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Badger welfare group steps up its campaign

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 06, 2012

Badger
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A farmer group that is against the proposed Government cull of badgers in bovine TB hotspot areas, is using the postponement of the culling to launch a recruiting campaign.

With the six-week pilot culls in West Somerset and Gloucestershire put off until next May, the Badger Welfare Association is appealing to cattle farmers to join up. It is campaigning for an alternative approach to the bovine TB problem, which caused the deaths of 26,000 cattle last year, and says that only if it can show it has widespread backing from the farming community will politicians start to take it seriously.

The recruitment drive comes as the BWA's founder, Somerset and dairy farmer and WMN columnist Derek Mead warns of a storm of new TB cases this winter.

The BWA, established in August under the slogan "Healthy badgers, healthy cattle" aims to pursue an alternative approach to tackling the bovine TB epidemic, claiming the pilot culls of 70% of all badgers in the hotspot areas are based on a flawed strategy.

It said they risked turning the public against farmers because they will inevitably lead to healthy, as well as sick and infected badgers being killed.

It is calling instead for a targeted cull aimed only at badger setts which are probably infected, and says it can equip farmers with the necessary field craft to identify them.

It wants the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to carry out a properly supervised trial of its methods, so their effectiveness can be assessed.

Mr Mead said the group had no doubt its system was effective, making use of the expertise of Devon farmer Bryan Hill. He explained: "We have an expert who has years of experience in identifying setts where there are infected badgers, and he is ready to pass on his skills to others. Because he is a farmer and not a scientist Defra is most unlikely to take him, or us, seriously.

"On the other hand, if we could show we had a significant degree of support from the farming community there is a chance that we could persuade politicians that our alternative method was worth a trial, at the very least."

Mr Mead warned of an impending explosion of TB cases this winter.

He said: "Conditions below ground are so damp they are ideal for TB to flourish.

"A lot of badgers have been flooded out and are living above ground, and because food is scarce they are travelling further to look for it. All this adds up to a perfect situation for TB to spread.

"That must be a compelling reason for getting behind what we believe is the only practical and acceptable solution."

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  • everyrosie  |  May 09 2014, 2:59PM

    I'm so glad that people are stepping up the efforts to save this animal! I had no idea how far-reaching their health is. This doesn't just affect them; it affects us as well. Rosie | Aussiemove International Movers SA Pty Ltd

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  • talkinghound  |  November 06 2012, 8:52PM

    Blimey, Charlespk has gone a whole comment thread without saying "badgerist" once.

    Rate   10
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  • eyeopener  |  November 06 2012, 8:45PM

    "TVP/IP protocol" I may have to be culled as a "typo" reservoir. I meant to type "TCP/IP protocol.

    Rate   12
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  • eyeopener  |  November 06 2012, 8:41PM

    Anyone who has followed my comments knows that I am against the cull. Anyone who has followed 2ladybugs knows that she is pro-cull. However someone is manipulating the voting system and giving her lots of red arrows. I know that those who support the cull are just as guilty but it is frankly stupid. Do you really believe that readers are that stupid? In this article, I am on one side of the argument with red arrow scores varying from 18 and in the article after 2ladybugs gets 16. Are we to believe that readers are for and against the cull all at the same time? 2ladybugs can live with it, I can live with it. Most readers know these scores are manipulated. What the person or persons doing this may not know is that you leave an electronic footprint when you do it. Yes you can fool the system by deleting cookies, but your ip address always appears. Its an integral part of the TVP/IP protocol. That means the 'THIS IS' team can trace YOU. Don't be a prat, vote against something you like or disagree with once, not multiple times but if you insist on getting yourself caught, who am I to stop you?

    Rate   12
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  • eyeopener  |  November 06 2012, 8:30PM

    @2ladybugs downloads.hindawi.com/journals/vmi/2012/978501.pdf I have started reading it, and I have some immediate thoughts which may or may not be valid once I have read all of it. I will not be able to make specific comment on it tonight, and do it justice.

    Rate   16
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  • Mikethepike  |  November 06 2012, 8:05PM

    This organisation needs to be shut down or taken to court. Its claims are both dangerous and farcical--and its title an insult to everyone who cares about badgers. Farmers drawn into this web of deceit risk being prosecuted if they allow culling on their land. The method which Mead claims is proven is nothing of the sort; the man who claims to be able to teach others how to detect infected setts has failed completely when asked to describe how the field signs he apparently looks for are indications of infection. The NFU should warn its members about participating in this crackpot scheme or being associated with it through membership. It's time, too, Natural England and Defra took a long hard look at it through their legal teams and issued warnings. Hopefully the conservation bodies are also taking legal advice. bTB is a serious problem. Wild claims and unproven drivel can only make things worse for farmers and for wildlife.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  November 06 2012, 7:41PM

    eyeopener Another one for you. downloads.hindawi.com/journals/vmi/2012/978501.pdf

    Rate   -28
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  • 2ladybugs  |  November 06 2012, 7:36PM

    eyeopener. I suggest you read it and any other tests that have been done in Spain. It may not work with badgers but you never know.

    Rate   -24
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  • eyeopener  |  November 06 2012, 7:29PM

    @2ladybugs I genuinely respect your seeking research to support your case, I have always no matter what you say, found you the more intellectually able, exponent of the pro-cull case. However epidemiology will be affected by changes in location, climate and topography. We really need research based on the British situation.

    Rate   21
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  • 2ladybugs  |  November 06 2012, 6:56PM

    Veterinary Microbiology 151, 1-2 (2011) 170 Progress in the Control of Bovine Tuberculosis in Spanish Wildlife Christian Gortazar ( ), Joaquín Vicente, Mariana Boadella, Cristina Ballesteros, Ruth C. Galindo, Joseba Garrido, Alicia Aranaz 1, José de la Fuente 2 (2011-05-28) Despite the compulsory test and slaughter campaigns in cattle, bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is still present in Spain, and the role of wildlife reservoirs is increasingly recognized. We provide an update on recent progress made in bTB control in Spanish wildlife, including aspects of epidemiology, surveillance, host-pathogen interaction and wildlife vaccination. 1: Facultad de Veterinaria Universidad Complutense 2: Department of Veterinary Pathobiology Oklahoma State University Subject : Life Sciences/Animal biology/Veterinary medicine and animal Health Keyword(s) : Disease control – Wildlife epidemiology Attached file list to this document: PDF PEER_stage2_10.1016%2Fj.vetmic.2011.02.041.pdf(365.2 KB) peer-00701898, version 1 http://tinyurl.com/cuye5lq oai:peer.ccsd.cnrs.fr:peer-00701898 From: Hal Peer Jacques.Millet@inria.fr Submitted on: Monday, 28 May 2012 02:52:13 Updated on: Monday, 28 May 2012 02:52:13

    Rate   -20
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