Part 2 . Numbers and Geographical Spread

As shown in Figure 6 above, in the 1992 bottom map; the 20 MAFF Badger Reports 1976-1996 blamed a high density badger population with endemic self-sustaining TB for the "archipelago of intractable southwest badger TB hotspot "islands". Additional proof of localised badger "guilt" proved by the apparent success of badger culls : - gassing 1975-1981; clean ring trapping 1982-6; interim trapping 1986 -1996 with Brocktest culls 1994-1996; and the Krebs or RBCT trial 1998-2005 (Krebs 1997). Unfortunately, this elegant, neat and plausible scenario does not stand up to scrutiny :- the badger hotspot "islands" are an optical illusion; why were they such a small part of the southwest high density badger population, and TB absent amongst abundant badgers eg. Hampshire, 0 out of 260 sampled but 1 roe deer recently as TB expands amongst cattle , Kent only 1 out of 309 badgers sampled ; and far too few TB badgers to account for either a self-maintaining TB reservoir, or the alleged cull effects on cattle TB ; and badger TB dies out when not topped up by spillover from cattle :- merely a spillover host after all.

The solid "islands" were actually based on parishes where a TB badger present , and like an amoeba extending /retracting pseudopodia.. adding or removing parishes from year to year. "DUE to badger ??" :- during the low point 1975-1985 with just some 100 breakdowns per year (Figure 1 in Cattle Historical Section 3), there was a clear separation between the 7 southwest badger problem counties and the non-southwest rest of GB , where up to 75 % of breakdowns were of unknown origin; but can only have been due to untraced/ unconfirmed bought-in cattle since there was no background reservoir of TB in either cattle or badgers (Dunnet 1986; Gopal 2006). Exactly similar random scatter of unknown origin southwest breakdowns in Figure 6 : 1972 top map.. Since there did not seem to be a confirmed cattle source, miraculously however, on 31st December 1978 ALL these unknown/unconfirmed breakdowns "thought to be associated with badgers" became "Due to Badger" as in middle map.

In Truth , these apparent discrete "island" pockets were composed of two cattle elements . Figure 5 in Cattle Section 3 shows that a few chronic TB "problem" herds at the core within a parish, or annual test hotspot are the engine generating a random scatter of breakdowns within and to outside the area. And as shown in the elegant colour maps in Krebs 1997, this scatter of confirmed/unconfirmed breakdowns pp. 57, 156-7, exactly mirrors the scatter of TB badgers (culls & RTAs ) p. 165-8; which of course reflects this clonal expansion of cattle and badger DNA Spoligotypes p. 67. 173-4. However, many of the dots represent clusters of contiguous and repeat breakdowns p. 58, 91.. so a bigger cluster of spillover TB badger clans at the epicentre of the cattle problem , yet still only as Prof. Steve Harris remarked "in incredibly small Micro-pockets " of badger TB , as found in the clean ring and Brocktest culls, and even as shown below in the Figure for the Woodchester "endemic TB" study population . NB. even in Woodchester almost no evidence of clan to clan spread and transmission / expansion amongst badgers outside this zone of cattle infectivity, although TB badgers may survive at least 4 years within a clan and even self-heal , so TB "pseudo-endemic" therein ..so hardly self-maintaining within the population . (Krebs 1997; Woodroffe 1999, 2005 a & b; Jenkins 2007; White 1995 a & b ). Exactly the same scenario of clustering of herd breakdowns , and resultant spillover TB in badgers in Ireland (Olea-Popelka 2003, 2005; Kelly 2010). DNA VNTR/Spoligotyping likewise , but often current cattle strain not same as nearest badgers acquired from earlier breakdown, and one clan may retain multiple spoligotypes from several earler breakdowns; although the "Official" explanation is that badgers must be moving longer distances than previously thought to allegedly be responsible for the incidents !(Costello 1997, 2000, 2006; Corner 2012 ; Sleeman 1993 ).

The high density badger population ; with an imaginary minimum clan size to sustain TB used in modelling, does not stack up either (White 1995; Smith 2001). The highest prevalence of badger TB results from most spillover from worst cattle TB areas, so in lowest density Cornwall :- 4.7 adults /sq.km; 34.5 % TB ; three next door Glos. 1, 2, 3 areas with 19.7 adults /sq.km. ranged from 0 - 6.9 - 31.6 % TB prevalence. ( NB. NO badger-to-badger spread); with Avon 4.9 adults / 20 % TB , Staffs 6.2 adults / 17.8 % TB inbetween (Krebs 1997, p. 46).

Nearly 40 years of culling in these self-same "badger hotspots" identical in the Figure 6 4 studies : 1972, 1978, 1992 with 3 RBCT trial areas Triplets B, C, F on bottom map ; have not solved this intractable problem simply because, the hotspots were in fact due to high density dairying... most prone to persistent residual TB as discussed in Cattle in Section 3. In the West Penwith/ Lands End problem area , 3 anergic/non-reactor cows caused 18 herd breakdowns , or 10 % of the total breakdowns in the 2 1/4 year study. So depopulating a dozen or so problem herds allowed the area to go clear in 1985, alas though cattle reintroduction of TB 1988-9 (Richards 1972). Both southwest England and Wales became TB hotspots with the 1970s onwards intensification of dairying as described in Cattle Historical Section 3. Neither area had particularly bad cattle TB in the 1940s ; despite high density badgers back then; the worst TB dairying areas back then being northwest England - Staffs via Irish imports as shown in Figure 1 Map 1. Sussex too acquired a unique Irish cattle / badger spoligotype back then too( Francis 1947, 1958; Atkins 2013; Krebs 1997; Wilesmith 1983).

Perhaps the most striking fact amidst this long running controversy is just how few TB badgers there have been. True, TB badgers recorded from 27 counties so far, including most recently Derbyshire and Powys, as cattle TB expanded there .. Leics Next ? (Cheeseman 1989; Nolan 1994; MAFF Reports ). ALL 32 Irish counties too with TB badgers (Dolan 1993). MAFF found a mere 4608 TB badgers amongst 42,130 sampled 1971-1996 countrywide in Table (culls plus RTAs )...merely spillover from cattle according to worst cattle TB counties.... hard to see this as a self-maintaining reservoir ! The Welsh data are particularly revealing :- 2 TB badgers back in 1971 in Glamorgan as last spillover from eradicated cattle TB (so rivals for title "lst in GB" from Glos.. and since most of the random scatter of breakdowns were unconfirmeds, hence mostly NOT producing infective cow pats .. just 46 TB badgers out of 2363 sampled for the whole of Wales 1971-1996.

Culls

The areas where badger culls supposedly worked as shown in Figure 6 : -

A. Hartland point , went "clear" via cattle controls in countrywide decrease, prematurely going to 2 year testing allowed flare-up from residual TB (Richards 1972); again resolved by synchronised testing , so gassing badgers irrelevant (Krebs 1997). Still a dairying hotspot , bottom map.

B. Thornbury 104 sq.km. just 1 breakdown 1970; flare-up to 16 herds 1973, again resolved by cattle controls. Pilot culls found 8 TB badgers out of 40 in 7 clans (Cheeseman 1981), or 31 + out of 223 (Gallagher 2000) .. only 451 TB badgers out of 3104 sampled for whole of Avon 1972-96 ...but gassing of 4-500 badgers in large study area irrelevant.. re-colonisation across "hard boundary" Motorways took 10 years to restore population (Kruuk 1985; Clifton-Hadley 1995; Gallagher 2000, 2006).

C. Steeple Leaze, Dorset 12 sq.km. Another bad breakdown cluster of 6 farms, solved by culling 244 reactors (83 VL) , 1973-5. Pilot badger culls found 15 TB + out of 80 , but gassing irrelevant ; only 136 TB badgers amongst 2126 sampled 1972-96 for whole of Dorset..hardly a self-sustaining background TB reservoir (Little 1982).

D. Dartmoor , like Exmoor RBCT Triplet H, sparse badger population on moorland, but blamed for persistent hotspot, actually self-maintaing since shared common grazing .. whole cattle population should have been tested as a unit .

Table : TB Badgers; recorded 1972-1996 (culls 1974-96); from maff --- consultative panel badger reports 1-20

3542 TB+ BADGERS /19098 culled (18.5 %) ; 1066 + /23032 (4.6 %) RTAs = 4608 TB+ /42130 (10.9 %) culls +RTAs; MOST , c. 90% from the worst cattle TB OR the 7 "Badger Problem Counties"... Avon---Glos. + Wilts---Somerset (latterly Heref./Worcs in "southwest problem area); NOTE : few from other cull areas Staffs./Sussex....... Total cull, Excludes some 20,000 gassed early on . Seems rather obvious, that there was no widespread self-maintaining badger TB reservoir, badger TB cases merely a spillover from preceding cattle problem !

County Information Total = Culls & RTA's (RTAs Only) Total Sampled % Infected Additional
Avon 451 114 3104 14
Cornwall 1118 227 9036 12
Devon 623 59 4568 14
Gloucest'sh 1476 425 8165 18
Wiltshire 398 79 3076 13 - RBCT, Triplet E, proactive/reactive culls, 163 TB+/1651
Dorset 136 27 2126 6
Somerset 86 11 1568 5 - before new BSE-hotspot on Exmoor from 1993, Only 11 TB+ /1204 sampled..then up to 85 % TB+
Heref/Worcs 162 35 122 13 - before new BSE-hotspot from 1993 , Only 10 TB+ / 876 sampled.. then 55 % TB+
Staffs 26 10 604 4 - RBCT Triplet G, Staff/Derby. proactive/reactive culls, 113 TB+/1252
Derbysh 0 0 339 0 - 6 TB+ found just after official sample, as new post-BSE hotspot started; 6000 reactors by 2004
Sussex 68 34 1319 5
Wales 46 29 2363 1.9 - considering MAFF noted some 700 herd breakdowns , "Mostly DUE to Badgers".. there were incredibly few TB badgers :-Culls 15 & 2 Dyfed/Gwent out of 591; RTAs 2 Clwyd, 8 Dyfed, 1 Glamorgan (1971), 19 Gwent, 0/ 443 Powys ie. just 30/1773. NB. as Wales crisis developed c.25 % TB+ in Powys RTAs.

Following the Mad Cow crisis ..which occurred mostly in proportion to the numbers of dairy cows at risk ..peaking with 36, 000 cases in 1993; re-stocking and replacement of over 100, 000 BSE cattle resulted in a reappearance scatter of new TB breakdowns in areas peripheral to hotspots/ plus spillover to badgers .. such as Thornbury, Shrops/Cheshire , which had been TB-free for 20 years or more, as shown in Krebs maps and in Figure 6 : - New pockets in the 1992 bottom map, eg. Lanreath in east Cornwall, the Mendips in Somerset and also shown most strikingly 1993 onwards , by for example :-

A. Exmoor ; a cluster of 25 herds, previously in Somerset just 11TB badgers out of 1204 sampled, but foci now with up to 85 % affected..... however 1972-96 just 86 TB badgers out of 1568 for whole of Somerset .. hardly a self-sustaining background reservoir of TB;

B. Hereford/Worcs .. only 10 TB badgers amongst 876 previously ; but new foci with up to 55 % of badgers tuberculous.. total 1972-96 just 162 TB + out of 1229 sampled . Spread clearly originating in Glos. and maybe Somerset, round "top" of Severn into Hereford/Worcs and into Gwent .. thence into Powys TB-free for ages , meeting up with an easterly expansion from Dyfed hotspot.

C. Derbyshire/Staffs . The last non-southwest area to go clear under Area Eradication .. but 1972-96 there had been respectively, only 0 / 26 out of 943 badgers sampled ; ie. any former badger TB died out when cattle ceased being spillover host ..but the new re-stocking hotspot included a French spoligotype, and some 6000 reactors over a decade ( DEFRA 2004 ) So, this Triplet G in the RBCT found 113 TB badgers out of 1252 culled.

Badger TB occurs merely as a spillover host, and TB dies out when not topped up from cattle , just as in pigs..... see GB overall Krebs 1997, p. 62; Woodchester almost died out 1984, 1993 (Delahay 2000, Shirley 2003); Four Areas cull Eire (Griffin 2005 Report); Ulster the RTA survey (Abernethy 2011 ).