News Comments
19-12-2014 01:55 AM
Animal charities 'deeply disappointed' as Defra endorses next cull
19-12-2014 11:49 AM | Posted by Oscar
Your paper is vey selective of of the comments they wish to publish. I guess only pro cull are accepted
19-12-2014 11:54 AM | Posted by farmer fred
can't understand what all the fuss is about culling badgers, i personally would not pay so called marksmen to come on my land to sort out my problem,farmers are behaving like a bunch of school children, i & many farmers i know have been controlling badgers for years,at zero costs.
19-12-2014 12:25 PM | Posted by Oscar
The chief vet must have some kind of incentive for ignoring scientific data and going against normal thinking and caring vets. Shame on him.
20-12-2014 10:17 AM | Posted by john tuck
@ Oscar
The Thornbury and Steeple Leaze culls proved culling diseased badgers works. The Random Badger Culling Trials proved that even partial culling improves the situation. The perturbation effect noted in the areas around those culled in those trials proves that badgers do carry TB and infect cattle. Trials of severe cattle measures in West Penwith FAILED to eliminate bTB. Now tell me that none of this was "scientific" and that it is not abnormal to insist that you can eliminate the disease in one species by culling while leaving it festering in wildlife that are free to roam.
18-12-2014 11:01 AM
Government determined to continue with culling, says Truss
18-12-2014 12:23 PM | Posted by john tuck
No doubt the friends of mycobacterium bovis will be airing their usual concoction of selected "science", half truths and downright lies to attack this announcement. If you really have the welfare of badgers at heart, you will want the culling done as quickly and efficiently as possible and grieve that it wasn't done years ago when the affected areas were much smaller. The disease is spreading slowly northwards and eastwards and every delay in tackling it will make the ensuing cull (and there will be one, there is no viable alternative) more widespread and bloody. If you protest against it you cannot be a friend of the badger.
20-12-2014 10:17 AM | Posted by Chris D
"Concoction of selected 'science', half truths and downright lies". Yup, sounds like the government's justification for the cull to me. Why don't you check the Welsh figures and those from non - cull areas. Oh wait these would be facts not congruent with your opinion.
Here's another: The only expert opinion advocating a continuation is that of Gibbens, a guy with a vested interest in telling the government what they want to hear. Independent experts with no such motivation curiously disagree. Odd that, no?
20-12-2014 13:04 PM | Posted by john tuck
@ Chris D
The Thornbury and Steeple Leaze culls proved culling diseased badgers works. The Random Badger Culling Trials proved that even partial culling improves the situation. The perturbation effect noted in the areas around those culled in those trials proves that badgers do carry TB and infect cattle. Trials of severe cattle measures in West Penwith FAILED to eliminate bTB. Now tell me that none of this was "scientific". Name a country that has achieved TB free status while allowing infected wildlife to roam free. Facts, facts, facts are infinitely more valuable than the opinion of scientists.
What facts do these allegedly "independent experts" base their opinions on?
18-12-2014 00:54 AM
SRUC and Edinburgh University ranked 'most powerful' in agricultural research
20-12-2014 10:17 AM | Posted by Momanyi Kelvin Nyariaro
This is an outstanding ranking by the University of Edinburgh. Bravo!
17-12-2014 09:51 AM
MPs question rural broadband coverage delays
17-12-2014 14:36 PM | Posted by alistair gordon
some good points made and particularily over use of alternatives - alas the speed of roll out to poorly serviced areas still witheringly slow - eg Somerset
17-12-2014 14:37 PM | Posted by Simon
Broadband suppliers should also make it easier to increase the speed of slow rural broadband. I want to do broadband bonding but BT are clueless to support me even though I am happy to pay for additional lines into my house.
17-12-2014 19:54 PM | Posted by Ed Grimshaw
The roll out of broadband for most of us that live 3 miles from a town is a disaster. The department of culture and media have not held Openreach accountable for a plan. The funding has gone into the publicity rather than the delivery of a decent service.
20-12-2014 10:17 AM | Posted by TDD
I'm anxious about suggestions of using satellite. Yes it is available everywhere and yes it can be faster than basic broadband. However at £20-£30 per month you're only going to get ~10GB allowance per month. We (family with 2 kids) use that it a week. Before MPs start taking this suggestion seriously they have to know what the capacity limit is.
10-12-2014 01:40 AM
'Light at the end of the tunnel' for UK farming sector
12-12-2014 14:51 PM | Posted by MJK
Its very easy for Mr Naylor, to predict all this good news and cheer. Mr Naylor and his firm Lloyds Bank have put my farm out of business 5 days prior to Christmas 2014. Mr Naylor and his team have demonstrated a distinct lack of understanding of the farming community and are driven by greed and profit. Lloyds Bank are not be recommended to farmers.
09-12-2014 10:22 AM
Gaia-Wind Wins Green Export Award: CEO Warns of Industry Leaving UK
09-12-2014 14:48 PM | Posted by LS_trade1
What were the primary elements of the export strategy? What part of the strategy was most important to expanding exports?
09-12-2014 01:47 AM
Vet support for badger cull falls
09-12-2014 10:31 AM | Posted by Freda Brocks
What's happened to the cull data from this year?
Can defra not even do simple addition sums
09-12-2014 16:39 PM | Posted by Clued-Up
@ Freda Brocks

DEFRA's just desperately hoping we'll all have collective amnesia about the badger cull ....

That's not going to happen. The Upper Tribunal has recently ruled the government MUST publish the badger cull risk - benefits analysis DEFRA drew up with NFU input.

Reading between the lines of the judges' comments on the material put before them and remembering all DEFRA's legal attempts to hide it from the public, that risks-benefits data may be very useful in exposing the real reasons for the badger cull and the motivations of those involved.

The bad news for the badger cull, DEFRA and the NFU just keeps on coming ....

09-12-2014 18:18 PM | Posted by M. Hughes
Culling destroys mostly healthy, disease-free badgers. It is a nonsense policy which risks worsening--not reducing-- bTB spread. If Meurig Raymond really wants to help farmers he should insist on tough measures: enforced biosecurity, effective and more frequent testing, and an end to the purchase of cattle from farms with a long history of TB outbreaks.
10-12-2014 08:29 AM | Posted by reg pollard
Freda,Deathra and Nfu, will be concocting their their lies & much exaggerated figures to make ( what everyone knows is a total shambolic slaughter) to be hugely successful, these moronic lying bunch of half wit's will tell people anything but the truth.
10-12-2014 09:48 AM | Posted by john tuck
@ M. Hughes.
If your statement "Culling destroys mostly healthy, disease-free badgers. It is a nonsense policy which risks worsening--not reducing-- bTB spread" is correct, please could you explain the mechanism by which culling badgers spreads bTB to more cattle.
11-12-2014 18:42 PM | Posted by Clued-Up
@ john tuck

The mechanism is our old friend "perturbation" again ...

As you know from our previous exchange, "perturbation" is a widely-held theory, it's probably not possible to prove the theory scientifically with the tools we have at our disposal today.

IF badgers spread ANY amount of bTB (however minimal) to cattle THEN disrupting badger clans' ability to keep other badgers out of their territory RISKS increasing the disease threat.

That increased risk ONLY exists if perturbation is the right explanation for the increase in cattle bTB at the edge areas observed during RBCT.

Badger clans NORMALLY have very little contact with badgers outside their clan, meaning they quarantine themselves from the risk of incoming disease and have very little chance of passing on disease to any badgers outside the clan.

Badger culling puts surviving members of the clan under extreme stress, depressing the animals' immune systems and making it more likely they'll go down with disease.

It makes the clan too weak to defend its territory against incoming badgers so there's more contact between badger populations and so more risk of disease being spread.

Any fleeing badgers which have - or are at risk of developing - TB will cover a much wider area than they would normally, so disease can be spread over a substantially wider area than would normally happen.
12-12-2014 14:51 PM | Posted by john tuck
So Clued-Up if you are correct that "Badger culling puts surviving members of the clan under extreme stress, depressing the animals' immune systems and making it more likely they'll go down with disease. It makes the clan too weak to defend its territory against incoming badgers so there's more contact between badger populations and so more risk of disease being spread. Any fleeing badgers which have - or are at risk of developing - TB will cover a much wider area than they would normally, so disease can be spread over a substantially wider area than would normally happen." you leave us in no doubt that badgers DO infect cattle with TB.
12-12-2014 18:26 PM | Posted by Clued-Up
@ john tuck

I thought and hoped I'd been clear enough in my post to avoid anyone misunderstanding it; obviously I was wrong.

You've read into my post something I didn't say. Scientists have consistently said for around 35 years that badgers aren't responsible for passing on any significant amount of TB to cattle, cattle bTB is essentially caused by cattle transmitting bTB to other cattle.
15-12-2014 10:31 AM | Posted by john tuck
You're just trying to wriggle out of the situation you've created for yourself Clued-Up. You describe the mechanism by which TB is spread among the badger population. I have no problem with that. Where is the evidence to support this? Who is testing the badgers? The answer to the 2nd question is nobody, and the answer to the 1st is the reactor cattle that are found in the areas to which the infected badgers move.
15-12-2014 13:18 PM | Posted by Clued-Up
@ john tuck

You're deliberately misreading my posts, I think.

I'm hoping some of FarmingUK's dairy and beef farmer readers are more open-minded and will be interested in any ideas that reduce the bTB risks for their cattle. They haven't been well-served by the NFU or DEFRA in my view.

It's long been known the only effective way to reduce cattle bTB is through cattle controls and on-farm biosecurity. Wales is proving that. Year by year Welsh cattle bTB is dropping at a rate approximately 3 times as fast as in England. In 5 years the Welsh have cut their disease burden by half.

The Welsh cattle vaccination trials are beginning in a few months and may transform the way the UK deals with cattle bTB. Instead of being tested every 12 months (or more often) with a flawed skin test, cattle may be vaccinated against bTB once in their lives.




15-12-2014 20:14 PM | Posted by john tuck
For a moment Clued-Up you had us thinking that you'd got your brains in gear, then you revert to type. You explain how TB spreads among badgers, but cannot bring yourself to admit that the only way we have of knowing this is happening is by testing. And the only animals that are tested are cattle. Despite your vague and inaccurate red herrings about what is happening or going to happen in Wales, your explanation of the perturbation effect is sound, even if you can't bring yourself to admit the reasons why we know it is sound.
16-12-2014 09:59 AM | Posted by john tuck
I'm sure Clued-Up that FarmingUK's dairy and beef farmer open-minded readers will have spotted your back pedaling and attempts to move the subject on. Why do you describe the skin test as flawed when it is the very means by which the improvements in Wales are measured? Can it be that flawed when it also came close to eliminating bTB in this country in the 1970's and 80's and keeps many countries world wide free of the disease? From where comes this wonder vaccine that the Welsh are going to trial on cattle? The only vaccine currently available is the BCG vaccine and that is nowhere near 100% effective even when followed up with booster injections. You apparently like badgers, you like farmers a lot less, but you absolutely hate admitting you are wrong.
16-12-2014 18:20 PM | Posted by Clued-Up
@ john tuck

The very brief explanation I gave about how infectious diseases (ANY infectious disease, not just TB) spreads in populations (whether human or animal) is intended to be helpful to farmers who WANT to weigh up their best options for reducing cattle bTB.

I hope I've provided enough good information for farmers to realise their cattle and livelihoods can only be safeguarded if DEFRA and the NFU change course.

Basically, if you want to bring an infectious disease under control, your chances of doing so are much better when the local populations of humans or animals that might fall sick are (1) small; (2) have minimal contact with other groups; and (3) don't move around.

Let's look at how these infection control laws affect what's happening in the cattle herds.

We know that (for economic reasons) cattle herd sizes have grown substantially over the last 30 years, vastly increasing the risk of bTB infection within the cattle and making it harder to remove the disease. We know that cattle movements over the last 30 years have also increased substantially; also that cattle travel far outside their local area more often. There are "closed" herds and "semi-closed" herds but there are also very many farms where different cattle herds are effectively "blended". In my own area, for example, it's not uncommon for cattle to move to 3 different farms during their lives. To summarise, the way cattle are managed today means there's a high and ever-present risk of a cattle bTB breakdown.

The figures are from memory but I think around 40% farmers in the worst bTB hotspots remain free of cattle bTB breakdowns even when their neighbours have been repeatedly hit. These farmers must be much better than their neighbours at managing the bTB risk (eg better on-farm biosecurity, better-fed cows, different bloodlines etc). Thee disease almost certainly doesn't come from the badgers - because badgers don't respect farm boundaries.

So - the way cattle are farmed put them at extreme risk of catching any infectious disease going.

To change that situation you need to change the factors increasing the risk as much as you can - and we know that's possible because 40% farmers in bTB hotspots have done it - or take a completely new approach. Cattle vaccination against bTB MIGHT be the game-changer. We'll know that when the Welsh report on their 2015 trials.
16-12-2014 18:42 PM | Posted by Clued-Up
@ john tuck

Basically, if you want to bring an infectious disease under control, your chances of doing so are much better when the local populations of humans or animals that might fall sick are (1) small; (2) have minimal contact with other groups; and (3) don't move around.

Let's look at how these infection control laws affect what's happening in the badgers.

When they're free from human interference, badger clans live in naturally small family groups.

The badger clan has enough members in the family to deter "foreign" badgers from moving onto their territory.

Badgers don't move out of their own territories because there are equally strong badger clans in all the territories surrounding them ... and they'd be attacked if they did.

When left alone, the likelihood of any badgers being infected by any disease is unusually small. They live self-contained lives in small groups separated from other small groups of badgers and they don't move outside a small area.

When badgers are culled (legally or illegally), the clan structure breaks down so the territory can't be defended. Individual badgers flee or move into vacated territories. There's more contact between individual badger from different badger families. The animals that survive will be stressed and their immune systems compromised by that stress - they're more likely to go down with infections.

We know from the Welsh detailed health checks done on over 4,000 badgers that badger populations are generally very healthy. Badger culls substantially increase the risk of disease in what had been healthy animals - something that's in no-one's interest.

Why are DEFRA and the NFU so set on killing badgers for no good reason?
17-12-2014 10:00 AM | Posted by john tuck
@ Clued-Up Basically, if you want to bring an infectious disease under control, you must remove all the infected animals. The idea that you can clear one species of the disease while allowing it to fester in another in the same area is logic from cloud cuckoo land. You can keep wriggling and making excuses Clued-Up but you cannot get away from the fact that the ONLY evidence for the well argued scenario that you present is the number of cattle TB reactors found in herds in the areas surrounding the areas culled. That is the evidence that badgers DO infect cattle with TB. You have NO other evidence. "Why are DEFRA and the NFU so set on killing badgers for no good reason?" DEFRA and the NFU have no interest in killing badgers in any area where there is no evidence of infection, and above you will read very good reasons why effective culling (dead badgers are not perturbed) should be pursued in certain areas. But then you're not going to let the truth interfere with your prejudices are you?
18-12-2014 12:13 PM | Posted by John Davis
if this years badger cull has been such a success & btb is decreasing in Somerset,why is it that Deafra will not published figures, is it because the might of the Nfu, have to okay everything first,so it fits in to their Demands,after all it is NFU that is running this cull & Deafra have to do as they are told,for obvious reasons.
19-12-2014 08:51 AM | Posted by reg pollard
well said John Davis, so now talking about killing the badger cubs,these half - headed, moronic, pratts at NFU & Deathra so desperate to kill badgers, why don't these morons, lower their target to say 12, extend the cull from January 1st 2015, till December 31st 2015, then all the Nfu members & Deathra can hail cull huge success, only way this cull will end is getting rid of this tory government.
19-12-2014 11:15 AM | Posted by john tuck
It is only a half - headed, moronic, pratt that wants this sorry saga to carry on because they are incapable of understanding that the only way this cull will end is by getting rid of Mycobacterium bovis.
08-12-2014 08:47 AM
Farmers call on volunteers to salvage unwanted produce
08-12-2014 18:33 PM | Posted by Chools
"We simply can’t keep chopping down rain forests to grow crops, that could be fed to humans, to feed animals. Feeding food waste to farmed animals makes sense on so many levels".

No no no. Eating fruit and vegetables and not eating animals makes so much sense on all levels
09-12-2014 14:14 PM | Posted by Kev C
The idea of feeding waste food (which in the article is unharvested food as well) to animals is silly. Animals according to PETA need to consume 13 lbs feed stuff to produce 1 lbs of meat. Fish farms need to feed fish 5 times the quantity of fish to produce one fish. Totally ludicrous. These figures vary wherever you look. Some as low as a 2:1 ratio and some even higher. But the truth is farm animals are not the best way to produce food for humans. Yes there are arguments both ways for protein from meat to plentiful protein from vegetables etc. I'm not arguing that point here. The real issue is land use. Why waste land growing stuff that has no market because it isn't cosmetically nice to look at that could readily be eaten by humans who in truth have become too damned fussy for their own good? Why feed the surplus to animals when it could go straight to humans? Why waste land growing the stuff in the first place? Why not just set aside more land for nature? Climate change mitigation? Grow trees?
The human race has gone barking mad.
And with too many people starving in the UK because of the over the top pricing of food and the minimum wages and the extortionate costs associated with basic living its maybe the very best opportunity we have to help these people with some basic food that has been rejected by the supermarkets because they have an image problem. Namely Vanity!
05-12-2014 03:06 AM
Farmers warned over oil theft rise
08-12-2014 09:07 AM | Posted by Tankgirl
There are several easy steps people can make to ensure their fuel is more secure and due to the low oil prices at the moment oil heating is far, far cheaper than LPG heating. Many tank locks and alarms are available to help protect tanks and simple measures such as a light nearby can help protect tanks from theft. Steel tanks are more popular than ever now with many customers switching from plastic tanks back onto steel as they can last just as long and are much more secure. The high running costs of LPG far exceed the benefit that it cannot be stolen.
04-12-2014 01:34 AM
Affordable housing rules change 'very disappointing'
04-12-2014 09:08 AM | Posted by Evan Owen
Define affordable house. Is it an £800,000 mansion with a local occupancy restriction on it?
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