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RSPCA say TB figures prove "badger cull is a pantomime"

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: January 16, 2014

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The RSPCA reacts to yesterday's announcement that the Government overestimated number of cattle herds with TB.

A spokesperson from RSPCA said: “The revelation that the Government has over stated the number of cattle herds with TB due to a computer glitch has proved, once again, the badger cull has become a complete pantomime.

“The Government must now admit the cull has failed and put an immediate stop to this fiasco; they have lost the argument on the science, the culls' effectiveness, animal welfare and now even the underlying reason for the culls.

“The RSPCA cares about badgers and cattle alike and the only real way forward is the vaccination of both cattle and badgers, better biosecurity and control of cattle movements.”

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14 comments

  • Charlespk  |  January 18 2014, 9:44AM

    Peter Martin, welcome to the mighty band of ignorant badgerists who haven't got any understanding of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis genus of tuberculosis causing bacteria whatsoever, and don't give a monkey about any other mammals except the European badger Meles meles a species of badger in the family Mustelidae. Here's some education for you. THE NATURE OF TB IN BADGERS. 1.Tuberculosis has a different manifestation in most species . In the badger it is fundamentally different from TB in cattle essentially due to the lack of development of a hypersensitivity response which is a prime feature of infection in cattle. Thus small numbers of organisms infecting cattle produce a vigorous cellular response which results in extensive cell death and the development of large cold abscesses in the affected tissues usually the lung and respiratory lymph nodes . This is in fact the host immune reaction to TB. Whilst causing disease and disruption to the affected organs the changes inside these abscesses strongly inhibit the TB bacteria and kill many of them. The badger does not show such a vigorous destructive reaction but rather a slowly progressive proliferative reaction which eventually results in cell death as numbers of bacteria increase markedly. TB lesions are thus relatively much smaller but contain relatively vastly more bacteria than those of cattle. TB bacteria do not produce toxins but rather cause lesions as a result of their highly antigenic cell walls to which different hosts may respond with greater or lesser aggression. PROGRESSION OF INFECTION 2. Once a badger develops disease all the members of that social group are likely to become infected due to the confined living space in their underground tunnel systems, their highly gregarious nature and constant mutual grooming. But that seed of infection (the primary focus ) will usually only progress to produce disease and eventually death in a minority of cases. Latency is a feature of TB in many species and this is so in badgers and cattle. The bulk of infections in badgers, usually 70% or more will become latent or dormant. A small number of badgers may resolve the infection completely and self cure. But the latent infections remain fully viable and may breakdown under stress which may be of nutritional origin, intercurrent disease, senile deterioration or social disturbance and disruption. Some badgers may develop fulminating disease (Gallagher et al 1998). Badgers with terminal generalised tuberculosis can excrete vast numbers of bacteria particularly when the kidneys are infected. Counts of several million bacteria in a full urination have been recorded (Gallagher and Clifton-Hadley, 2000). When infection is acquired by a bite wound from the contaminated mouth of another badger, the bacteria are Inoculated either deeply subcutaneously or intramuscularly and rapid generalisation of infection usually occurs, causing progression to severe and often fatal tuberculosis which may develop in a matter of several months (Gallagher and Nelson, 1979). Respiratory origin infections have a longer duration and cases in an endemically infected population (Woodchester) have been monitored showing intermittent excretion of infection for a year, with the longest recorded case excreting for almost three years before death. The above ground mortality due to TB is estimated as about 2% of the population per annum. Thus in the South West alone with its now extensive endemically infected areas the annual deaths due to TB will be of the order of at least 1000 to 2000. Tuberculosis has an unfettered progress in the badger population and the cycle of infection and disease in the badger has long been known to be self sustaining (Zuckerman 1980). Over time the badger has become well adapted as a primary reservoir host of bovine TB infection. . . . . . . Dr John Gallagher, a veterinary pathologist since 1972 Again, I do hope you are feeling better later.

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  • oldlongdog  |  January 18 2014, 9:19AM

    Oh dear Charles, now you have revealed your true colours in spectacular style! Anyone who disagrees with you must be a 'feeling inferior' and (looking at your post on the other article) a 'lefty' or a 'student' or an 'animal rights nutter'... and you think that not killing things is 'immoral'?! Charles, you are a parody of the unthinking country bufton, sounding off in ever more furious tones until you collapse from apoplexy! Putting words in capitals (the equivalent of shouting) doesn't make you right. Nor does being old and nor does being right about one thing make you right about everything. You cannot just point to one scientific argument and then dismiss all the rest because it suits your point of view. You have to consider it all in the round' and then make a balanced, reasoned decision rather than lash out at the truth. What has being a 'lefty' got to do with the science? Why does caring for animals mean giving them 'rights'? Your accusation that people who care about science, and animal welfare 'don't pay much tax' is risible! Does paying tax automatically make a person right about everything?! What an unbelievably stupid statement... I've worked all my life, had an expensive education, paid my taxes, am neither a 'lefty' or a 'righty' and can trace my family back to the Norman Conquest. My opinions come from an open mind, reading a lot of science and the experience of living in the countryside (including working on farms as a youngster). So now we've got all that out of the way you need to go back to the science, and the politics (because the waste of taxpayers money is also important) and look at the problem in the round. You cannot dismiss the ISG and all the other scientists who, after all, spent 9 years and £50m of our money concluding that badger culling doesn't work. They haven't said that badgers don't have bTB, just that it is too expensive, too difficult and not effective to try and solve any part of the bTB problem by culling. Every time it is tried it fails and consumes huge amounts of effort and public money, all to no good effect. It's nothing to do with being a 'lefty, work-shy, animal rights nutter' - it's simply because it doesn't work. And you know it doesn't because you have still failed to answer why, in the 21 years following the discovery of bTB in badgers and the introduction of the Protection of Badgers Act, when farmers were able to kill as many as they liked, that bTB was steadily rising? Tell us how your 'historically indisputable facts' account for that? And instead of petulantly demanding I write down all the science here (posts are limited and I've given you plenty of links) and spluttering on about Voodoo and Black Magic, why don't you say whether or not you think badgers are the only source of bTB or whether you admit that cattle-to-cattle transmission is also a factor. And if cattle do pass it on to each other, tell us to what extent you think that contributes to the problem? I invited you to come out and witness the cull when it was on but you refused. If you had you would have seen just how impractical a cull is to prosecute on the ground, in the real world of rain and mud, and badgers not being seen. Neither you nor Defra, nor any of the landowners actually know where all the badgers are or how many of them exist. The countryside is too big; it would take thousands of gunmen months to get anywhere near making an impact on bTB. Who's going to pay for that - you? I feel sorry for you Charles; it must be very frustrating, not to say humiliating, having a lifetime of beliefs trashed so publicly and comprehensively by the facts and by practical experience. The trick, though, is not to have 'beliefs' but to have an open mind and trust in the science.

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  • Charlespk  |  January 17 2014, 1:52PM

    Even feeling very inferior today. But it's a bit like Gi Go I suppose. Garbage in, Garbage out.

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  • Charlespk  |  January 17 2014, 1:35PM

    You must be very very inferior today. But there it is is. . It's not up to me to explain your badgerist psychosis. The INDISPUTABLE, historically accurate, scientific facts. http://tinyurl.com/bw7jpxy (open in a new window)

    Rate   -13
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  • oldlongdog  |  January 17 2014, 1:17PM

    Sorry charles but, as I've said elsewhere, you do talk the most awful cack about bTB and badgers. We are not 'badgerists', we are taxpayers who are sick and tired of all the lies we are being told and having to pay millions of our pounds to clear up the messes farmers keep making (BSE, F&M and now this). The ISG report on the RCBT gathered together all the scientific evidence currently known (including going back all the years you claim to have lived) and concluded that culling badgers couldn't have any significant impact on the spread of bTB. The recent cull has proved they were right and demonstrated with piercing clarity just how hard it is to cull badgers effectively, let alone at a reasonable cost. You still haven't answered my question about the missing 21 years when people like you were free to kill badgers unchecked but bTB was still rising. That's because it fatally undermines your argument. Being alive 60 years ago doesn't make you right about everything. What we know now about the epidemiology of bTB wasn't known then. Things move on and we need to pay attention the the state of science now, not then. We know now, for instance, that increased herd sizes, increased cattle movements and increased stress on cattle since the 1950s and 60s is a major factor in the spread of the disease. Combine this with over-wintering in over crowded barns, poorly applied testing regimes, missed tests and the unspeakably stupid practice of putting reactors back in the herd before they are collected for slaughter and you have your answer - bTB is rampant. The infection of badgers mirrors the infection of cattle but at a much lower rate. Cure the cows and the badgers cure themselves (either by dying or by developing immunity). We also know that trying to shoot badgers at night causes a 'perturbation effect' where settled badger clans start moving about and potentially making the situation worse rather than better. This is why vaccinating badgers is better than culling - it's not perfect but it does keep the problem in one place. What is so sad, Charles, is the fact that you cannot accept all this and that you are determined to exterminate badgers. Even sadder is that if you got your way bTB would still be rampant in cattle. I suspect that you are simply too vain and bull-headed to accept the truth. Normal people do not kill animals for no good reason.

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  • Charlespk  |  January 17 2014, 8:13AM

    Jake; there was a 10,000% increase in bTB when they stopped the gassing and protected badgers. Now they now shout and scream about minimal percentage reductions probably induced by farmers taking matters into their own hands as they certainly have in Wales. But as you say no amount of unsupported statements by "charities" will stop the fact that in 2012 in England we had the highest recorded level of TB in cattle in our modern history. The INDISPUTABLE, historically accurate, scientific facts. http://tinyurl.com/bw7jpxy (open in a new window)

    Rate   -15
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  • Jake_Blake  |  January 16 2014, 11:05PM

    I think it's important to realise that it's the herd numbers, and possibly the incidence level that has problems. The number of dead cattle is not in question which is why a certain Badger Biased Corporation is making mischief for it's ambiguous headline; http://tinyurl.com/p3ff5lo But, a statement in which a lie is claimed by a certain, Ramsgate Sheep Pogrom Carnage Association; "the government admitted that distorted data may have 'significantly exaggerated' the number of cattle infected by TB in Britain." is just downright disgraceful. http://tinyurl.com/q4p77mh Unfortunately no amount of unsupported statements by "charities" will stop the fact that in 2012 in England we had the highest recorded level of TB in cattle in our modern history.

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  • NDJMILLER  |  January 16 2014, 11:02PM

    As opposed to the nasty farming industry ? http://tinyurl.com/njpvhvq

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  • Charlespk  |  January 16 2014, 6:41PM

    Just more mischief from the nasty RSPCA, totally ignoring the fact that reactor numbers soared from just 400 to 40,000 as soon as gassing ended and badgers were protected. The INDISPUTABLE, historically accurate, scientific facts. http://tinyurl.com/bw7jpxy (open in a new window) The nasty RSPCA. http://tinyurl.com/mlo9beb (open in a new window. Dogs killed) http://tinyurl.com/lmoowmv ( (open in a new window. more shame)

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  • barney2  |  January 16 2014, 6:24PM

    BrockStripes Yes Charles has been busy in more way's than one. Charles you had better pop over to the WMN site the ratings need adjusting over there.

    Rate   -9
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