News Comments
25-11-2014 02:05 AM
Partnership to explore solar farms and agriculture
25-11-2014 15:24 PM | Posted by Jon I
Cut to the chase.
A two year study will mean that you have "missed the boat"
As far as the feed in tariff and investors who by then will have moved onto something else. All the information on solar PV for farms is already there.
Spend the money on something else
25-11-2014 01:12 AM
UK dairy farmers need to build new markets overseas
25-11-2014 15:52 PM | Posted by OpenYourEyes
There is no such thing as sustainable dairy farming (or any livestock farming) as long as the human population continues to grow. Best thing that any animal farmer can do, for themselves and the planet, is to train for a new, non-animal based, trade.
20-11-2014 01:46 AM
Can UK farmers can meet global demand with shale gas?
20-11-2014 08:28 AM | Posted by Ragamala
When we are all aware that Britain is dependent on imports for around half our food needs, I find it staggering that this group of fracking promoters could suggest British agriculture could help meed a global demand.

The talk about cattle is outrageous. Not only wrong in its refusal to address the methane releases due to fracking, but offensive when we know in the US farm animals' health problems and deaths are the first indication of environmental damage from fracking. Many farmers will lose their livelihoods if fracking goes ahead on an industrial scale.

As I was told just recently by a senior geology professor at Newcastle University regarding the possibility of well failure and leaks -
"Cements crack and steel corrodes in the long term. So periodic monitoring and insurance so that wells can be repaired decades later is key."

The professor knows as well as I do that this is not covered by the sham claim "better regulations" in the UK. The message is simple. ALL wells will fail. Maybe not this year, this decade, but sometime. If toiday's fracked farmers don't lose their livelihoods, their sons, daughters or grandchildren will.
18-11-2014 02:27 AM
Beating bovine TB is 'going to hurt', NFU warns
18-11-2014 14:13 PM | Posted by Clued-Up
DEFRA and its Chief Scientist have announced an almost complete reversal of their approach to controlling cattle bTB to the Stoneleigh Conference (please see Alastair Driver's article in the 17 Nov edition of "Farmers Guardian").

What the new approach says is that the DEFRA Chief Scientist now ACCEPTS badgers account for - at most - less than 6% cattle bTB. They ACCEPT the Warwick Model's predictions about the best ways of eradicating cattle bTB - ie tougher cattle controls, better bTB testing, cattle vaccination and targeted action on the bTB "super-spreader" livestock farms - and plan to implement them.

Much of the information DEFRA says has guided its change in policy was available to government well before the first badger cull started. There was an open letter to government signed by over 30 of the UK's most eminent scientists stating that cattle bTB could only be brought down by more rigorous cattle controls and that killing badgers wouldn't reduce cattle bTB by any meaningful amount. If DEFRA and its Chief Scientist had heeded their warnings, we'd have saved ourselves £10 million (mostly funds contributed by the unwilling taxpayers) and 3 years misdirected bTB effort.

As well as inhumanely slaughtering thousands of a legally protected species much loved by the public, this stupid badger cull must have cost the lives of thousands of good cattle (because the right bTB controls weren't put in place far earlier).

I hope the NFU, DEFRA and the present government pay the price for their refusal to adopt an evidence-based cattle bTB eradication programme and for their unprincipled, illogical vendetta against badgers.
18-11-2014 16:58 PM | Posted by john tuck
Those of us who live in the real world know that this country once was declared TB free. We know that alone among the developed nations of the world Britain is failing to control this disease or even allowing it to spread, entirely as a consequence of a dishonest, unprincipled and illogical vendetta against livestock farming, masquerading as a love of wildlife.
18-11-2014 20:52 PM | Posted by Clued-Up
The sad thing is that DEFRA and the NFU allegedly haven't remembered until now how cattle bTB was eradicated by the late 1960s by cattle controls. The UK's eradication of cattle bTB was an amazing success story, it should have been remembered and the lessons re-applied once cattle bTB started climbing in the 1980s.

Prime Minister Thatcher and the then NFU leadership agreed a change in bTB measures after 1979 which we now know to have been a serious mistake.

The routine practice had been that the whole herd was slaughtered whenever any bTB reactor was found; the farm was deep-cleansed (as supervised by MAFF, DEFRA's predecessor); and the farm was put under a year long quarantine before it could be re-stocked. That was a brutal experience for the individual farm and for the cattle - but it safeguarded all neighbouring farms and kept the UK bTB free.

The Thatcher / NFU change in practice meant that ONLY bTB reactor cattle were slaughtered and the minimum quarantine period ONLY lasted 60 days. MAFF was shrunk so the cleansing of bTB breakdown farms couldn't be supervised by independent professionals with plenty of skill and experience in making farms biosecure.

What wasn't properly taken into account by Thatcher and the NFU was that the bTB skin test is a test of herd health, not a test that can identify whether an individual cow is bTB clear or infected. We now know that up to one in four cows are mis-diagnosed by the skin bTB test as "clear" when they're actually infected.

What DEFRA are now saying is that they plan to use the more sensitive gamma interferon test to pick up cattle bTB sooner and more securely than the bTB skin test does. They'll take targeted action - ie whole herd slaughter - at the few farms which repeatedly undergo bTB breakdowns because they have unidentified, bTB infected cattle within their herds. They'll introduce cattle vaccination, freeing cattle farmers from the fear they may lose their animals to bTB. They'll introduce more rigorous movement testing, helping farmers to avoid importing bTB infection.
19-11-2014 10:10 AM | Posted by john tuck
From where Clued-up did you get this rubbish "The routine practice had been that the whole herd was slaughtered whenever any bTB reactor was found; the farm was deep-cleansed (as supervised by MAFF, DEFRA's predecessor); and the farm was put under a year long quarantine before it could be re-stocked" You are confusing TB with foot and mouth. We were winning the battle against TB even in the 1950's when testing was voluntary, a farmer with reactors could either sell them in the open market, or choose not to progress with acquiring attested status and carry on as he was. Even this apparently ramshackle approached reduced TB to the point where compulsory testing was introduced in 1960, and the same rules, using the same test that are in force today reduced the incidence of TB to the point that Great Britain was declared TB free in the 1980's. Stick to the facts, not make up these fairy stories. You may fool some people, but I was there. I lived through all of this and I know the truth.
Also note that the allegedly more sensitive gamma interferon test cannot distinguish between bovine TB, avian TB and paratuberculosis, so using that will only result in more cattle being needlessly shot. And can you explain why these "unidentified, bTB infected cattle" aren't being identified in slaughterhouses?
19-11-2014 19:05 PM | Posted by Clued-Up
@john tuck

I'm not confusing bTB with Foot & Mouth. I got my information from several sources - ie:-

(1) A Nov 15 2010 article titled "Spreading The White Plague" by George Monbiot. Relevant quotes are as follows:-
"In the 1960s, the disease was almost eliminated through rigorous testing of cattle herds and strict quarantine. It was when these measures were relaxed, at the behest of the industry, that the disease began to spread. Tests with a low sensitivity, which were designed to detect TB in a herd, are now misused to clear individual animals(17). The quarantine period has shrunk from one year to 120 days. (The safe period, Bourne says, should be two years, as the successful Australian programme shows)".

(2) The other two sources I'm afraid I can't pinpoint adequately for you. The first of these was someone who self-evidently had a lifetime's experience and knowledge of MAFF, management of bTB breakdowns on farms, badgers and TB in badgers. The second source was a personal contact who used to work for MAFF.

Neither you nor I are able to produce an authentic MAFF document detailing the quarantine period and action to be taken at a farm with a bTB breakdown, something which would be definitive proof.

That said, I think the evidence supporting my case is a little stronger than the evidence supporting yours.
20-11-2014 12:29 PM | Posted by john tuck
You clued-up will never produce an authentic MAFF document detailing the quarantine period and action to be taken at a farm with a bTB breakdown, because it does not exist. Before a herd could obtain attested status, buildings had to be brought up to standards. Cobbled floors to be replaced by concrete, wooden fittings replaced by metal, and cows not allowed to drink from ponds. A few farmers did remove all their cattle, selling them voluntarily, not slaughtered compulsorily, and replacing them with attested stock, but almost always at an interval of less than 12 months. The testing regime has always been 12 monthly intervals. This was briefly extended to 24 months but quickly reverted to 12 months in the high risk areas. Where there TB is not a problem this has been extended to 4 year intervals, but in the growing high risk areas 12 months remains the norm, or every 60 days if a reactor is found. Added to this there is now compulsory pre-movement testing for all cattle in the high risk ares. This is all documented and you can find it if you look.
The idea that some 2nd hand information from an unnamed source and a journalist known for his anti-farmer bias is better evidence than that of a farmer who has lived with this problem all his life is just silly. I know the difference between fact and prejudice even if you don't.
20-11-2014 13:57 PM | Posted by mindyourownbusiness
Congratulations 'john tuck'!!I take my hat off to you, proving how those against it are all from the same fraternity of ' knowing f**k all about what they are talking about'!!Try to clutch at random bits of info, jumbling it up and regurgitating it out in a completely mixed up fashion.
The truth is, as you said, from those that actually were there and it actually happened to them and their business. Is it no wonder that there are no farmers that are beating the anti cull drum. Yes, we all have varying opinions in the matter, but they know what is the truth and therefore aren't so blindsided by unfounded facts. Some may be less pro than others, but ultimately, they know that at least something is finally being done. More is to be done and further measures, but its a start, which is more than any other recent previous government has done.
21-11-2014 12:17 PM | Posted by Clued-Up
@ john tuck

Anyone who tries will certainly find it difficult to get hold of MAFF documentation on ANY topic.

These documents were produced before offices and documents were computerised and material stored online. All or most of the paper copies of MAFF's bTB operational guidance manuals will have been shredded by now. There may be library copies somewhere but they'll be difficult for any ordinary member of the public to track down. That's why we're dependent on the people with specialist knowledge of their subject and of the supporting documentary sources.

George Monbiot is a writer specialising in environmental subjects. He's given a list of the documentary sources he used in writing his bTB article - anyone who wishes to plough through these and check his facts for themselves can do so.

Human memory for events taking place a long time ago isn't very good, especially when the original memories are likely to be "overwritten" by memories of similar events taking place at a later date. There've been many changes in bTB testing arrangements and biosecurity requirements in the years since Thatcher was PM. Documentation prepared at the time will be a better guide to events than anyone's memory.

You claim an (unknown) farmers' memory of the precise cattle management procedures in force at least 30 years ago can be trusted more than the memories of (equally unknown) others - eg the people I mentioned - can be. That mind set seems unreasonable to me.
21-11-2014 14:32 PM | Posted by john tuck
You hide behind a pseudonym Clued-Up and have made your mind up that the little bit of reading you have done on this subject is worth more 60 years of practical experience from a farmer with a name. Make your excuses but the the quote you used "The routine practice had been that the whole herd was slaughtered whenever any bTB reactor was found; the farm was deep-cleansed (as supervised by MAFF, DEFRA's predecessor); and the farm was put under a year long quarantine before it could be re-stocked." is just a fairy story- it did not happen. The regulations governing the acquisition and maintaining of attested status were more lax in the 1950's when we were winning the battle against TB than they are today. Am I right in thinking that you, like most of your ilk, do not want badger culling to proceed, not because you love badgers, but because you are afraid of being proved wrong?
22-11-2014 12:23 PM | Posted by john tuck
Perhaps "Clued-Up" you would like to contact George Monbiot (born 1963) to find out exactly what testing and quarantine measures were relaxed in the 1960's and from where his information came. This septuagenarian was working and testing cattle for TB according to the regulations before he was born. It's a weak excuse to pretend that you can't find papers that never existed because they may have been shredded. You seem incapable of absorbing any information that doesn't coincide with your fixed ideas, a mind set seems unreasonable to me.
17-11-2014 09:25 AM
More investment in agriculture needed to meet future demand
17-11-2014 14:40 PM | Posted by Juan Pablo Castelblanco
The amount of money invested in agriculture right now has to be redirected to restore soil and prevent water from being polluted with chemical fertilisers and toxic pesticides. No seed, no animal, GM or not, will be able to thrive without soil or water. GM technology is only increasing the overhead with millions being thrown at governments and legislators all over the world, it's creating trading disruptions and it's stealing away from people the freedom to chose what to eat and feed our children and how to produce it.
12-11-2014 03:33 AM
GM crops 'good for farmers and the environment', study shows
12-11-2014 13:31 PM | Posted by lannit
This so-called report is pro-GMO PR rubbish. Look at the American experience with GMOs -- agrochemical use went up, yields did not increase, there is extensive environmental contamination by agrochemicals, contamination of non-GMO crops, and the creation of superweeds and superbugs requiring the use of older, more dangerous herbicides and insecticides. Also see:
12-11-2014 02:37 AM
EU countries granted flexibility to ban GMO crops
15-11-2014 15:53 PM | Posted by Robert Wager
And what about the WTO rules all these countries have agreed to?
11-11-2014 01:30 AM
Abandon the badger cull plans, scientists warn government
11-11-2014 08:33 AM | Posted by reg pollard
this government and nfu, been pig- headed from day one regarding this barbaric slaughter of badgers,only advice they take any notice of is their own so called experts,who will say anything to keep their careers, as we all know anyone who doesn't agree with Cameron and his posh murderous friends are discarded, who knows what might happen with Election round the corner,we all know Cameron will promise anything,then when he gets his own way turns his back on his people,and his promises mean nix.
11-11-2014 14:39 PM | Posted by Clued-Up
The question for English cattle farmers to ask themselves is HOW can they force this irresponsible government to concentrate on eradicating cattle bTB rather than on wasting £millions on killing thousands of badgers?

Cattle farmers are desperate to protect their cattle from bTB and keep their farms solvent. The Welsh cattle bTB eradication programme works and is working quickly; within 5 years it's HALVED the number of cattle slaughtered because of bTB. Why is DEFRA so unwilling to copy the Welsh programme?

Protecting their own reputations from the fallout of the failed badger culls may be of intense concern to the Prime Minister, DEFRA ministers, the Chief Vet and the NFU's leaders. Most farmers don't give a damn about protecting these people's egos. They do care about needlessly losing valuable stock.
11-11-2014 14:39 PM | Posted by GlosFarmer
"Strategic culling in areas of endemic infection is essential for controlling TB in badgers. But
nationwide the population also needs to be brought under control by measured culling. The emotive
support for the badger is unbalanced and should not continue to undermine proper veterinary
concern for the health and welfare of badgers, cattle and other wild and domestic animal species".
11-11-2014 20:33 PM | Posted by reg pollard
why is it that a lot of farmers try to make out that they are really concerned about badgers welfare,& other wildlife,its been proved that nearly all wildlife & other animals carry Btb,other animals that are around cattle,such as rats,deer,foxes,plus others,yet the biggest threat to cattle is other cattle,yet all NFU & government want to blame is badgers,it is a well known fact that most farmers hate all wildlife,but badgers are number one,on farmers hate list,farmers have been killing badgers for years and years and years,and getting away with it,gassing,shooting,poisoning,snaring,so Mr. Gloucestershire Farmer,please don't insult intelligent animal lovers,& the British public,by these ridiculous statements,at the end of the day all you & your type want to do is kill as many Badgers as you can.But the good people will not let you and your kind get away with it.
12-11-2014 13:28 PM | Posted by Mindyourownbusiness
Mr reg pollard, please show me your proof about other animals with btb?im not saying you are fully wrong, I'm just very interested to see your actual proof in your statements as it is very clear to me that you are purely a band wagon jumper, spurting out the same old unfounded facts that certain organisations, that you are no doubt a member of, get you to believe. For real facts, please also see the success of both New Zealand and Ireland in eradicating btb. Also, if you would gratefully and personally fund the £1 billion cost that btb will cost the UK economy in the next 10 years, then I think the cull would happily stop. Yes cattle do transmit to other cattle, but unless you are a vegan, you have no ground to stand on as how would we farm otherwise if we all had 1 cow?
Please also show me the proof of your so called 'well known fact' that farmers hate wildlife?forgive me if you are mentally disfunctional and thus may have some lack of understanding basic things but aren't farm animals classified as wildlife??so to say that they hate wildlife, yet choose to nurture and care for them ( as if you didn't already know, animals have better productivity and efficiency when looked after properly- so before you start your standard 'lack of facts' rant about farmers and lack of care for animals, I will stop you there. Please also prove facts about farmers gassing,poisoning, etc badger for years and years?
I'm afraid you may have quite a bit of work to do to come back to me with all of your facts, so I might just stop there as I have plenty more but I wouldn't want you to take out too much time from you anti-farming band wagon campaign.
I fear that you may have also fallen into the trap of hypocrisy when you talk of Mr glos farmer insulting intelligent animal lovers. In fact, worse still, I think you have merely proven just how unintelligent you so called 'animal lovers' are. However, I would like to state that, unlike your tactics, I will not brand all animal lovers unintelligent, in fact I will merely just leave it to a statement against you. Plus, unlike your response above, I have the facts to hand to prove my statement against you as it lies within your own response for all to see.
I eagerly await your facts and studies showing that your statements are well founded. I assume I could expect these within 24 hours as I would have thought that if people like you are to blurt out such statements, you should have all the facts to hand.
If any of this has been too difficult to understand and you need more clarification, I would gladly utilise someone of similar iintelligence to you (please see your response as proof of this)to translate into a comprehensible level of talk- I think my 5 month old son might be of similar standard. Though I fear I am being extremely unfair and unjust to him and potentially very hurtful to him, but I think he will be ok about it, as he would share my views.. However, please do give me time to do this to account for his nap times during the day and the time for feeding and changing him.
IF you feel that I am being very childish and silly about this, I am merely only giving the same level of response as you gave above.
12-11-2014 14:23 PM | Posted by Clued-Up
Am taking on some of the burden in replying to Mindyourownbusiness, I'm sure reg pollard won't object!

Re: "please show me your proof about other animals with btb".

You'll do better to Google for this information yourself. That said, the latest figures I've seen on bTB in deer say 3% have bTB; farmed deer are thought to be at greater risk of bTB than wild deer because they're kept in relatively large numbers in a confined area so any bTB infected deer has a greater degree of contact with previously healthy deer.

The DEFRA website contained a breakdown of what mammals had been found infected with bTB - I remember that rats and mice, pigs, sheep,cats, dogs and human beings (ie those caring for livestock) all appeared on that list.

DEFRA has extended bTB testing to camelids (llamas, alpacas and goats); at least one human being (Diane Summers) died of TB because she'd been infected by her animals and didn't get the right medical help in time.

Earthworms have also been found to be infected - presumably from ingesting slurry.

I think it's more sensible to regard bTB as an ever-present environmental threat (because almost every mammal can suffer from it, it can live in slurry and manure for months and it can be picked up in polluted water). The only thing we can do about it is to prevent the bTB disease THREAT being translated into actual HARM to us and our livestock. That's best done by good on-farm biosecurity, stringent cattle / livestock controls, rigorous testing and catle / camelid vaccination.

As you can see, killing badgers to try to eradicate cattle btb is a pretty stupid idea.
12-11-2014 14:42 PM | Posted by Clued-Up
Re: "For real facts, please also see the success of New Zealand and Ireland in eradicating btb".

The Republic of Ireland HASN'T eradicated cattle bTB or got anywhere near it. They're actually very worried about their disease burden. Some farmers are now agitating for a massive deer cull to try to reduce their cattle bTB.

What the Republic of Ireland has done is to almost eradicate their badger population in 6 counties. Cattle bTB didn't start to drop in spite of years of mass slaughter of their badgers; it only began to drop when the Republic of Ireland introduced stricter cattle controls.

Ex DEFRA minister Paterson and his cronies may not like the facts; however the Republic of Ireland "case study" shows clearly the ineffectiveness of killing badgers to reduce cattle bTB.

EVERY TIME, the evidence says - sort out your cattle management / farm biosecurity problems and you stop cattle bTB in its tracks; kill wildlife and you do nothing to solve your cattle bTB problem.

Incidentally, the Irish public and Irish government have lost patience with their badger cull. They see it as exorbitantly expensive and a total waste of taxpayers' money because of its ineffectiveness. Ireland has also been reported for being in breach of the Bern Convention (which is embarrassing for them and unhelpful to the nation's standing in the world)
12-11-2014 18:18 PM | Posted by reg pollard
thankyou very much,Mr Farmer for your Farmers view on slaughtering badgers, you have made it very clear that everyone against this barbaric badger cull are wrong,Farmers and Nfu,& Deathra, all right,sorry but i am not as intelligent as you clever Farmers and Politicians as you people know all the answers, i also wouldn't have a clue if a badger or any other animals had Btb,but there again nor would any Vet, unless of course he worked for Deathra,there is only one man in the world that can tell when a badger is in final stages of Btb,that man was the great genius himself Owen Paterson,who made his famous statement during last years cull,when he stated majority of badgers shot were in final stages of Tb,i would like your opinion on illegal movement of cattle in this country,or is this just another fairytale,regarding farmers and their animals,i didn't say all farmers mistreat their animals,but i known plenty farmers in my area that do,dare i point out Btb in Ireland, or will i be jumping on bandwagon,but it is a well-known fact that vaccination in Northern Ireland & strict cattle control has been more successful in Btb control than Slaughter of badgers in Irish Republic,so i am so sorry if you don't like other people having their own opinion,but there are thousands of people like myself who are dead against killing badgers,& like it or not,we will do anything we can to stop this barbaric slaughter of our badgers, Legally of course.
13-11-2014 10:22 AM | Posted by David Hastings
with regard to comments from mindyourownbusiness,think you should have your 5month old son running the farm,he sounds far more intelligent than his Father.
13-11-2014 10:22 AM | Posted by observation
There are 2losers in this culling of badgers,1st the badgers killed needlessly,caught up in the middle of Politics,then the farmers who have been hoodwinked into funding this Government and Nfu mass slaughter of badgers,this government don't care about how many Farmers and families loose their homes and livelihood,at the end of this fiasco the government & NFU, will turn their backs and walk away leaving the farmers to face financial ruin,Farmers should walk away now,before it is to late,backing vaccination is the best & only way forward,& a lot more cost effective,so Farmers work with the people not against,nobody wants farmers or wildlife Badgers in particular to suffer anymore.
14-11-2014 14:35 PM | Posted by mindyourownbusiness
Not sure where to start on the response to your replies.but I will start from the top. In your list of animals with btb, firstly, unless Im mistaken there has been no incidence of btb in sheep, hence they aren't tested. Any infected animals would have been picked up in the slaughterhouse. Wild deer are certainly a possibility but we already have a culling process in place to control this population, hence this will be having a factor on controlling their spread of the disease. Rats and mice; all farmers and im sure all homeowners etc control these in some form or other. If your point about a wrongly culling badgers who may or may not have the disease, I assume this should be the case for rats and mice. I would assume ( but correct me if wrong) that in some time, you have killed or poisoned or tried to cull rats or mice on your property or be apart from this act elsewhere. The point being, that I would therefore assume that if you were to stand by your case on the immoral culling of badgers because of potential TB, this same stance should be taken on all rats and mice. It would be wrong to assume that all rats and mice carry disease. Many of them all but not all. Therefore, should we be testing them before we cull them?As I would believe that the reason we do, is to stop the spread of disease etc.
In terms of your comment about on farm biosecurity and rigourous testing and strigent movements, I am led to believe you may not know about what measures are put in place. Without boring you (though given you passion for opinion, this information should enlighten you), herds are retested 60 days post the last test, if failed. It is then required to have 3 all clear tests to then have movement restrictions lifted. Therefore, if 1 animal fails, the whole herd is shut down. It would then be 6 months till movement can happen again. May I also let you know that the difference of a pass and a fail is the difference on 1mm on the scruff of an animals neck, measured by a pair of calipers that is judged by the naked eye of a vet. I do not want to discredit any vet, but the slightest misreading can be the difference between a whole herd passing or failing. In addition, let it be know that these animals are measured by the difference of 2 lumps. The work involved by the farmer for these tests mean the whole herd have to be run by the vet firstly to have 2 jabs (one avian and one bovine tb- as cows will not react to the avian one-hence acts as a reference point), then several days later, be passed by the vet again and individually measured. All in all, im not sure as to what more can be done about biosecurity, testing and movements.
You asked my opinion of illegal movements. Im not aware of any but obviously can be aware of everything. I would be interested to see case studies of this if you could provide this. But my thoughts are clear, im am totally against it. Again, im not sure you are aware of the rules on cattle movements but everything is traceable. Each animal has a passport, this has every step of its movement recorded. This is also held on a database. So when any animal goes to slaughter, it has to have this with it. That is the only way it is allowed. So, unless the meat is being illegally slaughtered, processed and sold, then I fail to see what you are trying to infer. I will reiterate that I am sure there no doubt is some, but what industry doesn’t have some sort of illegal activity. But it would be highly wrong to tarnish all livestock farmers with this scathing comment. I doubt that was your intention, but not certain as to why you asked the question- do you believe I would support illegal movement?I have spent countless hours doing the paperwork for my cattle, going through inspections by the Rural payment agency to abide by the legal requirements required by all livestock producers.
In terms of vaccination, I assume you realise that vaccinating an infected animal has no effect. The testing of each badger to decide this costs a great deal. I don’t have the exact figure to hand but I remember it being around £700. Plus if you were to speak to any person involved in the capture of these animals, it is notoriously difficult. I will like to also draw your attention to the case of Killerton estate which has had a vaccination program for 4 years and as of last month, has been struck down by Tb. So I question the use of this.
May I make it clear, that I by no means think that the cull is the only answer, it is part of the answer. We already have very strict movements and testing (so little more can be done there). But the answer is to not do anything.
May I draw your attention to the Ireland case study. In 1984, they culled 1000 badgers, in 2002, they culled 6000. In 1998, they had 45,000 cases of tb, by 2013 they had just over 15,000. Though there are other factors that would have contributed, these figures do suggest that the cull had some effect. Though it would be hard to quantify and prove, but assuming that the rate of culling in 1984, was higher than the rate of natural population increase, it would suggest that by 2002 when 6000 were culled, that the proportion culled against the total population was vastly greater. Hence why, the decline of TB took so long. If you are to rid anything, you can not expect much change if you don’t do enough control from the start. Hence why the government has such targets as 70% population cull, to ensure it will have some effect very quickly. Though I know you have seen that these targets have not been achieved, this seems as though this is based on a estimated population figure which seems notoriously hard to quantify given the elusiveness of the badgers and potential nomadic status they can have.
Im not sure you are correct when the evidence says ‘everytime’ that you sort out cattle management etc and you stop tb. Killing wildlife solves nothing.
May I make it clear, that no ones wants to exterminate the population. Merely rid them of this disease. Have you seen a badger with tb?Its horrible. They have no way to control it themselves. There population is exploding due to having no natural predators and a plentiful supply of food (mainly from the farm-which though farmers try to protect, inevitably, there is always someway the badgers can get access to it-such as in the trough etc). The badger population will be killing itself if we don’t intervene (I would bring in the basis of fox control-but this could open another can of worms!). It is in fact for their own good that we help them to avoid this, by managing their population for them. Yes, we have no doubt created an environment to successfully expand their population, by indirectly providing them food (on farm), but also by slowly pushing them closer together as development and construction of houses etc, takes there environment away. Now, unless you are a person that has no consumption or use of bovine related products, I don’t see how you could expect to receive these whilst farming doesn’t intensify. Yes, the close proximity of cattle will of course rapidly increase rate of spread, hence why all the testing of herd and the culling of infected ones.
Im glad you mentioned that you will ‘legally’ try and stop the cull. It would be good if your fellow antis would do the same. Then the cost of this cull wouldn’t be so much. £2.5m to be exact (£1300 per badger). Purely to prevent trespassers and people interfering with a legal cull. I am disgusted by how few were prosecuted given in any normal circumstance, criminal charges would have been brought against them. All this shows is that they can continue to do it and get away with it. Then in addition to put their lives at danger and the marksmen constantly worrying about if people were about in the culling area.
Your comment about vets not having a clue about whether badgers have tb is quite frankly ridiculous and infact insulting. To say that only Owen Paterson did, you are clearly deluded. In fact, it is another mark on the chalk board of your unfounded facts and stupidity. There are firstly blood tests that can be done and secondly and more simply, it is clear to see on dissection of the lung. How do you think slaughterhouses discover it?did you realise that when the badgers are shot, they are then taken to the labs to be tested and assessed to see the incidence of tb. Therefore, his statement about majority of badgers being in late stages of tb was based on pure scientific data.
Mr hastings, im not at all offended by your remark as your lack of comment purely shows you have nothing to prove against this. I in fact brought my son into this debate deliberately to see the reaction it would have, whereby those that have no facts or anything to support their argument with, will use such a simple and meaningless comment as a way of believing this is a good enough response in the debate to justify your position. You have merely proven your weakness in using such a comment that bares not a minuscule amount of useful comment to throw into the debate that hold any ground in your opinion. I would feel highly offended by your fellow antis on showing up your sides pathetic attempt at comebacks, merely proving your worthless opinion. The fact I have written so much in response is an indicator of my superior knowledge of my side of the debate and the strength in my belief, knowing it is founded on facts and hard data than throw away comments and band wagon properganda!
Observation. You mentioned about farmers losing out, but of all the ones that I know or have seen/heard about, that did go out of business because of tb, blame it entirely on the lack of government action on the matter. They would not have lost it had the labour government grabbed a pair of balls and dealt with this matter in the first place rather then chase the vote of those that it doesn’t affect and who are misinformed of the situation. They didn’t want to take the position of doing something that could cause some unhappiness, but ensuring long term viability. I would rather vote in a government that thought more about tomorrow than today. They are all so worried about maintaining their jobs in parliament, they will do anything to keep people happy. Surely we vote in people to take the right action (which in some cases we don’t always know is right) but we vote for their trust and doing it for the better of the country (rather than themselves). A true leader is somebody prepared to take such risks but knowing that long term, the only risk is to not take action at all. Think about the likes of Churchill etc, he knew it would be the hardest decision to send people to war to be killed, but knew long term, great Britain would be better for it and as I stand here today, he was so very right. This sort of leadership should be applied in all manners of politics, however big or small, as one day, if not acted upon, could be far greater problem than it ever started off to be. Such an example is….funnily enough…TB!!!! Due to the inaction, we now stand here today, having slaughtered 35,000 cattle last year, with a TB bill estimated to rise to £1bn in the next 10 years. It has already cost £500m.
I think I might have to stop here, but feel I have answered all the responses above and will gladly wait for those who may have as a decent amount of response to give back-assuming they have anything to say back. I believe that given the time this has taken to write, I have hopefully enlightened those who did not know so much about the issue but can now take a more stronger approach to their opinion when they have facts and data to hand, rather than a barrage of anti properganda, basing it on purely the use emotions rather than the truth.
14-11-2014 15:36 PM | Posted by reg pollard
thankyou clued -up, for pointing out a couple of facts to our Brainwashed, farmer friend,although as you are probably aware this will be a waste of your time, as these people only allowed to believe what NFU,preach to them, there is an old saying in Yorkshire, ' you can't educate pork '.
16-11-2014 12:27 PM | Posted by observation
if figures of cost per badger killed,just released are correct, how the hell Can NFU & Deafra, justify this shambolic cull, would it not make Sense to Vaccinate, or is that to obvious, no wonder the culling company are rubbing their hands at the though of rolling out the cull areas next year,hope all the Farmers involved in this Cull have got plenty of Money to Waste,cos that is exactly what you are doing.
17-11-2014 13:57 PM | Posted by Clued-Up
@observation Re "hope all the Farmers involved in this Cull have got plenty of Money to Waste" ... sadly, most of the money that's being wasted on the badger cull comes directly or indirectly from the taxpayers' wallets!

The "direct" costs come from all the government badger cull expenditure. Shockingly, it's now clear from DEFRA's Freedom of Information replies that the government has actually paid some of the badger killing costs (which they had told MPs and the public repeatedly would be met entirely by "the farmers")- see their last reply to Jaime King.

Then there's the "indirect" costs. Killing badgers doesn't reduce cattle bTB, bTB cattle vaccination is predicted to effect major reductions in cattle bTB, so is targeted action to stop the bTB "super-spreader" cattle farms spreading their disease burden to other farms.

DEFRA "can't afford" to run the UK cattle vaccination trials it promised to run this year, presumably because it's wasted the money paying near £10 million on killing badgers. DEFRA's resisting taking any effective action on the bTB "super spreader" farms (they haven't said why).

It's the taxpayers who compensate farmers for all the present and future extra bTB losses they've incurred because DEFRA hasn't taken the cattle measures against bTB that work and is wasting their money pointlessly killing badgers.
17-11-2014 16:36 PM | Posted by reg pollard
mindyourownbusiness, regarding illegal cattle movement, there was a Documentary on BBC 1 October 2013, called Inside out, about how North Farmers were concerned about cattle being transported from southern farmers in hi risk tb areas,to farmers in the north east and Cumbria, at all times of day and night,according to farmers there was no paper -work,& all payments were cash,no questions asked,according to farmers,NFU & Deathra, were fully aware of what was going on and turned a blind eye, not long after this programme was aired,there was an outbreak of Tb on a farm in HAS SWELL co,Durham, Fair play to farmers,they acknowledged the outbreak was caused by Cattle Movement,you can catch this on youtube.
17-11-2014 18:34 PM | Posted by Clued-Up
Glory be!

At long last, DEFRA (including their Chief Scientist) have ADMITTED the right way to eradicate cattle bTB is to adopt the Warwick Model strategy on TOUGHER CATTLE CONTROLS AND BETTER ON-FARM BIOSECURITY.

They've ADMITTED that badgers are at most only responsible for 5.7% cattle bTB, the remaining amount being due to cattle and cattle management issues.

The information about DEFRA's climb down comes from an article about the Stoneleigh Conference, written by Alastair Driver in today's "Farmers Guardian". It's titled as "Farmers facing 'more pain' in fight to combat bovine TB".

The article explains DEFRA is considering a range of measures to ramp up TB controls in England such as a move to compulsory six-month herd testing in Cheshire, a more severe interpretation of the TB skin test and compulsory post-movement testing. DEFRA is also looking at wider use of partial and whole-herd slaughter for persistent outbreaks

Defra’s Chief Scientist cited research suggesting direct spread from badgers could account for as little as 6 per cent of cattle bTB breakdowns.

Prof Boyd outlined the range of measures required to control bTB, including new cattle controls, cattle genetics, improved TB tests, farm biosecurity badger population control and vaccination.

Malla Hovi, head of veterinary advice from Defra/APHA’s TB Programme, said TB testing had been ratcheted up In England’s Edge Area but more attention need to be given to picking infection in the High Risk Area, where 90 per cent of the infection lies. She said it was clear the risk of onward TB spread was reduced if the disease was detected sooner in herds.

Outlining various measures under consideration to ramp up cattle measures, she said a more severe interpretation of the skin test was likely to be introduced for surveillance and breakdown tests.

The NFU and DEFRA's Chief Scientist are putting the best face they can on this change of path (eg they still talk about badger culling as part of their approach) but DEFRA is announcing at Stoneleigh a complete reversal of their previous approach. It's very welcome - but it's overdue.

We now know the badger cull has taken up £10 million of DEFRA's resources (money that could have been much better spent)and wasted 3 years in the battle against cattle bTb. It's cost the lives of many good cattle that might have been saved if the Warwick Model cattle bTB eradication programme had been introduced much earlier.
18-11-2014 17:25 PM | Posted by mindyourownbusiness
My biggest question to any of you is: Do any of you own cattle? Have any of you felt what it is like to see your business being sent off to slaughter under your nose.You all sit there, blasting out your opinions whilst none of this truly affects you. You want everything and give nothing. You want cheap food at the highest quality but you also want to practically run our business for us, but in fact just get us to be your puppets in your pathetic bureaucratic show. History has shown us that sitting around talking about thinsg rather than implementing it, has achieved nothing. You have no idea what it feels like to have seen years and years of this saga going on and on and nothing being done, to seeing more and more of your prize business getting taken away from you. Our livestock is not valued at its true value. There are industry standard figures and that is what we get, regardless of bloodlines or any other thoughts to the true value or true cost that taking that animal away will cost us. We are then expected to reinvest to make up for this. We see our investments of years of dedicated breeding taken away by a single bullet. We will never have that again, we lose that work forever. We are then expected to innovate and move with the times but right in front of us, have it all taken away. We are succumb to a voice of those that it doesn’t affect, to control our livelihood. This has no real impact on you. For us, its our lives, our future, our childrens future, our ancestors past, this country’s future, this country’s self sufficiency, this country’s food security. All being lost because the voices of those that it has no affect to have a greater voice than ours. It is no different to racism. We are the minority, you are the majority. Your thoughts are you will win in numbers and not in true fairness. I bet if we were coloured, you would think differently. But we are an easy target, you have bullied us before, you will do it again. Is that what you taught your children???to bully the minority????
I have not said that culling is the only answer, it is part of it. But at least it is something we can get on with immediately and has instant results. We already cull 35,000 cows a year…is that not enough for you. Maybe we should wipe all of them out???Maybe you prefer imported stuff, from non assured, low standards, untraceable sources. Maybe your taste buds and morals are no longer in existence?(I would only assume that breeding within your circles has created this loss-such is the problem of breeding….. which none of you truly understand….the years/decades it takes to get the best traits, to meet the demands of the consumers ever changing tastes and habits). We work tirelessly to provide for others, to scrape a living together to provide for our families. Whilst, seeing the likes of you lot pull from under our feet. We keep ourselves in the country, you keep yours in the town. I curse the day that the prosperity of those from urban environments allowed them to have 2nd homes in our beloved countryside. To then stick their 2 cents into every matter, of which they may only stay for the weekend (only on sunny days though) for it to affect them. We work in the place we live. We tend to and look after this land…. Our land. We own it, no different to your house and garden, this is ours. Do we have a say on how you tend to your house and garden, to how you live…NO!So why do you feel you can do the same to us?
We already jumped through numerous hoops and trawl and fill out stacks of paperwork to abide by all these rules that others have imposed onto us. We are here to provide to others but are treated as if we steal it. We have to rent new farms and land to split our animals up to prevent the spread (this is at our cost, and is at our own decision to help prevent this). We do our upmost to prevent the spread in our own herd. But we get nothing back. We do all of this, but our hardwork is undone because of the interaction of uncontrolled species, that have overpopulated themselves due to lack of natural predation and the perfect environment we provide for them. They would not even consider interacting with farm if they hadn’t already over utilised their natural environment. In fact, the nature of urban sprawl is what is taking away their habits. Those that want to live in a rural commuter village, to gain all the benefits out of our environment, but give nothing back except constant criticism and grief.
The reason we are so far in this mess is because no previous government had the guts to actually man up to the problem in hand and deal with it. They swept it under the carpet for fear of causing upset amongst their voters. As the saying goes, you have to crack some eggs to make an omelette. It is short term pain for long term gain. But infact all that has happened is short term gain for long term pain (for us farmers!). This problem could have been sorted ages ago but no one had the balls to roll up their sleeves and do something about it. The pathetic government that you lot elected years ago, led us to this problem. We are an embarrassment to other nations as to how badly we have allowed this to get. It is a shambles and a damn right shamn. But finally, someone has decided to actually do something. It may not be the be all end all, but its something. More than you lot do, sitting here, being critical, whilst being oblivious to the truth, to those it affects, to those it hurts, to those that feed you.
Yes, further things need to be done. Of course, vaccination would be great, but its not ready. SO what do we do. Sit and wait whilst this endemic gets worse, whilst us farmers lose what little we have left? Maybe you would gladly pay for us to do nothing, to pay us a living, to pay for our true business costs, so we can wait till a vaccination is ready. Perhaps, you would rather eat imported, non assured, poor quality, low welfare produce instead. Perhaps you like eating beef burgers which in fact could have god knows what in it (maybe horse!!!). We have world reknown quality produce, which other nations respect and appreciate, but our own people don’t. You would rather run us to the ground to get your sad pathetic kicks in life cos you have such empty ones yourself, that you want to bring others down with you, to make yourself feel better. You want to bite the hand that feeds you. The ones that looked after this green and pleasant land that the whole world admires. The one that us farmers worked hard for you and them to enjoy. To feast off our labour. To then kick us down at our weakest point.
Maybe, instead of being destructive, be constructive. Maybe, instead of being reactive, be proactive. Work with us, not against us. We have battled hell and high water to maintain our industry for the nations sake, because we are proud in what we do, because at least others (other than people like you) actually respect us for it. Why don’t we look beyond the emotive issues in all of this and actually see where this is taking us.
On a final note, I will accept that I was shocked by the figures produced about the cull. I am unsure of how this got so big. I know that 30-40% of it was purely for policing it. Im sure that a great deal of it was also down to the wasteful cost of the long drawn out arduous process of discussing this over and over again, to have no actual progress or anything good come of it. For any thought of a solution to be knocked down by the band of so called do gooders. It would be interesting to know where the other cost come from as from my knowledge as a rifle owner, the cost of a bullet is about 60-80p, depending of what calibre they were using. So with the number killed, multiplied by this cost, plus to adjust to misses etc, along with the costs to pay the gun men, I cannot see how this could have cost millions except unless it includes all the bureaucracy that went with this whole thing.
But lets put this into context. I don’t know if you had recently received your annual tax summary from the government, about where you money from taxes goes, but from what I remember, something like more than 50% goes on welfare. That’s yours and my money going to others. I don’t know what this actual total tax pot it, but assume its in the £100’s of billions. So when we talk about £10m, its a lot to you and I indivually but in proportion to everything else, is probably a matter of pennies out of your pocket. But instead, I have £1000’s going out of my pocket to pay for others. Where is the benefit to me? Yes, I realise there are people who are unable to work for whatever reason, but I am funding other people to do nothing. Yet, when it comes to a miniscule amount dedicated to solving a solution for the wider farming environment, everyone is up in arms. But we encourage others to not work, have kids etc because we have a system that will allow it and pays them for it. Have we not got bigger fish to fry in the whole scheme of things?I know every penny counts, but we need to look at the bigger picture if we are worried about wasting money. If we focus on the minor things, the major things get unnoticed and have the greatest effect on the future of the economy. I don’t know how the costs of the cull have got so high, but I think I need to see more broken down detail to fully understand it before commenting. But I do think that context needs to be taken if we are focussing the waste of money issue. I feel that this is only fueling the anti campaign, but ultimately doesn’t tell the full story. Nor puts things into perspective. We will waste £1bn in the next 10 years (that’s £100 million a year) on doing nothing. We have already wasted £500 million. By those figures, £10m doesn’t seem so bad and I don’t believe it was a total waste. Yes perhaps there could be a lot of places where costs shouldn’t have got out of control, one of them being the policing costs. If people didn’t break the law and trespass and endanger themselves and others, we wouldn’t have had this as such a large cost. Perhaps those that broke the law should be paying some sort of fee to help recoup this cost back?
In summary, I hope you are proud of what you have done to others, whilst sitting there, ranting on about something that ultimately affects you in very little way. Perhaps, if you have time (im sure you are busy in the production of further properganda in your assault against us) but maybe take a minute and think about working with us than against us. Yes, the cull is not the only answer (I have said this before) but it’s a start and perhaps if we didn’t spend so much time and focus on this one issue, we might actually be able to get on and get the other potential solutions rolling. For us, its about whether we can survive to be doing what we are doing tomorrow, not next year. By then, it could be too late. But by seeing that some action is being taken, however a big effect it has or not, at least we have a glimmer of hope to ride it out (which we have been doing for god knows how long-so we are getting pretty good at it… though getting to the end of our stamina) and be there on the other side when we are out of it all.
I apologise for my venting in my previous replies, but when you have been driven to the end by this whole saga, it is very hard to control your emotions. You see, I face my family on a daily basis, trying to maintain a strong face to show that we will get through it and the future is bright. But those muscles are getting weaker by the day and seeing people toss this issue around, stabbing at it in everyway, it starts to hurt. Then backlash occurs, anger gets the better and the rage of abuse starts against those that threaten your livelihood. Please find some place in your thoughts as to what this is doing to others and that actually though on the outset, it can seem wrong etc, underneath it all, it is actually progress, however big or small. And perhaps, if we all saw that, we could then focus our attention on the next stage rather than stall at this stage. We have seen countless years of stalling in discussions. Finally, a minor breakthrough and already the threat of stalling again. The problem s getting worse by the minute. Time is running out. We need to get on top of this and make some inroads into reducing its devastation before its too late.
19-11-2014 08:15 AM | Posted by observation
everyone feel sorry for the poor farmers, its always about the poor farmers, doesn't matter what happens,the farmers are always Wright,everyone else wrong
19-11-2014 11:01 AM | Posted by mindyourownbusiness
We aren't asking you to feel sorry, we are asking for people like you 'observation' to keep your bloody nose out of what you have no idea about unless you are prepared to know the real facts, the truth, what the impact really has. Maybe spend just one day on a livestock farm, you wouldn't last! The grit and determination and dedication would engulf you. Your attitude is exactly the reason this country is in the sham its in. You sit there, with no respect, no care! I wish we had compulsory conscription, it would break the weak and pathetic people like you that drag our country down. You contribute nothing but negativity and criticism. You have nothing constructive to bring. Your sad and pathetic existence has meant you feel you need to drag those others down with you, that have done something in their life, have been constructive and created a positive motion for out nation.
The real problem/ threat in any issue such as this, is people like you who get in the way of things and obstruct progress to feel like they have a purpose in life, but bring nothing positive and productive to the table.
On a separate note, get some English lessons!!! it's right not 'wright'!!!
19-11-2014 13:24 PM | Posted by Clued-Up

I've a lot of sympathy with how you FEEL, both about the threat of bTB breakdowns to your cattle and livelihood and about your farm's future being something you have very little control over.

I can understand if you feel somewhat sceptical about the sympathy I'm expressing - but it IS real for all that. I realise most small and medium-size farmers are only one financial crisis away from losing their farms and homes. It's a dreadful way to live.

The wrong solution doesn't help anyone, however ... and the more delay there is in applying the right solution, the more pain and cost there is for everyone. That's the position we're in.

The UK's leading scientists were unanimous in TELLING DEFRA, the NFU and the public that the only effective way to reduce cattle bTB was through tighter cattle controls and their planned badger cull wouldn't reduce cattle bTB by any meaningful amount.

The scientists were backed up in what they said by our earlier UK agricultural history (discussed here), by the results of the RCBT programme, by a meta-data analysis of the causes of bTB herd breakdown at farm level, by umpteen pieces of research showing how little direct interaction there is between badgers and cattle ....

DEFRA and the NFU went ahead with their badger cull regardless of all the scientific, historical and Welsh evidence that badgers have damn all to do with cattle bTB.

The NFU resisted for as long as possible all the cattle controls that are now reducing cattle bTB.

DEFRA didn't push these effective cattle controls until the EU forced them to do so (by saying its grants would be withheld if DEFRA continued to be so supine and passive).

In my view, DEFRA and the NFU leadership's behaviour have betrayed the farming community. Both DEFRA and the NFU have cost cattle farmers an increased risk of bTB breakdowns on their farms for up to 3 years because they delayed the right cattle controls and because they've wasted so much time and taxpayers' money killing badgers.
19-11-2014 20:30 PM | Posted by john tuck
Is there a "scientist" out there who can explain why the badger culls at Thornbury and Steeple Leaze were so successful? who can explain how the "perturbation effect" noted in the RBCTrials works if cattle are infecting each other. Explain why the infected cattle that are allegedly infecting their herdmates (and they must have TB lesions to be infectious) are not being identified in slaughterhouses.
Explain why data emerging from the RBCTrials revealed the beneficial effects of culling badgers were longer lasting than the detrimental effects of perturbation. The ISG report concluded that the losses from the perturbation effect nearly cancelled out the gains from culling and that is why they recommended that culling was not the way forward, but they never reported on the later evidence.
20-11-2014 14:21 PM | Posted by mindyourownbusiness
'clued-up', thank you for your sympathy, but as said earlier, this is not what I came here to achieve. the last thing I want is people feeling sorry for me. Im a strong person, sympathy is a sign of weakness. You only make it in farming with this attitude. I don't have sympathy for my livestock because that indicates that they are suffering. I do my utmost to give them the best life. The don't suffer this cull, they are dead in seconds from a single bullet. They were oblivious and perfectly fine beforehand.
'john tuck' has proven just what the truth is. These so called scientists, are those that sit in labs and on computors. They aren't on the ground, seeing it for themselves. How does a computer know about the interaction of badgers and cattle. Have they spent one evening/night in a farm yard or out in the fields?
you talk about tighter controls?What do you feel needs to be done more? We are shut down for 60 days between tests and have 3 tests to pass before the all clear. How is that not a tight control. We have the whole herd prevented from moving because of a possible inconclusive. As mr tuck as said, the tb spread would be more evident among cattle if it were true but the slaughterhouses have no said otherwise. The blood test does not determine whether it is TB or not. It brings out that it shows that there is an infection but not what its is (from a number of different possibilities).
Who will pay for us to not be able to move or sell cattle?
Another interesting case study is that of Killerton estate, proving just how useless the badger vaccination program was, when they fell down to TB after a 4 yr vaccination program. Badgers move about and with that, they move the disease. They are overpopulated, they push other badgers closer to places that they were not intended to be (around farms). We have created a protected environment for them that has shot ourselves in the foot. They are spreading like wildfire in their own populations due to the close interaction of their overpopulated communities. They then spread further afield, interact with other badgers and the problem continues. You keep talking about restricting cattle control, the only restriction that are needed is that of the badgers to stop taking the disease further afield. We don't want to eliminate them, we just want them down to the sustainable levels-not just for us but actually for them. If you know anything about wildlife control, you will know that in many cases we have to intervene and control the population for the benefit of the future of that species as well as for other species. Just look at the issues we have with corvids. People blame farming for the reduction in small birds etc, but it is the explosion of corvids such as crows that are to blame. Badgers are diminishing the food reserves for other species and also consuming them. Therefore, this cull is a multi-pronged benefit to the greater good for many others.
20-11-2014 18:27 PM | Posted by David Hastings
can't understand why you farmers are still farming, it appears you all know more about BTB,than any Scientists, i detect a pure hatred of badgers from mindyourownbusiness,but what else would you expect from a farmer.
21-11-2014 10:14 AM | Posted by john tuck
You seem unable David Hastings to distinguish between scientists OPINIONS and FACTS. There is a difference! Where is the scientist that can explain the FACTS in my posting 19-11-2014 20:30 PM | Posted by john tuck. More facts for the scientists to consider - Why did the methods that gained us TB free status in the 1980's and keeps many countries worldwide free of the disease, cease to be effective after badgers were made a protected species
21-11-2014 19:11 PM | Posted by Clued-Up
@john tuck
Scientists are very careful to distinguish between the FACTS they can prove (because the evidence is conclusive) and OPINION, theirs or other people's.

It's part of basic scientific training (even at lowly first degree level) for scientists to be required to show in detail how they did the experimental work they did, what results they got, etc so that other scientists can check for errors / potential weaknesses in their work.

It's commonplace for scientific papers to highlight areas of doubt and to explain how those doubts might be further investigated.

What a scientist says about a specific fact can generally be trusted. What someone untrained in scientific methods - or unwilling to practise them - says about a specific fact may be much less trustworthy. They often don't see the flaws in particular arguments and lack the knowledge base that might make them question further their own thinking.

It's a basic saying in science that "correlation DOES NOT equal causation". Your argument about the low number of bTB cases late 1960s to early 1980s only "works" if correlation DOES equal causation. There are so many factors you simply haven't taken into account, any one of which could have had an unknown impact on the patterns of bTB disease. We know, for example, there was a switch to using Holsteins rather than Friesians (and Holsteins are genetically more vulnerable to bTB); that herd size became larger (typically there's more bTB cross-infection in larger herds); and so on. Unless your "experimental design" can measure these "unknowns" or take them out of the equation, then you're making claims about bTB that don't stand up.
23-11-2014 20:52 PM | Posted by john wantling
All these comments concern the theory that bTB is an infectious disease but do cows and badgers actually suffer from infectious diseases? I hardly think so. As we all know, the mode of transmission is unknown so says Professor David Macdonald and Lord Krebs, so all these comments that point to the mode of transmission being air-borne or urine are only theoretical. The reason why we cannot find the mode of transmission over 40/60 years of cutting edge research is because there is no mode of transmission because bTB is not infectious. Take note that the tests don't say that the test results are caused by an infectious disease, this is all assumed or based on hearsay. Its a giant leap in infectious faith. This is the harsh reality, and so if this is so, we are not slaughtering diseased badgers or diseased cows, we are slaughtering healthy cows and healthy badgers. Now that is a monumental blunder but this is the reality. Don't depend on these test results, they are meaningless, but all the 'science' is based on them. That is a monumental blunder in science. Read an article by Tim Green titled 'Bovine TB, Badgers and a Permaculture Perspective'. John Wantling, Rochdale Badger Cull - TB not Infectious
24-11-2014 10:28 AM | Posted by john tuck
@ Clued-UP. THE SCIENCE that all the anti badger cull fraternity keep quoting is the Random Badger Culling Trials. There was (and still is) a strong suspicion that the methodology of those trials was deliberately intended to produce inconclusive results. In those trials no estimate of the number of badgers in the trial areas was made prior to their commencement. No target for the number of badgers to be removed was set. The areas set changed while the trials were in progress. The whole trial was halted midway for about a year because of 2001 foot and mouth epidemic. Half the traps used in the trials were either damaged or stolen by persons with an interest in manipulating the results. And you call that science?
The one proven fact to emerge from those trials was the "perturbation effect" caused by badgers moving voluntarily from their usual haunts because of partial culling, or involuntarily by the criminals who interfered with or stole the traps and infecting cattle in the areas to which they moved, and that John Wantling should be good enough evidence that TB is most definitely an infectious disease.
24-11-2014 12:53 PM | Posted by john tuck
Please Clued-Up could you supply the scientifically authenticated source of "Holsteins are genetically more vulnerable to bTB" than Friesians. Then explain why that should make any difference at all when the skin test simply identifies those individuals that have met the disease. From where do you get the evidence that there is more cross infection in bigger herds?
25-11-2014 14:18 PM | Posted by Clued-Up
@john tuck

I've been able to chase up part of the references which answer your information request but still haven't got to the bit which says Friesians were more resistant to bTB than Holsteins. I'm very sorry about that. I've been able to track down references showing Holsteins are much more genetically susceptible to bTB than zebu and other types of cattle but that's not what you asked!

Helpful references and quotes:-

DEFRA’s “The Strategy for achieving Officially Bovine Tuberculosis Free status for England April 2014”

Pedigree analysis funded by Defra has shown evidence of genetic variation to bTB susceptibility within Holsteins in the UK.

13 February 2014
"Breakthrough on bovine TB"

Scottish scientists are behind a breakthrough which could allow farmers to breed cattle with increased resistance to a disease which in England and Wales now costs taxpayers nearly £160million a year to deal with.

Research led by Edinburgh University’s Roslin Institute has identified the genetic traits responsible for conferring resistance to bovine tuberculosis (bTB)...

The scientific study, led by the Roslin and also involving Northern Ireland’s Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and Belfast’s Queen’s University, compared the genetic code of bTB-infected Holstein-Friesian cows with those of the same breed and which were disease-free. The work identified a number of genetic signatures associated with bTB resistance in the cows that remained unaffected.

The latest study builds on previous research by the Roslin, which showed that some cattle might be more resistant to bTB because of their genetic make-up.

Your point about whether its true genetic vulnerability or simply animals that have met the disease is answered by this Alastair Driver article:-

"Genetics could help halt the spread of bovine TB" 10 September 2009

In a paper, recently published on the Defra website, the scientists say it is ‘clear’ from their research that ‘genetics can play an important role in control strategies for TB’. They suggest selection for bTB resistance could reduce the number of herd breakdowns and the severity of them when they do occur....

A ‘quantitative genetic analysis’ was carried out on the data to establish whether their genetic make-up affected the likelihood of them being resistant to bTB.

Variance of risk

The results showed about 16 per cent of ‘variance of risk’ of an individual Holstein Friesian in the study being confirmed as a reactor in a TB test was due to its genetics.

Similar results were obtained when it came to the link between genetics and an animal being confirmed with disease through observation of lesions or bacterial tests. This eliminated the possibility the genetic variation identified was linked to reactivity to the test, rather than susceptibility to disease.

To illustrate the genetic variability, researchers gave an example of an imaginary herd in which 7 per cent of cattle had been culled out during a bTB breakdown - the average figure in their data.

While the most resistant animal would have only a 1 per cent chance of being culled, the least resistant would face a 22 per cent chance, according the analysis.

25-11-2014 14:33 PM | Posted by Clued-Up
@john tuck

Please see "Risk factors for herd breakdown with bovine tuberculosis in 148 cattle herds in the south west of England" by
Ramírez Villaescusa, Ana, Medley, Graham, Mason, Sam (Sam A.) and Green, Laura E. (2010)

Risk factors for herd breakdown with bovine tuberculosis in 148 cattle herds in the south west of England. Preventative Veterinary Medicine, Vol.95 (No.3-4). pp. 224-230. ISSN 0167-5877

... A retrospective cohort study of 148 cattle herds was set up to investigate risk factors for HBD from October 2001 to November 2004. Herds were selected from farms located in the randomised badger culling trial (RBCT) and comprised holdings (24%) that were restocked with cattle after the foot and mouth disease (FMD) epidemic in 2001 and holdings (76%) that were continuously stocked throughout the FMD epidemic. Farmers were interviewed between June 2003 and February 2004. Questions on herd and farm management were asked for the period October 2001 to June 2003. Data on herd testing for bTB were sourced from the VetNet database and historic data from 1995 were used in the analysis. A discrete time survival analysis was used to examine factors associated with the risk of HBD. By the end of the study period. November 2004, 50% of study herds had experienced a HBD with bTB at least once. Farms that were restocked for less than 1 year after FMD had a reduced risk of HBD (P < 0.01) compared with continuously stocked farms in the same year. This reduced risk did not persist after 1 year of restocking. Feeding vitamin and mineral lick supplements compared with not feeding these supplements also reduced the risk of HBD. Factors associated with an increased risk of HBD were storing manure and slurry indoors or in a closed container, spreading manure all year round, herds with dairy cattle compared with herds without dairy cattle, INCREASING HERD SIZE, purchase of cattle from markets, location of the farm in the proactive area of the RBCT compared with survey only and location of farms in Somerset and North Devon. The lower risk of HBD in the first year after restocking but not the second or third year suggests that removal of all cattle might have lowered the infectious load of M. bovis on these premises for a period of time but that this did not persist once cattle were reintroduced....

The information about larger bTB risks in increased herd sizes comes from ordinary background knowledge. Infectious diseases spread more easily and sustain themselves better when there are many potential victims close by - that's why TB patients used to be cared for in quarantine hospitals.
25-11-2014 14:45 PM | Posted by Clued-Up
@john tuck

Scientists' livelihoods and professional reputations depend on their providing accurate, unbiased scientific data, no matter what pressures are placed on them. When they fail to live up to that standard, they're ruined and face the justifiable anger and contempt of their fellow scientists.

Rubbishing the very high quality work and results of the RCBT programme because they don't help your cause won't convince any reasonably well-informed, fair-minded person.

Would also say that "perturbation" remains a theory, an attempt to explain puzzling data. The "perturbation" theory hasn't been proved as scientific fact, there's probably no way of testing it ...
06-11-2014 01:06 AM
Lack of engineers a 'ticking time bomb' for agriculture
18-11-2014 18:08 PM | Posted by Peter Oldham
In 1962 I went to Rycotewood College, Thame, Oxon then onto the National College of Agricultural Engineering, Silsoe, Beds, and truthfully this report could be a reprint of what was being said at the time, so clearly little progress has been made in this last 50 or so years. Why?
I am a dairy farmer now so I will not enter this debate but let's have an input from you arable lads and dealers what needs to be done and what could be done.
I never found (had) a job in the Agricultural Engineering industry perhaps because I was on the wrong side of the Pennines but as I think back my geographic immobility at 20 years old was an issue.
Offering a job to anyone is a step into the unknown but to a young person it is not stress free so I understand the reluctance of many employers to steer clear of this, but, we all had our first job so we know what it felt like and reflecting back what a (potential) liability we were.
Do we need government help?, and by that I mean a lot less Health and Safety and minimum pay and Local Authority interference.
Sorry I have rambled on
05-11-2014 10:11 AM
We will continue to use all the options available to fight TB - Eustice
05-11-2014 12:33 PM | Posted by reg pollard
wish George ' useless Eustace ' could come up with a new sentence for his idiotic identical speeches,seems the only sentence he knows is ' we have to use every tool in the box ' does this idiotic moronic excuse for a man not know Owen Paterson is no longer in charge of slaughtering badgers, he can now use his own saying,if he has the brain to think of one.
05-11-2014 20:40 PM | Posted by Clued-Up
It's thoroughly depressing when the same old untruths are trotted out time and time again by DEFRA's ministers and the NFU leadership. It's even more depressing when cattle farmers and Tory MPs let them get away with it.

Fact 1: DEFRA's still refusing to use the most effective bTB control options for eradicating cattle bTB.

More than 80% cattle bTB could be wiped out in 5 years if DEFRA took these three steps:-

(1) EITHER using the bTB blood test to replace the bTB skin test (which misses one in four infected cattle); OR setting up annual bTB testing throughout the UK

(2) Targeting the 10% cattle farms which are "bTB super-spreaders" for intensive action to remove the risks they currently pose for everyone else involved in cattle farming; and

(3) introducing English cattle vaccination trials ASAP (the Welsh will be starting theirs next year).

Think how many cows and farmers' livelihoods could be saved if DEFRA and the NFU took effective action against cattle bTB instead of wasting money killing badgers!

Fact 2: cattle bTB isn't out of control, thanks to the cattle movement and management controls insisted on by the EU the level of disease is dropping throughout England.

Obviously, the rate of improvement in England is less than a third of that in Wales. We could do as well if we adopted the Welsh approach to eradicating cattle bTB through tighter, enforced cattle controls and improving on-farm biosecurity.
20-11-2014 14:00 PM | Posted by mindyourownbusiness
Surprise surprise, the same two people on this wall!Dont you have anything better to do. and before you say the same as me, I actually use this website for information, news and relevant data for my business, so my time is not wasted.
20-11-2014 17:04 PM | Posted by john tuck
Clued-up (I wish you were)
Fact MAFF did get this country declared TB free before it became DEFRA using the same test we use today. This test keeps N.America, W. Europe, Australia, NZ clear of TB and you want to tell us that they don't know what they're doing but that you do.
Only cattle with TB lesions can be "bTB super-spreaders", so why aren't they turning up in slaughterhouses?
Vaccinate cattle? we haven't got an effective vaccine.
You impress nobody.
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