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Beef farmer to give up life's work after badger cull delay

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: October 25, 2012

Pauline Kidner, the founder of the Secret World animal rescue centre in Somerset where she is pictured, said she is frustrated that ‘misinformation and lack of understanding’ of the issues will prevent an informed debate when the House of Commons considers the cull today. She said: ‘It is a great shame that special advisors are not allowed to be in there. Our argument has always been backed by science’

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A beef farmer claims he will be forced to give up farming cattle because the pilot cull of badgers where he farms has been postponed.

David Barton, 45, said yesterday it was “outrageous” that TB in cattle would not be tackled now, and that the plan to trap and shoot badgers had been shelved by the Government after years of indecision.

On Tuesday, the Government announced that a trial cull in Gloucestershire and Somerset to assess the impact of badgers passing TB to cattle would be delayed.

Mr Barton, who runs Manor Farm in Middle Duntisbourne, near Cirencester in Gloucestershire, said 44 of his cattle had been slaughtered since February, after testing positive for TB.

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The beef farmer now claims there is “no point” in restocking his herd and will have to give up, a prospect that makes him “incredibly sad”.

He said: “There’s no point in me restocking because of the level of infection in wildlife we have in and around the farm, so I’ll most likely have to give up farming cattle. Had the pilot culls gone ahead and been successful, and we could have seen that it could be rolled out, it would have given us some hope that we can get on top of this disease, but to leave it is an outrage.”

Jan Rowe, a Cotswolds dairy farmer who is TB spokesman for the National Farmers Union, said the decision to postpone the cull was “utter devastation”.

He said: “I certainly hope it does go ahead next year because we desperately need to get control over the disease in badgers.”

The Government has delayed the six-week trial until next year after realising there are twice as many badgers in the culling zones as previously thought.

This makes it difficult for farmers to kill enough animals in time to affect cattle TB rates. Mr Rowe added: “This underlines the huge number of badgers that are out there and the problems we are facing.

“This is a diseased badger community and until we start dealing with that disease in the badger population we’re going to get nowhere in cattle. I’m pretty sure the cull will go ahead. It’s obviously very challenging but farmers are desperate to get on with this.

“We know vaccines are a potential tool in the future but they’re still six or seven years away before they can be rolled out to have any effect on TB.”

Anti-cull campaigners have welcomed the decision to postpone the cull but the delay is a “hollow victory” for Pauline Kidner, the prominent campaigner who is also founder of Somerset’s Secret World rescue charity.

Yesterday she said: “We are fighting against the cull because we know it will make things worse, and it’s not worth it. It is not about the badger being a fluffy black-and-white animal.”

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  • eyeopener  |  October 30 2012, 7:47PM

    @2ladybugs I cannot advise you on whether to stay or not, but its always a pleasure talking to you. You try and corroborate your views with research rather than simply asking the reader to take things on trust. Until we meet again, keep well :-)))

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  • 2ladybugs  |  October 30 2012, 7:17PM

    Re comment 6.47. that should be 'run its course on here' Actually, added to that, there are only four of us prattling on to each other and two of us have more 'insider' knowledge than the other two, which seems a bit unfair in the circumstance.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  October 30 2012, 7:04PM

    ps I certainly do not favour the RBCT particularly as it was never analysed properly. It's a bit like reading a book three-quarters of the way through and not finding out what the final outcome is.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  October 30 2012, 6:56PM

    @ eyeopener If you set the costs of the cull against the cost of paying for farmed animals culled there will in fact be a saving. The figures given so far have been on the analysis of a saving of just 16% but when you take the correct figure of 34% there will be a saving to taxpayers.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  October 30 2012, 6:47PM

    "Charles; do you think this subject has run it's course now on here? . Because all we seem to be getting is constant denial and refusal to accept basic science and the basic tenets of the disease. . You've been very patient. . If you don't bother to reply I'll understand why.

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  • eyeopener  |  October 30 2012, 6:47PM

    @2ladybugs I am not a vet or scientist but the research that I and other THIS IS SOMERSET readers have pointed to show a growing consensus that culling badgers will cost tax payers dearly without significant effect. I know that you have reservations about the relevance of the Oxford University study 'Cattle movements and bovine tuberculosis in Great Britain' but Defra 'The Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT)' that you favour was only two years later (2007), that's still five years from now. You have cited the RBTC as evidence that culling would be cost effective, however we all know now that the RBTC estimates of badger population are wildly out making its claim that the increase in bovine TB would be reduced by 34% instead of 16% suspect. Amongst the unresolved problems is a need for a diagnostic test that will be unaffected by Liver Fluke, and other issues; and so prevent infected cattle moving onto uninfected farms. Against that backdrop there is yet to be a cost effective case presented for badger culling.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  October 30 2012, 6:07PM

    or even 'proven'

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  • 2ladybugs  |  October 30 2012, 6:04PM

    It still doesn't negate the theory that badgers pass on bTB to other mammals. They will still have to be culled until anything else is prvoen beyond any doubt. There is a lot of effort being put into the badger side of things and not just for this countries benefit.

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  • eyeopener  |  October 30 2012, 5:57PM

    @2ladybugs Thank you for confirming that it contributed to a growing consensus. Yet again I am compelled to agree with you :-)))

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  • 2ladybugs  |  October 30 2012, 5:49PM

    That letter was from 2005 and would probably have been taken into account by recent reports from Cambridge/Liverpool. You might find acknowledgements stated on these reports.

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