Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Appendix 1: Memorandum submitted by Martin Hancox Part 2

Section 2 :- A Critical Reappraisal Of These Issues Exposes A Multitude Of Anomalies And Persistent "False Facts " :

Darwin's bulldog; the great T.H.Huxley "the great tragedy of science is the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact".

Darwin himself, Descent of Man; "False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science and often endure long".

Scientific revolutions come about when a "critical mass "of "anomalies" force a gestalt shift/reversal in the accepted wisdom paradigm . AND as regards the current cattle TB crisis, clearly, policies based on current understanding of TB in badgers and cattle have failed spectacularly, prompting a comprehensive re-think . In fact, a whole generation of farmers and vets have grown up being told badgers are the main problem, so have no understanding of the completely wrong assumptions underpinning the debate, as to the basics of how TB works in cattle. GB had a textbook Area Eradication scheme, which shrank cattle TB from nationwide to tiny southwest hotspots ; see Reactor graph and Maps 1-2. hence, having ruled out cattle as the persistent TB reservoir, the rationale behind badger culling or vaccination is that badgers are the major hidden self-maintaining reservoir of TB, and cause of cattle herd breakdowns, so the TB transmission is one way :- badger to badger to cow, inner cycle in Transmisson box Figure... computer simulation models explicitly assume this (21). Unfortunately, it is crystal clear that the exact opposite is the case, Outer cycle in Figure, cattle have been the self-maintaining source of TB to other cattle and badgers all along : a 180 degree U-turn in perception needed.

The four key "FALSE FACTS" Behind all this are very simple misunderstandings :
Only "Open visible " lesion cattle are infectious

Only "OPEN Visible " lesion cattle are infectious ; Zuckerman p. 86, 94 ; Dunnet para 60 .Simply wrong .. M'Fadyean knew 1888 that non-visibly lesioned cases infectious ( 16); Cattle lesions "Open" throughout, unlike man, so "if reactors with even slight lesions left in herd, spread more or less rapid " (6, also 1 ); "infectious at any stage of the disease " (20 ) SEE left hand Pyramid figure; and facts re-discovered by McIlroy/Neil :-c. 20 % of " NVL" reactors sputum positive, ..infectious before they become reactors, or develop visible lesions ( 15, 19 ). In fact, more intensive postmortems, with serial lung sections show microscopic lesions, and some 70-80 % of these NVL so-called UNConfirmed cases DO have M. bovis (Dunnet para 32, Wilesmith). The late stages of eradication in Australia put great emphasis on the NGSP or national granuloma submissions programme to nail these cases (17).

False Positive reactor cattle

False positive reactor cattle . A little knowledge is a very dangerous thing ! .. early on in the eradication scheme, it was noted up to 14 % of "reactors" were infected with avian TB, which is why GB & Ireland got derogation to use the comparative skin test . False positives also from Johnes vaccination , human or skin TB (24).Tragically it has been assumed for decades that so-called unconfirmed cases, apparently with no visible lesions at gross abattoir inspection, and too few bacilli to be detected were false positive. but They do have TB, the specificity of skin test is 99.99 % so only 1 in 1000 truly false positive, the other 999 do have TB . see tale of two pyramids Figure, these unconfirmed reactors/herds c. 2 in 3 cases, are a huge "Hidden Reservoir" .. since foot & mouth, out of 305,000 reactos, c 180, 000 UNconfirmeds (Contrast very few TB badgers in ISG study, in para 4 below). Large number of breakdowns with 1 IR Inconclusive reactor also TB + (3c).

After peak of Mad Cow disease /BSE IN 1993, 36,000 cases .. restocking with untested cattle .. simply allowed spread into areas TB-free for 20-50 years, start of "new problem areas :-Thornbury, Exmoor, Hereford/Worcs, Derby-Staffs ( a new French spoligotype).. some 85 % of breakdowns were unconfirmed SEE maps Krebs p. 156.Tragically this was also the start of Welsh recrudescence, nearly eradicated by late 1980s, but then Dyfed pocket expanded eastwards, to meet westerly spread from Forest Dean/Gwent/Hereford , meeting then into Powys .. the 700 breakdowns 1972-96 although "mostly due to badgers "according to MAFF, cannot have been, a mere 46 TB badgers out of 2363 sampled, 2 relic cases left in Glamorgan 1971 as it went clear, NONE in Powys, until TB reintroduced in cattle !

Depressing that unconfirmeds have been ignored for so long ... the scatter of unknown/unconfirmed cases back during the low point in the 1970s, all miraculously became "Due to Brock" at midnight, 31st Dec. 1978 see maps 5 & 6. Very Belatedly, DEFRA have accepted EC Directive 64/432 advice, need 2 clear tests like confirmed breakdowns to derestrict; and incidentally remove IR Inconclusive reactors at lst retest . Critically Important, but largely overlooked TBEG Group AT LAST recognise importance unconfirmeds (22).

Chronic herds .. due to skin test non-reactors ie "anergic" cattle. Sadly , it has been widely ignored, but at the heart of intractable hotspot areas have been the small numbers of anergic cows causing chronic herd infection, and the "engine" driving the scatter of new breakdowns in persistent pockets of high density dairying (Maps 1 , 2.. 5,6,7 ). Steeple Leaze supposedly a proof case that badger culls work was a cluster of 6 herds, 1973-4 up to 5 tests/a, removed 244 reactors , a third VL, clearing the problem, gassing badgers After that totally meaningless !

Badger TB Respiratory

Badger TB respiratory :- advanced TB is mostly in the lungs and kidneys, so it has been assumed that spread amongst badgers has been 82 % respiratory, 18% bite wounding...simply wrong; same study showed 70 % STARTS in lymph nodes below mouth, submandibulars, entry via palatine tonsils, just as in dirty feeding pigs / humans from unpasteurised milk "scrofula" (6) and the lung lesions are secondary spread (2, same from superb autopsy studies by O'Boyle in ERAD Reports in Ireland, surprisingly the RBCT autopsies found NO submandibulars, maybe confused with submaxillaries ISG p.77)). A thigh inoculation in badgers, or in neck/tail in cows ends up in lungs .. but doesnt show actual transmission route ! Wild boar too get "scrofula" TB from cattle, Spain, Germany, etc but NIL evidence they can pass it back to cows either. Rather ironically Chris Cheeseman was surprised that even when a sputum positive "hoocher" badger was present, there was little spread within the clan, despite sleeping in close 4-5 badger huddles in underground nest chambers.(wrong type of aerosol, or hoocher banished to annex sett ?)..models of badger TB lack actual data on route or rate of transmission amongst badgers (21), and no-one seems to have noticed but a hoocher sow swallowing sputum will be weaning cubs by regurgitation with a soup of half digested earthworms with TB flavouring so will be the perfect route for "pseudo-vertical" transmission thought to be important (2, 21). Another amusing red herring, compares fossorial badgers with miners prone to lung immunocompromisatiion and silicosis.

The Great Perturbation Mythopoesis

Dodgy dossiers , as a basis for policy .. there were no WMD aimed at London within 45 minutes, and the whole Perturbation /Edge effect is a last Hurrah or Jewel in the Crown myth in the long past -its- sell- by Great Badger TB Debate :- Alice in Wonderland /virtual reality "science". The last major review of badger/cattle TB by Krebs, re-discovered " a link"; BUT he very clearly warned "it is not known if, how, or to what extent badgers might give" Cows TB (12). SAD, hence that the Randomised Badger Culling Trial and Independent Scientific Goup, (3 of whom were part of Krebs ); chose to again assume ( as previous reviews, 5, 26 ),

  1. That badgers do give cows TB (even though they were uncertain as to actual transmission ISG p. 121, 173 ).. it must be from badgers somehow since allegedly not from cows;
  2. They are a major reservoir, maybe causing up to 60 % of breakdowns ( drop by B in Graph.. or up to 76 % ISG p.114-8). The claim that X % "Was due to badgers" is actually based on the flimsy evidence that the breakdowns were supposedly not due to cattle, but in fact the rises/falls in trial areas ARE are simply a measure of the effectiveness of cattle controls and spillover cow to badger SEE Section C below .
  3. And so the ISG chose to interpret the increases/decreases OR detrimental/beneficial effects AS due to culls , so culls might work or make things worse via a mythical perturbation effect...badger researchers, had long concluded that the failure of 35 years of culls to solve the problem, (because the problem was cows all along) was due to TB badgers immigrating INTO vacuum cull areas , eg Woodchester see 2.b. ..BUT, Clearly immigrants didnt get TB until later herd breakdown spillover !!! It is bizarre logic, that badgers immigrating INTO cull area should cause rise in 2 km wide OUTSIDE ring ..see graph from Consultation. NB. The Irish E.Offaly/Four Areas trials did not find outside perturbations !!

Unfortunately the ISG dont really understand their own data regards crucially :-

  • A. Far too few TB badgers to account for the rises/falls in cattle TB just 311 reactive, 1204 proactive with TB ie. 1515 among 11,000 badgers culled, or 1 / 7, under 15 / 100 in nearly half the proactive culls .. and A MERE 166 so-called"superexcretors" (p.77) which might have been a risk to other badgers or cattle.
  • B. Reactive culls nil impact :- As I explained previously to EFRA committee (9), the statistically non-significant 23 % rise in reactive areas happened Before the cull p.109, so daft to say it was due to the cull, it was imported cattle with different DNA Spoligotype to the resident badgers (Report SE 3108), and 1 year after culls ended no difference to no-cull areas, 356 vs 358 accumulated breakdowns p. 249. Proactive culls had nil impact on unconfirmed breakdowns ISG p.96, 101. Both the Godfray and King reports noted (3 a) the "biological implausibility "of cull effects so rapidly , after catching TB (FROM other cows or badgers ?) it probably takes 12-18 mnths for cases to become reactors, have their next annual test .. so cull to effect within a couple of months improbable in either reactive or proactive culls. The START supposed rise in outside areas (SEE GRAPH) A, was merely part of national trends, with nearly as big a jump by C in 2008 see main reactor graph, when TB peaked at 40,000 reactors. Their own data (IJID 2007) showed a rise beyond the 2 km badger movement ring ; also hidden in the excruciatingly complex statistics .. the first 1/2 km of the outside ring had a DROP, since the boundary defined on badger territory, encompassed "inside" herds. p.99. Lies, damned lies and statistics !.. puzzling why ISG give both Vetnet and own database results on cattle effects .. supposed to be SAME herd breakdowns, but differ by 10-20 % ie. the usual alleged cull effect arisen by chance in statistics. Also, Perturbation non-statistical upswing disappeared after 18 mnths, ie. cattle controls took effect... in consultation graph.... and by D the outside/inside effects almost back to zero. The ISG were also absurdly puzzled by finding " no clear explanation for the reappearance of beneficial cull effects !", after 2nd peak .. and , in fact cattle controls gave a bigger reduction in outside vs inside cull areas from A to B 70 vs 49 %; C to E , ie. 5 years after end culls Aug.2011, of 42 vs 4 % .
  • C. Cattle pose a risk to badgers :-Sadly, they almost realised that badger TB is merely a spillover from cattle as shown by TB prevalence levels in first cull badgers re. previous years cattle reactors (25 , 2009, updates 2005) :- Triplet .....................................A .........B.........C.........D........E.........F.........G.........H.........I.........J..............TOTALS
    Reactors.................................57........ 70........62......187......34.......14.......23........36......152......215.............852
    Initial Badgers TB+...................8.........13......... 4......102......29 ......13.......29........12.......82........65.............357
    Clans TB +.................................7 ..........7..........4........44..... 17 ........7 ......13.........8........29.........32.............168
    Badger +/Clan..........................1.1.........1.0....... 1.0......2.2.... .1.3......1.1..... 1.7..... 1.0.....2.0........1.6...........1.7
    Thus D I J were recruited into the trial , and brought onto intensive annual testing AFTER the 2002 foot & mouth upsurge, hence had the most reactors, the most TB badgers, most clans affected and higher numbers /clan .. the ISG noted the doubling in badger TB prevalence, including RTAs, ie not culled or cull-perturbed ...and that this suggested that cattle pose a risk to badgers pp. 73-8, 84, and 243 Proc.National Academy Science but chose to interpret the rises in reactive/outside proactive areas AS DUE to Perturbation. Ironically, the West Cornwall, triplet F ..Lands End, which supposedly had the "Hardest Boundary" stopping the " migrating badger " edge effect ie the sea, was merely the triplet which had been the longest on intensive annual testing Maps 5, 6, 7. Badgers do not present a self-maintaining reservoir of TB. The Map 2 solid "badger parishes" hotspot is very misleading... within this TB in badger clans is actually in incredibly small micro-pockets as shown by the clean ring culls, spillover at the epicentre of the cattle breakdown/s; And the Woodchester study 9 found over 14 years, to 1994, in 868 badgers, only 188 with TB, 51 infectious, a mere 17 superexcretors, (21); so not surprising there was little evidence of spread within/between clans, NOR any herd breakdowns from this "endemic" source, (2, 4, and Krebs p.48). Badger computer simulation models lack data on transmission route/rates (21).
  • Prevalence in badgers was not related to density (Krebs p.46 Cornwall, lowest density highest prevalence), and no minimum threshold clan size to sustain TB :- AN amusing red herring trying to tie TB to density .. with the silly idea of fertiliy control to stop TB ! Prevalence is simply via but spillover cow to badger as in ISG data in above Table, 168 clans; and combining the N.Woodchester/N.Nibley data 16 out of 20 clans had only 1-2 TB badgers .. but bad breakdowns could spillover to the whole clan Cornwall 8 of 8; Jacks Mirey clan, from 4 contiguous inner ring farms 1986-7 ,93 reactors ( 4, 23, 25). And badger TB dies out when not topped up from cattle .. Woodchester (4), GB Krebs p.62, ULSTER recent DARDNI RTA survey, Four areas study (ISG , PNAS P.243 & Report to Mary Coghlan). Indeed some badgers may even self-heal !! (7). The Woodchester recolonisation study in fact showed immigrant or new cubs didnt have TB until 1988-9 breakdown a decade after the cull (2 b).

    Badger culls work ! ? Unfortunately the other studies supposedly proving culls work reveal an extraordinary Cognitive Dissonance in Seeing what they Wanted to Believe :

    • A. Hartland went clear by cattle controls, went to 2 year testing so flare up cattle, cleared by intensive synchronised testing, gassing badgers After that meaningless see Maps 5 ,6 (20). Steeple Leaze was simply a cluster of chronic herds cured by maximum testing, gassing irrelevant, as also Thornbury;
    • B. Although the reductions in cattle TB were assumed to be due to the cull, rather than effective cattle controls, there were incredibly few badgers involved as re. Thornbury ( 7, Krebs Avon p.46)/ East Offaly 141 badgers from 600 Four Areas trial, supposedly cull effects of 51-76 %; but a mere 286 TB badgers from 960 ..Cork 115, Donegal 37, Kilkenny 59, Monaghan 75 ..NB biggest "DROP" in Donegal was IN FACT a flare up in contiguous outside reference herds so DIFFerence of 97 % not a drop inside "due to cull"! /the RBCT 1515 TB badgers from 1900 not causal either ( see 9 b, c ; ISG p.79, 114-8) The Staffs, Sussex culls were inconclusive as well.
    • C. Hence the proposed cull , balancing these supposed beneficial/detrimental effects ; as explained in Consultation Document (3a, Annex B, para. 20), MIGHT prevent some 12-16 % of breakdowns , OR in practical terms : - a mere 46 out of 292 expected breakdowns AFTER 9 years in a 150 sq km area ..spectacularly irrelevant given c 7000 breakdowns / a.; and the problem area now 1/2 of GB Map 4 .. The Consultation, and FERA models, suggest a badger vaccine would do half as well, and the 2 km ring vaccine firewall which suppposedly would avoid the mythical perturbation effect , would be politely tiptoed beyond by cattle moves so is crass nonsense (21). Prof. McInerney part of Dunnet & ISG stated culls in 1986/7would have very dubious impact, and be wildly uneconomic BUT "ANY Cull decision a political one !" .. same warning Recently .
Figure 3

Please click to enlarge

Figure 4

Please click to enlarge

Figure 5

Please click to enlarge