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Labour MP Mary Creagh demands answers on badger cull numbers

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 07, 2013

Mary Creagh, Labour's Shadow Environment Secretary

Mary Creagh, Labour's Shadow Environment Secretary

Comments (18)

Ministers need to come clean about the true numbers of badgers killed in the Somerset cull, a prominent Labour MP has argued.

The first of two Government pilot culls testing the effectiveness of a cull in curbing the spread of tuberculosis in cattle came to an end last night in West Somerset. Fears were reported during the trial that well below the required 70% of the badger population in the area had been shot.

Anything below the key target amount would put the cull at risk of being ineffective.

Speaking last night, Mary Creagh, Labour's Shadow Environment Secretary, said: "Now the Somerset cull has finished, Ministers need to come clean about what has been happening. Scientists have warned that a botched cull is worse than no cull at all.

"Ministers need to state whether the cull has killed the number of badgers recommended and marksmen have met their licensing conditions. The public has a right to know."

The second six-week badger cull started in Gloucestershire at the beginning of September.

Marksmen's gunsfall silent as badger cull ends

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18 comments

  • simonrtucker  |  October 07 2013, 10:33PM

    Charlespk / Free2opine: as the government's "science" that you have swallowed as being accurate (what do you know that virtually every scientist and conservationist, including those involved in previous culls, doesn't?) predicts only a 12 to 16% decrease in TB over 5 years, what do you suggest for curing the other 84 to 88%? What should they do to the farmers whose bad management practices are the key cause of the spread of TB in cattle? Cull them?

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  • pennineman  |  October 07 2013, 6:44PM

    Those who remember Pol Pot's sickening Killing Fields will appreciate the analogy. Pol Pot killed people for absolutely no reason other than he wanted to. This government kills badgers for no valid scientific reason other than because it wants to to satisfy a political end. Like Pol Pot's slaughter eventually caught up with him then this slaughter will eventually catch up with this government. http://tinyurl.com/om5jbng

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  • pennineman  |  October 07 2013, 6:37PM

    Do read the scientist's reply. Blows the cull out of the water. http://tinyurl.com/q9pqgsm

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  • pennineman  |  October 07 2013, 6:33PM
  • mmjames  |  October 07 2013, 3:04PM

    Free2opine Monday, October 07 2013, 1:15PM "Don't you just love it when people on the same side (badger lovers), start to waffle. .............. Makes a change from THE MANTRA ;)

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  • Free2opine  |  October 07 2013, 1:15PM

    Don't you just love it when people on the same side (badger lovers), start to waffle. We have Clueless on this report crowing, that, because of the protesters, the cull failed, whilst on another report, a poor disheartened anti-cull person, saying it was all a big con and that it was never meant to be a success. Talk about headless chickens.

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  • Charlespk  |  October 07 2013, 12:17PM

    Dr John Gallagher, a veterinary pathologist since 1972 THE NATURE OF TB IN BADGERS 1.Tuberculosis has a different manifestation in most species . In the badger it is fundamentally different from TB in cattle essentially due to the lack of development of a hypersensitivity response which is a prime feature of infection in cattle. Thus small numbers of organisms infecting cattle produce a vigorous cellular response which results in extensive cell death and the development of large cold abscesses in the affected tissues usually the lung and respiratory lymph nodes . This is in fact the host immune reaction to TB. Whilst causing disease and disruption to the affected organs the changes inside these abscesses strongly inhibit the TB bacteria and kill many of them. The badger does not show such a vigorous destructive reaction but rather a slowly progressive proliferative reaction which eventually results in cell death as numbers of bacteria increase markedly. TB lesions are thus relatively much smaller but contain relatively vastly more bacteria than those of cattle. TB bacteria do not produce toxins but rather cause lesions as a result of their highly antigenic cell walls to which different hosts may respond with greater or lesser aggression. PROGRESSION OF INFECTION 2. Once a badger develops disease all the members of that social group are likely to become infected due to the confined living space in their underground tunnel systems, their highly gregarious nature and constant mutual grooming. But that seed of infection (the primary focus ) will usually only progress to produce disease and eventually death in a minority of cases. Latency is a feature of TB in many species and this is so in badgers and cattle. The bulk of infections in badgers, usually 70% or more will become latent or dormant. A small number of badgers may resolve the infection completely and self cure. But the latent infections remain fully viable and may breakdown under stress which may be of nutritional origin, intercurrent disease, senile deterioration or social disturbance and disruption. Some badgers may develop fulminating disease (Gallagher et al 1998). Badgers with terminal generalised tuberculosis can excrete vast numbers of bacteria particularly when the kidneys are infected. Counts of several million bacteria in a full urination have been recorded (Gallagher and Clifton-Hadley, 2000). When infection is acquired by a bite wound from the contaminated mouth of another badger, the bacteria are Inoculated either deeply subcutaneously or intramuscularly and rapid generalisation of infection usually occurs, causing progression to severe and often fatal tuberculosis which may develop in a matter of several months (Gallagher and Nelson, 1979). Respiratory origin infections have a longer duration and cases in an endemically infected population (Woodchester) have been monitored showing intermittent excretion of infection for a year, with the longest recorded case excreting for almost three years before death. The above ground mortality due to TB is estimated as about 2% of the population per annum. Thus in the South West alone with its now extensive endemically infected areas the annual deaths due to TB will be of the order of at least 1000 to 2000. Tuberculosis has an unfettered progress in the badger population and the cycle of infection and disease in the badger has long been known to be self sustaining (Zuckerman 1980). Over time the badger has become well adapted as a primary reservoir host of bovine TB infection.

  • janekenmure  |  October 07 2013, 12:13PM

    http://tinyurl.com/bw7jpxy After watching this video I still consider this cull pointless, cruel and politically motivated. At the end of the report the narrator says targeted culling of infected badgers is what he considers necessary to reduce Bovine TB in cattle in hotspot areas. . So why is this government mass killing untested mostly healthy badgers and how on earth do they expect that to help reduce a disease mostly passed from cattle to cattle. It's mindless and unscientific!

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  • Charlespk  |  October 07 2013, 12:13PM

    Badgers and bovine TB. The INDISPUTABLE, historic, scientific facts. http://tinyurl.com/bw7jpxy Would you like someone to explain it all to you stormkettle??

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  • janekenmure  |  October 07 2013, 12:10PM

    http://tinyurl.com/bw7jpxy After watching this video I still consider this cull pointless, cruel and politically motivated. At the end of the report the narrator says targeted culling of infected badgers is what he considers necessary to reduce Bovine TB in cattle in hotspot areas. . So why is this government mass killing untested mostly healthy badgers and how on earth do they expect that to help reduce a disease mostly passed from cattle to cattle. It's mindless and unscientific!

    |   1

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