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Appeal challenge rejected by badger charity

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: August 18, 2012

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The Badger Trust has been challenged to drop its legal appeal against Government plans to cull the animals in the South West.

The challenge was made by the newly-formed farmer organisation, the Badger Welfare Association (BWA). It was immediately rejected and the case is expected to go to the Court of Appeal next month.

"Permission to appeal against the court's decision to allow the pilot culls has been granted and we have absolutely every intention of carrying the legal process through to its conclusion," said a trust spokesman.

The challenge to drop the appeal was made by the BWA's Bryan Hill at the second of two inaugural meetings, held to drum up support and explain its strategy of targeted culls of diseased badgers.

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He told an audience of 60 at Zeal Monachorum, near Crediton: "I am making a direct appeal to the Badger Trust not to put in their appeal against what Farming Minister Jim Paice is doing. Let the pilot culls go ahead. If they fail, so be it."

The BWA's campaign to eliminate bovine TB is formed around Okehampton farmer Mr Hill's 15-year study of badger behaviour and populations and his expertise in identifying diseased badger setts.

In a two-hour meeting Mr Hill described the current TB situation as the "biggest crisis facing farming since foot and mouth disease". The current wet summer was proving near-perfect conditions for the spread of TB, with high water-tables and badgers consequently living above ground.

He outlined the recent history of a proposed badger cull in Wales, where a successful challenge by the Badger Trust had seen the plans scrapped in favour of a badger vaccination campaign. "That will result in farmers facing at least 10 years more of misery," he said.

Mr Hill stressed any BWA action would not be in competition to the Government's proposed two pilot culls, but in complement to them.

Explaining the BWA's strategy, Richard Gard, of the Healthy Badgers – Healthy Cattle Group, said the aim was to form local management groups to chart and monitor TB in badgers. There would be major groups in Devon and Somerset.

Sheree-Ann Virgin, the BWA's solicitor, said once infected setts had been identified, application would be made to the Department of the Environment to cull a trial area, using carbon monoxide as the method, observed by Ministry experts and specialists.

"Healthy badger setts would be left alone," she stressed. "It would be incumbent on the Government to consider our application. If it were not allowed, we would consider a judicial review."

She hoped the first application could be made around the middle of September.

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  • Charlespk  |  September 24 2012, 8:27AM

    Quote:- "What it will almost certainly not do is limit bovine tuberculosis, even in the target zones of Gloucestershire and Somerset." I'll bet you haven't got the first clue about encephalitis or meningitis either!

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  • Charlespk  |  September 24 2012, 8:26AM

    Quote:- "What it will almost certainly not do is limit bovine tuberculosis, even in the target zones of Gloucestershire and Somerset." I'll bet you haven't got the first clue about encephalitis or meningitis either!

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  • badgeryou  |  September 23 2012, 11:52PM

    The licensed killing of badgers in parts of Gloucestershire and Somerset could achieve a number of things. It could further advertise the unwelcome existence of bovine tuberculosis in British dairy herds. It could polarise opinion in the countryside and unite political opposition everywhere else. It could cost the farmers involved more than they could gain. It will almost certainly provoke active protest and put even more pressure on already hard-pressed police forces. What it will almost certainly not do is limit bovine tuberculosis, even in the target zones of Gloucestershire and Somerset. It might be helpful to list those things that are certain. Human tuberculosis is a dangerous disease. Bovine tuberculosis is a real problem for dairy farmers – who in any case have been paid too little for their milk and who have been going out of business for decades – and the disease lives on in the wild badger population. But by 1996, a policy of identification and slaughter had reduced the incidence of bovine TB in dairy herds in England and Wales to less than half a per cent, and the risk of direct transmission to humans has – with the pasteurisation of milk – long ago become negligible. The last and most systematic examination of the link between badgers and bovine TB found that, indeed, there was transmission, and proposed a series of systematic, randomised controlled trials over a sustained period to see whether culling could provide an answer. In 2003, the government, farmers, public health officers and wildlife campaigners got the answer: shooting and gassing did not eliminate, and could possibly spread, the disease. That may be because badgers disturbed in one area could migrate, taking the infection with them. The answer, delivered by Lord Krebs and the distinguished statisticians and zoologists who examined the results, could hardly be clearer: killing will not solve the problem. Lord Krebs's scientific credentials are not in doubt. He was trusted by successive British governments to head the Natural Environment Research Council, and to chair the Food Standards Agency. And he has just described the latest plan as a "crazy scheme". http://tinyurl.com/bvjp9rv

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  • Charlespk  |  August 30 2012, 6:22PM

    @kenif1946 Your repetitive essay defending your absurd position, and that of baderists and the badger trust, I find illuminating! . And once again it begins and ends by attacking my persona!! . That characterises your whole approach to the subject and that of most badgerists. If you are intelligent enough to point out EXACTLY which part of the science regarding the epidemiology of these bacteria and the illimination of M.bovis from our national cattle herd once more; and the reduction to a manageable level in the wild, and the badger in particular that you don't understand. . I will be very happy to try and explain once again. You cannot change the way these bacteria behave, and have behaved for thousands of years just by stamping your feet and attempting to be condescending and sound 'superior'. There is no alternative to a cull policy for any reservoir species in the wild until a new 100% effective appliable vaccine for all animals can be developed. And the longer you manage to delay it, the more severe that cull will have to be. You've had nearly 20 years, and all you've done is create a national population of badgers with endemic tuberculosis caused by M.bovis.

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  • kenif1946  |  August 30 2012, 5:18PM

    Reference: by CharlespkThursday, August 30 2012, 12:14PM "Yes I have. [This in response to my observation that none of us has a full understanding of all issues relating to the Bovine TB problem] Amusingly the **** [blanking] out characters in my comment were 's'-l'-'a'-'g' nothing more obnoxious :o) Sir, I would once again urge you to make available to all interested parties your apparently unparalleled and vast knowledge of Badgers and the Bovine TB issue. This rather than spending time just informing us lesser mortals, who take a contrary, nay diametrically opposite view to your own, that theirs is nothing more than " a selfish anthropomorphic one." Anthropomorphism has no bearing on the matter. People in general regard the badger as an important indigenous species worthy of conservation, consideration, and protection, from the politically [often unrealised] driven and blinkered 'slaughter' lobby. You are right. I have not, nor do I wish to read all your personal outpourings, preferring to spend my time carefully considering the views of those for whom, even if taking a contrary view to my own, have some knowledge of the matter, and who's arguments do not revolve around telling people they don't understand anything. So we are apparently all wrong, in our view, and you right, primarily because you have told us so. Thank you for that ! You cannot of course know the level of knowledge or interest any individual has taken in the matter, say over the past at least 20 years. Who, without reasoned discussion, could expect you to ? Thank you for your robust correspondence, it has been somewhat illuminating, not only to myself but to many others, We have all gained an understanding of your persona. Concluding, I again resort to a repetition of my earlier observation hoping that you sir may read and absorb it, also serving as it does to be my last such, in this column, on this matter: "Bovine TB is surely a problem that is best solved by application of [independent] Science, coupled with logical common sense, not a 'kill it regardless' policy."

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  • Charlespk  |  August 30 2012, 12:14PM

    Yes I have. Everything I publish is attributed to top veterinary scientists from around the world. The science surrounding tuberculosis is probably one of the most studied and understood on the planet now. . It is because it is a constantly mutating bacterium with multiple strains within clonal expansion, that is now causing so many problems. You obviously don't really bother to read fully everything I and others put out. The badgerist's case for not culling badgers was always a non starter. . It was always just a selfish anthropomorphic one, that disregarded all other mammals including mankind. There will be no alternative to a cull policy for any reservoir species in the wild until a new 100% effective appliable vaccine for all animals can be developed. That is still a very long way off and may never happen.

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  • kenif1946  |  August 30 2012, 10:41AM

    Re: by CharlespkWednesday, August 29 2012, 4:40PM "It's such a pity you just haven't a clue what you're talking about. Sir, Surely very few of us, and I am sure you, in common with us mere humans, have not got a full grasp of all the aspects of the bovine TB situation. Unfortunately it is an understanding of the political issues, which are as so frequently the driving force, that eludes many of us. If you care to take a real, in depth, interest in the matter, rather than just '****ging off' any person who makes a comment not in parallel with your own clearly limited, scientific based, knowledge of this matter, you might open your eyes and ears wide enough to understand that people are calling for logical, humane action, based upon independent [I repeat independent] scientific study. The people of this country paid dearly for the Krebs report. Clearly actioning its findings does not meet the 'Slaughter' lobby or the political aims of those who blindly seek slaughter as the only route to take. The current issue is the need or otherwise to kill thousands of animals [we are yet to take a view on the suitability of the 'favoured' and humane [?] means of so doing. Before you answer the observations made above, with a trite 'Rubbish' or similar, perhaps more expressive personal comment, at which you seem adept, consider your own knowledge, if it is so expert I would urge you to make it freely available to the NFU and Badger trust, that it may truly benefit the situation. I would point out, along with many others I do have a certain knowledge of badger matters, hence my [logical ?] view, and am not just taking my stance in order to serve, puppet like, those with whom I wish to curry favour. Bovine TB is surely a problem that is best solved by application of [independent] Science, coupled with logical common sense, not a 'kill it regardless' policy.

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  • Charlespk  |  August 29 2012, 4:40PM

    It's such a pity you just haven't a clue what you're talking about. And particularly vaccines using the BCG vaccine.

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  • kenif1946  |  August 29 2012, 1:36PM

    If there was any way of identifying badger sets with badgers infected with TB it would surely have been heard of before. NO the truth is that it is not possible to make that kind of observation with any scientific certainty. The Badger Welfare Association ... what a contradiction ! There is no real interest in badger welfare here. All that it is seeking, is the ability to slaughter badgers by questionable means. For goodness sake, someone in authority use some common sense ! Vaccinate all cattle against this distressing disease. EU considerations in this respect are frankly ludicrous. Animals frequently have more injected into them than a single shot vaccine for TB. Spend some modest amount of cash on further development of the injectable vaccine on an oral badger vaccine. Surely but a modest step from the currently injectable vaccine ? If an oral vaccine was available the pro badger [that is 'non slaughter' based] lobby would assist in distribution. The badger, a non confrontational, intelligent and social animal, like it or not is an important indigenous species which must be reasonably supported and protected. It has few enemies, all of whom would seem to be farmers, rabble roused by the NFU who have made the Bovine TB issue a political one. They have seen fit to ignore independent scientific studies, the most expensive to the public purse of which, [Krebs] concluded that the culling of Badgers had no financial justification in the control of Bovine TB. Surely the farmers primary consideration ?The proportion of outbreaks being ascribed to badgers being few when compared to those caused by other factors. The answer lies in better husbandry and cattle movement controls.

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  • Charlespk  |  August 22 2012, 7:54PM

    IMO, one of the flaws of the shooting policy that must be addressed, is that if the sick setts are not at the same time sealed for at least 12 months, there will be a danger of these highly resilient bacteria surviving under ground and re-infecting any new inhabitants. It also makes perfect sense to allow Mr Hill and any veterinary associates to trial their thesis separately from the main trials.

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