and go back to ignoring the problem of bovine TB.

Takver Wed 28-Aug-13 20:16:31

I also live in the part of Wales that was in the proposed pilot cull area. Two things to note:
- the people I knew who were most anti the cull were dairy farmers with a science background. They were of the opinion having researched it thoroughly that the cull was likely to make the TB problem worse, not better because of the disturbance factor. Some were openly in the anti camp, but at least one family didn't feel able to be openly anti-cull because of social pressure, however I know they disguised as many of their badger sets as possible with farm machinery etc before the survey.

- annoyingly I can't find the statistics now, but I am reasonably certain (ie I saw the WAG stats) that the incidence of TB in cattle in the pilot area fell statistically significantly once the surveying started - with the assumption being that greater enforcement of bio-security was the cause.

MostlyLovingLurchers Wed 28-Aug-13 19:15:29

We don't know if we don't try. I know that there are other studies that you have cited, but circumstances change, and research needs to be refreshed.

But we do know. I won't bother listing all the trials and studies again, but we know exactly how much of a reduction in bTB will result. As ANormalOne has posted, a 70% reduction in the badger population equates to a 12-16% reduction in bTB in the short term. This trial is short term and does not even attempt to determine how many of the culled badgers are infected, something which might actually help inform what is happening. This is politics over evidence-based scientific advice.

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