So, as a farmer, why would you bother reading this? How could the views of a rock star on Bovine TB be worth squat? Especially a rock star who has been widely accused of caring more about the welfare of wild animals than the welfare of farmers?
Well, it’s no secret that about 7 years ago I came into the beleaguered world of Dairy Farming intent on saving the lives of British badgers. I and my Save-Me CEO Anne Brummer pitched in, and after spending much time with farmers, vets, scientists as well as animal campaigners, we quickly realised that campaigning, petitioning, and shouting abuse wouldn’t help anyone. The first time I walked a grazing field with dairy farmer Jan Rowe in front of TV cameras I vowed I would make every effort to help find the truth about Bovine TB, and find a proper solution to this tragic farming problem in a way that was acceptable to all parties. So our mission has been to save not only the badgers but the cows and the farmers too.
Seven years later, thousands of badgers have been killed, along with a cattle regime of test and removal, with infected animals identified with the TB skin test. It’s increasingly apparent to all but the last die-hards, that Britain, using these methods, is failing in the battle against bTB.
Brian and Anne went to Crediton, mid-Devon to meet farmer Malcolm Huxtable on Thursday 29th October. They do not believe the current skin test is good enough. It was filmed for BBC Inside Out. Bri and Anne, CEO of The Save Me Trust, have campaigned tirelessly for an end to the badger culls, and run a badger vaccination project known as BACVI (Badger and Cattle Vaccination Initiative) that works with farmers, primarily in the South West.
There has been a lot of criticism from farmers in respect of the accuracy of the tuberculin skin test and its something we very much agree with. How can you get on top of btb if you cannot identify it.
Our campaign looks at the issues surrounding the badger cull and pulls out all the stops to prevent it from continuing. When will it be safe for badgers? We are working with farmers to identify btb at an earlier stage.
The cull is bad for badgers, bad for cattle and bad for farmers. It won't solve bTB.
The Badger cull pilots of 2012 had an additional trail within and that was to assess the effectiveness and humaneness of "free shooting" badgers at night. It was neither humane or effective to free shoot badgers, as stated by the governments own Independent Evaluation Panel. Yet the cull continues.
Lame claims explain in detail why the badger cull will fail and why we believe it will not impact on the reduction BTb in cattle and may make matters worse.
It has been divisive in the countryside and financially it is not viable.
Bovine TB impacts on the farming community, cattle and conservationists alike we, therefore, need to find a sustainable and effective way to reduce the herd breakdowns. We believe that culling badgers cannot help bTB in cattle. Save Me Trust is currently working with farmers and the NFU to look at this issue. The current badger cull is failing farmers, failing cattle and failing badgers. We believe that btb is passed from mother to calf and remains latent in the herd. We also believe it is not self sustaining in the badger population.
The Badger and Cattle Vaccination Initiative engages with farmers, government and stakeholders to find a sustainable and effective path for the reduction of bTB in cattle and in wildlife. There is currently no cattle vaccination available for use
Government scrape through with only 49 votes after a three line whip ! (See below)
Opposition Day [1st Allotted Day] Badger Cull 12.34 pm
Mary Creagh (Wakefield) (Lab): I beg to move,
That this House believes the badger cull should not go ahead.
We begin with a question: is culling badgers the most effective way to stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis? Labour Members believe that it is not. The consensus among scientists who are not on the Government payroll is also that it is not. They call it a “costly distraction” and a “crazy scheme”, and they urge the Government to change course. Labour Members will be led by those scientists; we were in government and are now in opposition.
The logical way forward is to vaccinate the cattle and this is the one area where both sides agree. The reason we don't vaccinate cattle at this time is we couldn't sell them in Europe due to regulations. This was proposed in 1997 by Lord Krebs in his report. We are waiting for a DIVA test to be accepted to differentiate between vaccinated and wild strains. We are supporting the campaign to vaccinate badgers.
Badger BCG alone is not the solution to bTB, but it does have an immediate effect with no associated negative impact.
Mycobacterium Bovis often referred to as the bovine tubercle bacillus, is a member of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, a group of organisms with the capacity to cause tuberculosis in humans. Most animals are potential reservoirs of infection. Cattle, in particular, are susceptible to infection and subsequent tuberculous lung disease caused by M. Bovis. Mycobacterium Bovis is a slow-growing (16 to 20 hour generation time), aerobic bacterium and the causative agent of tuberculosis in cattle (known as bovine TB). Related to M. tuberculosis—the bacterium which causes tuberculosis in humans — M. Bovis can also jump the species barrier and cause tuberculosis in humans.
The Welsh Government are working to eliminate bovine TB from an area of west Wales by targeting every possible source of infection. The area has the highest bTB herd breakdown in the country and is important for beef and dairy production. Their comprehensive approach, with strict attention to every detail, provides a comprehensive solution that is already showing improvements in bTB throughout the country.In an area of west Wales, they have put extra measures in place with the aim of eradicating the disease in the local cattle population. This area is called the Intensive Action Area (IAA). They established the IAA to tackle all sources of bovine TB infection in domestic and wild animal species. This is a similar approach to that used in New Zealand, where they have successfully eradicated the disease from large areas of the country.