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Appendix 7: Black And White Politics :- Costly Badgers Part 2

View 3 :- Report On 2013 Pilot Badger Culls, By The Government's Scientific Cull Monitors

In anticipation, of the imminent advice likely to arise from a report by the scientific team appointed to monitor the 2013 two pilot badger culls, the following two letters were widely circulated...

As a former "Political pawn" appointee myself, on the "Badgers and TB Consultative Panel" on behalf of The National Federation of Badger Groups (now the Badger Trust) we were supposed to Not rock the boat and Endorse "The Scientific Validity" of politicised Government policy, so I was amused to receive little response to either letter ! I left the Panel when MAFF tried to con us that a 43 % accurate live badger Brocktest cull would work (less use than tossing a coin : 50 % "Sensitivity" !..this cull went ahead in 1994, and was an absolute sham, although its failure was "rationalised" in the Krebs Report 1997).

Letter 1. Dear pilot cull scientific monitoring team

You have the very unenviable task of commenting on the Two Pilot Badger culls .. and Will be urgently finalising your report on the humaneness, effectiveness , etc of these 2 supposedly "Scientific" Pilots ... SADLY these have been unarguably an unmitigated Farcical Omnishambles, only culling c. half the "Required" Numbers (Why is 70 % the magic figure ?).. "The Badgers moved the goalposts" according to Owen Paterson ; and with extra policing costs of £1 million each to tackle animal rights protestors ....((all of which might after 9 years prevent just 47 out of 292 expected breakdowns in 2010 cull Consultation, ie. 16 %)).

Ministers Owen Paterson and George Eustice of course claim it has all been a huge success, and ARE aiming, already in advance of your report to roll out 2 + 10 new areas next year, probably including inhumane gassing to escape animal lib inteference ... carbon monoxide wont reach lethal levels in diffuse setts any more than cyanide gas did in Zuckerman !

So , whilst it is not strictly within your Political remit , to comment on the "Scientific" justification or worthwhileness of any future culls..... as a matter of intellectual, scientific, and moral integrity. You might like to point out that there are five unarguable main flaws in continuing to blame badgers for the cattle TB Crisis, as explained below ; specifically :-

Any further badger cull/vaccine pilots are utterly pointless (NB. Government response to EFRA COM Vaccine report just out, October 2013, clearly Found badger vaccine is not answer para. 10, 13-15, and Ian Johnson of NFU said on ITV 16 Dec.2013 "a total waste of time" see :-http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmenvfru/705/70504.h...) so badger culls/vaccines should play absolutely no part in defra Jan. 2014 new TB strategy report.

For the 2 very simple reasons that :--

  1. Culls "do not work".. In stopping the spread of tb in cattle ;
  2. Because the spread has been via earlt tb ""unconfirmed"" cattle reactors all along

1. The RBCT /krebs cull of 11,000 badgers did not have the slightest effect on cattle breakdowns. If badgers are supposedly (ISG & DEFRA) "the cause" of 50 % of new breakdowns, then there should be l/2 the number of breakdowns over the study period, cull versus no cull areas , ( see 3. below), BUT THERE WERE 1562 vs 1668 herd breakdowns cumulatively recorded, ie. a MERE 106 fewer or 10 per triplet ( these are from ISG tables etc section 5, confirmed & unconfirmed, reactive and proactives ), the most surprising thing given the skin test accuracy is only 66-80% is that there was'nt a bigger difference due to the vagaries of cattle control measures !!. (NB. full statistics in "view" above)

2. Hidden unconfirmed cattle TB reservoir The random scatter of New Herd Breakdowns at the low point , map 2 below and spread to 1/2 of GB maps 3-4 has been in breakdowns "of obscure origin" , not traced back to overtly infectious cattle sources, so these were of honestly of "unknown" origin in Zuckerman 1980 report, but miraculously all became "Due to badgers" at midnight on 31st December 1978 in Dunnet Report 1986 ( open to closed circles in maps), and as shown in the elegant maps in Krebs 1996 , post BSE restocking spread , pp. 57, 156-7, spoligotype clonal expansion 67, 173.. shown schematically in middle figure below .. So no wonder the ISG 2007 p. 96, 101 found badger culls had nil effect on unconfirmed breakdowns, because they are caused by unconfirmed reactor cows !!!

I would be more than happy to meet and discuss .. sincerely, Martin Hancox MA Oxon.
Letter Two :- To Pro-Badger Ngos And Individuals Opposing Further Costly Mindless Culls

As seen below, there are five absolutely irrefutable reasons why badgers are 100 % innocent :- (The following mss. summarises my 25 years involvement with this issue, I was on the governments Badger TB Panel, sent out widely to try and get some commonsense back into the Vexed Question !! .. if you really want to end badger culls: please see www. badgersandtb.com ; and my Ev W 8 in Vaccine Report 2013, at www.parliament.uk/efracom, vol.ii

Hi folks after all the hype and disinformation recently and over the last 4 decades! , as to whether badger culls/vaccines might work or make things worse ...Current Pilots ""Science Based "" rely on 2010 cull consultation , and current Consultation on TB Eradication Strategy (Report due early 2014) with another 10 Pilot Culls ?? NB. Laughingstock ?..The Great Badger Perturbation Fantasy Hypothesis is the greatest Pseudoscientific hoax of all time, better even than the Piltdown fraud ..rise in cattle TB "Due to culls" .. rise happened before cull, in no cull areas too, was via brought in cattle with different DNA Spoligotype than local badgers, and how on earth are badgers immigrating into cull area supposed to cause rise in outer ring !!??

You will be sick to your stomachs, and rather annoyed to find that the whole Badger TB Debate has been about a non-existent "problem" ... Badger culls/vaccines are utterly pointless, because badgers are emphatically not the problem;

Solution so simple and so blindingly obvious that no-one can see it :- five key flaws ;

Badgers cannot possibly be the hidden reservoir and cause of either the 1970s intractable cattle TB southwest hotspots, nor the cause of spread outwards to an area now of 1/2 GB ( Badgers are not marching across the length and breadth of GB, and there IS NO background badger reservoir until micro-pockets of TB occur as spillover from re-introduced cattle TB eg. in Staffs/Derby after BSE, and in Powys after FMD Restockings) ..SEE Maps 2-4 BELOW .

  1. Transmission, cattle (and human) TB is a respiratory lung infection caught by Prolonged Exposure to other cows in barns, milking parlours, a brief badger visit to barns for a drink and snack of cattle nuts WONT Work , indeed Chris Cheeseman found that even when a badger "lung TB cougher" was present in a clan/social group, there was little evidence of spread amongst clan even though they sleep in close huddles underground ! A cow would need to drink 3 cc of badger urine to acquire minimum dose of 1 million bacilli. No-one has realistically explained how badgers are supposed to give cows a respiratory lung infection. Krebs 1997, last major review, "It is not known if, how, or to what extent Badgers might give cows TB .. ISG 2007 didnt answer this p. 121, 173; Tim Roper's Badger 2010, p. 335, " we do not know how badgers transmit TB to cows"; EVEN DEFRA /government Oct. 2013 Response to EFRA Vaccine report admits, lack this key data para . 13 ! Despite dozens of papers on the supposedly textbook badger TB endemic Woodchester study area, since 1975 .. NOT A SINGLE case of a herd breakdown "Due to Badgers " !!
  2. Badger reservoir there is no self-sustaining reservoir of badger TB "Out there" , as shown by clean ring culls and badger population epidemiological studies in Avon, Cornwall, Glos, Staffs, Sussex, Wilts etc .. it occurs in incredibly small micro-pockets as a spillover from cows to 1-2 TB badgers /clan, in 1- a few clans at epicentre of herd breakdown, and dies out when not topped up from cows . Nil evidence of significant spread within/ between badger clans. MAFF found 1972 - 1996 , out of 42,130 badgers sampled from whole of GB, ONLY 4608 with TB , hardly a "Major reservoir".
  3. Culls do not make the slightest difference to cattle TB the RBCT cull of 11,000 badgers, just 1515 with TB and only 166 supposedly infectious ones (ISG pp. 96, 101, 103, 249 & Tables in Section 5).............. BUT there should have been fewer herd TB breakdowns accumulated in cull versus no-cull areas ( after the culls 1998-2005) ..whereas, in fact, in the localised or reactive areas there were 356 vs 358 breakdowns ; and in the widespread or proactive areas , 1206 vs 1310 breakdowns a mere 104 fewer, OR 10 / Triplet area (141 fewer inside vs 37 extra outside). Very hard to believe culling a mere 141 TB badgers from 600 sq.km., or 286 from 960 sq.km. in the Irish Offaly /Four Areas trials was the reason for drops in cattle TB .
  4. Mistaken identity . as shown in the Figure Below ( and see web Appendix 5 & 6, Figure 6)..Badgers have wrongly been blamed for both the random scatter of new breakdowns.... and problem herds with ongoing or repeat breakdowns but all the breakdowns of "Obscure/Unknown "origin, are actually caused by reactors caught so early they dont have lesions, so are "Unconfirmed" cases , but they are NOT False positive reactors, they do have TB... NB. 1. Some 85 % of new breakdowns due to unconfirmed reactors, and out of 340, 000 "TB"cattle since foot & mouth 2001, some 200, 000 were unconfirmeds ! NB. It is a nice irony that in the early 1990s 2 in 3 breakdowns "due to badgers" ie. actually due to unconfirmed cows, were caught early so no spread in herd OR TO Badgers, so 2 in 3 interim badger culls found Zero with TB !! and 2. Problem herds usually have 1 or more active TB spreader elderly cows which have gone beyond being skin test reactors ie. are anergic... App.6, there were 3 such cows causing 18 herd breakdowns in the intractable Lands End hotspot, so depopulating a dozen or so herds allowed the area to go clear in 1985. (A HUGE hidden cattle TB reservoir see Figure).
  5. Badger culs totally unnecessary .. Areas with TB badgers cleared by cattle measures ALONE ;- Switzerland, Scotland, and almost in Wales 1970s, Ulster only 174 reactors in 1971; similarly Lands End above, Isle of Wight, Anglesey ...

    Both the EFRA Committee, and New Strategy Consultation have ignored my suggestion that all they need to do to stop the spread of cattle TB IS

    1. Pre & post-movement cattle tests from hotspot to other areas
    2. Use either the enfer or idexx rapid blood antibody tests to find the culprit non-reactor cows (as routinely in Eire ).
    3. Cattle vaccine .. tragic, VLA could have started BCG / DIVA trials in GB a decade ago.

    Figure below :-- Cattle TB IS an infectious disease so the Cattle TB Crisis has merely been an explosion of TB within the cattle population Maps 2-4; farmers /vets dont understand this since some 75 % of spread is in "hidden cattle reservoir " (Green 2008, Biek 2012.... NOT hidden badgers after all... victim not villain.

Figure 6