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Shock figures over land in badger cull

By Western Gazette - North Dorset  |  Posted: November 21, 2013

Comments (12)

FEWER than half of the farms in some badger cull pilot areas had cows on them, new figures revealed on Monday.

A Freedom of Information request revealed that only 43 per cent of the land involved in Gloucestershire was on cattle or dairy farms.

In West Somerset, only 60 per cent of the participating farms have cattle, while in Dorset, which could be the next cull zone, it is 70 per cent.

Anti-cull protesters seized on the figures as further evidence that the killing is unnecessary.

Jeanne Berry, spokeswoman for Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting (GABS), said: "This latest information highlights the waste in this cull.

"It is a waste of wildlife and the waste of taxpayers' money in implementing it.

"Nearly all badgers killed in this cull will be healthy, and this information shows that for the minority that may have had the disease, most were not on a farm where they were a threat to cattle anyway."

The badger cull in Gloucestershire has been extended to December 18 after the original six-week period only saw 30 per cent of the badger population culled.

The cull was extended to allow the private cull companies to hit their 70 per cent target in the bovine TB hotspot.

Protesters against the badger cull have campaigned on the basis that the cull is unscientific, and killing badgers will not bring about a reduction in the disease.

A spokesman for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) defended the cull, saying it was crucial for controlling the disease.

Statistics from Defra last week showed more than 200 herds in Gloucestershire have been under TB restrictions.

The spokesman said: "West Gloucestershire was chosen as one of the two pilots for a number of reasons, including the severity of the disease in the area.

"The importance of this situation for cattle farmers, their families and their communities cannot be overstated."

As temperatures are expected to drop closer to freezing this week, the Badger Trust has renewed its calls for badgers not to be cage trapped and then left to die in the cold weather.

A Defra spokesman said that the animals would not be caged from December 1.

Marksmen will be left to assess if it is humane the traps to be set for badgers before December 1.

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  • Stokie2013  |  November 27 2013, 2:13PM

    I have done mmjames - and I still don't get your point. Thankfully I don't have to listen to whatever scare story you have heard - I trust the scientists who have already decided that this is the way forward in Wales ;-)

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  • mmjames  |  November 27 2013, 12:28PM

    Get yourself educated about zoonotic Tuberculosis and BCG, Nigel, then you wouldn't keep pushing for it!

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  • Stokie2013  |  November 27 2013, 10:17AM

    @beefbreeder - what don't you get? ' the elimination of badgers from large tracts of the countryside was politically unacceptable' – it was and STILL IS!!! You may be one of the very poor examples of the farming industry who thinks that you have free licence to slaughter any creature that stands between you and increased profit - but your customers largely come from a population that still wants to have access to a bio diverse countryside, where they and their children can still see birds, insects and wild animals! @Jake_Blake You should apply to be Paterson's new spin doctor as you seem to be the only person in the country who argues that the RBCT achieved large reductions in TB – I think you may be a little deluded however! And in answer to your other point - the reason TB went up was because after foot and mouth the NFU insisted on a lifting of cattle movement restrictions, and infected cattle were moved all over the country. TB has been falling in the last two years as there has been some tightening on restrictions of movement. @mmjames – yes "culling, as conducted in the trial." – I guess they didn't try tactical nuclear weapons or napalm – but I am guessing your preferred method of slaughter would be gas? As I said in my first post "So sad to see an industry so determine to destroy itself" – this cull is clearly showing the worst side of farming and can do nothing but turn the public against you. Carry on down this route and wait for the protest against farming subsidies and then ask yourselves if it really was wise to show yourselves as money grabbing, merciless killers, determined to wipe out an indigenous species by any means, simply because it is cheaper and easier than investing time and money in biosecurity and good animal husbandry. Alternatively – take a step back and ask yourselves if there might just be an argument in favour of vaccination ………..

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  • mmjames  |  November 22 2013, 10:05PM

    Stokie2013 Friday, November 22 2013, 11:15AM Everyone knows this concluded that "badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control; in Britain. Indeed, some policies under consideration are likely to make matters worse rather than better. ............ Couple of crucial words missed out which alter the meaning completely - great what imaginative editing can do in the propaganda game!!! Geoffrey Cox, MP then asked Bourne to clarify the report's findings and its conclusions in the light of his statement describing a political steer in what should have been a scientific exercise. Professor Bourne replied thus: NOTE - "We repeatedly say "culling, as conducted in the trial." It is important [that] we do say that. Those limitations were not imposed by ourselves. They were imposed by politicians. http://tinyurl.com/ptz29kt

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  • Jake_Blake  |  November 22 2013, 9:25PM

    "If there had not been a scientific study into this then I could understand some farmers and indeed the NFU buying in to the theory that somehow this would work." The scientific study as pointed out was politically steered and even then it achieved large reductions in TB. When an experiment sett up to fail actually succeed then you actually have to take note and the huge effect badgers play in spreading this disease. People like to take the conclusions of the RBCT as if they're sett in stone, they're not as science isn't religion. Science is able to evolve as evidence indicates. Hence why despite implementation of the RBCT recommended cattle control measures in 2006, TB has continued to go up.

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  • beefbreeder  |  November 22 2013, 5:01PM

    The randomised badger culling trial, according to it's chairman professor Bourne:- "was directed by Ministers at the outset of the RBCT that the elimination of badgers from large tracts of the countryside was politically unacceptable" The conclusions were made by politicians before any culling even took place. This helps to explain why the field staff who ran it described the RBCT as farcical. http://tinyurl.com/owb8rwu

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  • Stokie2013  |  November 22 2013, 11:15AM

    So sad to see an industry so determine to destroy itself. If there had not been a scientific study into this then I could understand some farmers and indeed the NFU buying in to the theory that somehow this would work. The tragedy is everyone with one grain of interest in the subject knows that we spent £50 million and spent ten years researching this approach, in the Randomised Badger Culling Trial. Everyone knows this concluded that "badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control; in Britain. Indeed, some policies under consideration are likely to make matters worse rather than better. Second, weaknesses in cattle testing regimes mean that cattle themselves contribute significantly to the persistence and spread of disease in all areas where TB occurs, and in some parts of Britain are likely to be the main source of infection. Scientific findings indicate that the rising incidence of disease can be reversed and geographical spread contained, by the rigid application of cattle-based control measures alone". This is not political dogma or biased reporting of the facts – this is the conclusion of an independent, reputable, scientific study! What is it that this government and the NFU don't get??!!! This Is not going to work – we have tested the approach, slaughtered 10,000 badgers in the process and concluded it does not work! Get your house in order – adopt some biosecurity and stop blaming the badgers for your incompetence! All this cull is doing is driving a massive wedge between the farming industry and a large sector of the public. I used to be a great supporter of English farmers – I joined the campaign for a fair price for milk, and always tried to buy British produce. Now however I pray that every farm involved in this unnecessary slaughter goes bankrupt. Next time the big dairies put a squeeze on milk prices and the farmers start bleating – I shall do my little happy dance and write to congratulate the dairies! Well done Ms Squires and the NFU – you are doing a wonderful job for English farmers! (Note I say English farmers – as in Wales they have very sensibly opted for vaccinating badgers – and so I now source Welsh products at every opportunity!)

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  • groundnut  |  November 22 2013, 10:25AM

    There is no myth about the fact that culling and other forms of Badger sett disturbance leads to the spread/ perturbation of TB. By how much is not calculable scientifically. So why create the risk over 57% of the Glos. Cull zone of spreading TB to cattle farms that currently do not have a TB problem? It would have been logical to avoid ANY risk of further spread of TB to leave these setts undisturbed and vaccinate the sett population in that 57%, no risk of perturbation, less controversy, less police , less cost. But the reason this was not done is the same reason that thinking people and science experts have been bypassed -- the POLITICS of Owen Paterson and the NFU chose this controversial Killing exercise. Those recognising the alternative solution as being implemented in Wales by the Welsh Government. Will not just sit back and let this indiscriminate killing exercise take place without protest.

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  • mmjames  |  November 21 2013, 5:24PM

    Just because there are no sentinel cattle does not mean the badgers are free of zTB - a grade 3 zoonotic pathogen that can infect any mammal. Sheep, goats, pigs and camellids are being slaughtered because of the disease. At least where sentinel cattle are testing negative to zTB we can be pretty sure the local badgers are healthy. Bottom line - no tested cattle, no knowledge of badger health WRT zTB.

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  • Senseatlast  |  November 21 2013, 2:06PM

    "Anti-cull protesters seized on the figures as further evidence that the killing is unnecessary." -What people need to see through is that the antis can make all sorts of statistics or arguments appear in their favour. You could look at this statistic the other way - yes that only 43% of land involved in the cull has cattle itself, but this only goes to show how devastating bTB is for WHOLE COMMUNITIES, and how un-selfcentred those 57% of landowners without cattle are. Even though they aren't affected personally, small, close-knit communities all feel the pain when bTB strikes. They are doing something for the greater good in the countryside and we thank them for this. And while I'm here, let's get another thing straight. The badger cull has absolutely nothing to do with acquiring development land or building houses. I've seen this idea bandied about recently as if it's a fact, but it's not. The presence of badgers on a suitable development site doesn't prohibit development anyway, so this is another myth that's gained ground simply because the antis state it as if it's a fact. The landowners who have signed up to the cull in Gloucestershire have been stoic, committed, and dedicated to the cause, whether or not they have cattle. Communities have come together throughout this period and some farmers/landowners have faced terrible intimidation and harrassment night and day (also known as "the right to public protest" if you're an anti). The destruction of cage traps is illegal and more needs to be done NOW to stop the perpetrators - if I trashed someone's property I would expect to be arrested as this is clearly not part of a "protest". Read more: http://tinyurl.com/o77nwx7 Follow us: @thisissomnews on Twitter | thisissomerset on Facebook

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