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Bovine TB passed to Badgers.
The commonly held belief that killing badgers would elminate bovine TB
seems at last to have died a death, according to the UK's Badger Trust
and Badgerwatch Ireland, following release of a long badger culling trial carried
out in the counties of Cork, Monaghan, Donegal & Kilkenny between 1997
Although UK's DEFRA claim the cull to have been "the best evidence yet
that badgers contribute to bovine TB", the two conservation groups
have pointed out flaws in the Irish badger culling programme. They say
that although Ireland has almost eliminated badgers from many areas,
they still have a bovine tuberculosis problem twice as big as ours. "Clearly, Ireland has
got it wrong" says UK badger Trust's Trevor Lawson.
"If you've eradicated virtually all your badgers and you've still got twice
the level of bovine TB in your national herd than we have in Britain,
where we're not slaughtering our badgers, then clearly Ireland has got it
wrong" said Trevor Lawson on the BBC News website. They claim the
high incidence of Irish bovine TB stems from the abandonment of
pre-movement TB testing of cattle in 1996, culminating in more than
45,000 reported cases in 1999, the highest level ever recorded.
On the other hand, evidence reviewed by DEFRA found it to be the "best
evidence yet that badgers contribute to bovine TB in cattle". What an
amazing assumption! One can only presume DEFRA also did not study
the outcome of the Krebs Report either, the recenly completed trial
where badgers in 30 areas in the UK were either culled proactively,
reactively, or not culled at all. The trial was abandoned when reactive
culling showed a significant increase in bovine TB. Basically, it made the
It would seem that the problem is with our cows having TB in the first
place and not with badgers, who merely catch it from cows and, of
course, pass it on. If you went to the doctor with a throat infection, he
would not advocate killing your entire family, in case they passed it on.
How much more enlightened then to cure the cows than to blame the
badgers. Badgers do not contribute to farmers profits, but cows do.
Of course, that would rasie some questions as to why our cows were
catching TB in the first place. Poor nutrition in people results in them
being more prone to catching disease, so why not look at cows diets?
cu.html" target="blank">Dick Roper of Eastington says he has found
the answer in going organic and improving his cow's and his badger's
There are no free lunches in farming and I suspect a lot of UK and Irish
farmers are now paying their bills.
Bovine TB - prevention is better than culling.
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