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Badger cull policing bill expected to reach £4 million

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: October 20, 2012

Farmer Jan Rowe, who has had a central role in organising the trial

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The cost of the badger cull will far exceed the benefits to farmers, it emerged yesterday – but it will still go ahead.

The coalition Government and farmers’ leaders insist there will be no U-turn on the planned pilot schemes in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

Figures released yesterday by Defra show the benefits to farmers are £3.68 million, while the costs are £4.56 million – not including the bill for policing, estimated at £4 million over four years.

Agriculture Minister David Heath, the Somerton & Frome MP, said yesterday that 55 Government officials have been assigned to visit badger cull areas to take DNA samples and conduct sett surveys. The total cost of the effectiveness monitoring, for which the bulk of the surveys work was conducted, is estimated at £850,000, he said.

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Environment Secretary Owen Paterson was in Tewkesbury on Thursday evening, for a question and answer session with local farmers, and he told them there were no plans to scrap the cull. He was invited by his friend Laurence Robertson, the Tewkesbury MP, who said he did not know when the Gloucestershire cull would start.

“Defra wants to make sure the licences have been issued properly,” Mr Robertson said.

“The problem of TB has been going on for at least the 15 years I have been an MP and nothing has been done to eradicate the disease. The Government is now determined to do that.”

Dairy farmer Jan Rowe, director of GlosCon, the company set up to organise the cull, warned it must start in the next two weeks or there is a risk it will be delayed until next June.

“It needs to be done by the start of December when the shooting season closes.

“If it is not started in the next couple of weeks, then it will be June next year before we can do anything.”

Farmers insist the cull is necessary to tackle rising rates of TB in cattle, costing the industry and taxpayers millions of pounds a year.

Charles Mann, who represents the National Farmers’ Union in Gloucestershire, says something must be done to stop the spread of bovine TB. He said: “It’s not going to destroy the national population. It’s going to reduce it enormously in the affected areas, but they are still going to breed and be there.

“We’re not trying to impact its iconic status, but we are trying to make both populations – badgers and cattle – healthy again.”

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  • Charlespk  |  October 28 2012, 5:17PM

    Do you REALLY believe Alex Salmond is going to let M.bovis infected badgers go on spreading the disease inexorably up to Scotland???? Some say the cull has already started. http://tinyurl.com/3zpxybr

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  • badgerhugger  |  October 23 2012, 2:38PM

    23rd October. THE GOVERNMENT HAS U-TURNED. Thus proving they can't count, can't work out finances and do not have the backing of farmers, scientists, many of their own MPs or the general public. Well done badger supporters.

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  • Muttley  |  October 21 2012, 1:03PM

    This cull science is built on sand. There is only an argument for killing wildlife if TB is "self-sustaining" in the wildlife host - otherwise cattle controls alone are sufficient. The latest review on TB and badgers I've just read says there is no proof the disease is self-sustaining in badgers: "Bovine TB: a review of badger-to-cattle transmission" Allen et al, 2011: http://tinyurl.com/8j7gcpe null To quote: "These findings, from diverse locations across the British Isles, indicated that badgers were susceptible to TB (M. bovis) and potentially constituted a wildlife reservoir which might transmit M. bovis infection to cattle (Little et al., 1982). Crucially, it is not known whether TB is self-sustaining in badgers (SGM, 2008). The only evidence, which is anecdotal due to small sample sizes, is the detection of TB in RTA badgers outside RBCT areas (SGM, 2008). Modelling suggests that TB could persist in badger social groups comprising at least six adults and juveniles (White and Harris 1995). Persistence of TB in badgers in Woodchester Park is insufficient evidence since the area probably still has infectious cattle sources. The SGM concluded that if TB was indeed self-sustaining in badgers, cattle-based control measures alone would not eliminate the disease in either species (SGM 2009). We propose that it may be that the ability of badgers to sustain infection in their own populations is variable across different geographical areas as a function of the differing population densities that can occur, as discussed previously. If this was the case, and in some sub-populations badgers did not sustain infection on their own, this could lead to recommending different regional control strategies."

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  • EJANDODIN  |  October 21 2012, 12:56PM

    We have the technology: "ANIMAL activists are turning high-tech in their campaign to stave off the government's badger cull. They plan to use night-vision goggles, infrared cameras and GPS tracking devices to monitor marksmen hired to shoot badgers in an attempt to halt the spread of bovine TB. They will film the animals being shot and post the footage online to stoke public anger against the two trial culls in West Gloucestershire and Somerset."

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  • EJANDODIN  |  October 21 2012, 10:10AM

    "So to summarise: - There's a very high risk it won't work - There's a high risk that badgers fleeing will cause TB to spread and cause the problem to get worse - It's very high cost, and even if successful, will cost more than it saves. - It's very low reward - the government minister admits that, even if it's a complete perfect success and sustained on a massive scale for years, it would only reduce TB in cattle by 16% - Even if it worked perfectly, it would only bring a short term benefits - The leading experts - including the government's own chief scientist and the scientist who lead the largest research project on the effectiveness of badger culls - are dead against it - The public are overwhelmingly against it - There are real concerns about the safety to the public if marksmen are going to be stalking land in which, in some cases, is public access, in total darkness, silently shooting any badger-sized (human child sized) things they see move - There are lower risk, higher reward, more long term, more cost-effective alternatives that aren't being considered. So I guess the real question is, which interest group or company is benefiting from this financially, and how much in donations have they given the Tory party?

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  • EJANDODIN  |  October 21 2012, 9:54AM

    "We have now had information which reveals a number of serious flaws in the licensing process," writes Morgan. "We have advised our clients that the licences granted are unlawful."

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  • Charlespk  |  October 21 2012, 9:48AM

    There WILL be badger cull. COUNT ON IT. . These bacteria don't take any notice of PC ANTHROPOMORPHISM, and they don't respect national borders. . Do you REALLY believe Alex Salmond is going to let M.bovis infected badgers go on spreading the disease inexorably up to Scotland? http://tinyurl.com/3zpxybr

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  • EJANDODIN  |  October 21 2012, 9:31AM

    Charles : I think you may be in some sort of loop as you keep repeating all this nonsense. Time to switch off now: Legal challenge to the cull: http://tinyurl.com/9n3zdlu

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  • Charlespk  |  October 21 2012, 9:00AM

    Those informed and knowledgeable about the Mycobacterium tuberculosis genus of TB causing bacteria know that they don't go OUT OF DATE, they just continually mutate and evolve during the process of clonal expansion. . That's why they have been so successful over many thousands of years, and why now the BCG vaccine has become increasingly ineffective and is now only useful for babies and very young children. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The cost of policing should now be borne by the Labour Party, the Badger Trust, the RSPCA, the RSPB, Brian May, the BBC and any others who have whipped up all this hysteria whilst also not having the first idea what they are talking about. The benefit of the cull is to the whole nation. . We are the only developed country in the world with this problem now, because of the total ignorance of the subject by PC anthropomorphisists who can't face up to the realities of life, and the problems these bacteria are causing across the world. . HIV wasn't a problem back in the 60's and we thought we had beaten Tuberculosis. . HIV is an ever growing problem, Tuberculosis is at a 30year high and the combination of the two are now threatening populations right across the world. We cannot just ignore the epidemic Mycobacterium bovis and let it go on increasing exponentially in the wild. Back in 1997, Dr. Jerome Harms, now Senior Scientist, Pathobiological Sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, wrote. "Recently, there have been many outbreaks of M.bovis caused tuberculosis in humans especially HIV+ patients. Most have occurred in countries where M.bovis is endemic in the animal agriculture population. Multi-drug resistant strains of M.bovis are now appearing as well. The significance of this TB threat from M.bovis has not been taken as seriously as the threat from M.tuberculosis (Human TB)" "However, the scientific and medical community must not ignore the potential of an M.bovis TB epidemic." Again; quite prophetically, he wrote that back in 1997. XAR and XDR TB (M.tuberculosis or M.bovis) http://tinyurl.com/8a7bwy9 (open in a new window)

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  • EJANDODIN  |  October 20 2012, 9:27PM

    These are the type of farmers we need to support and boycott the badger killers.

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