You cannot vaccinate
Yes, you can. You can vaccinate badgers now and people are. Wales is vaccinating and so are UK farmers, including farmers in the cull zone.
After ten years of culling badgers in the UK, based on figures from DEFRA and a proper reading of the RBCT (Randomised Badger Cull Trial) report as opposed to cherry-picking, it can be seen that even the small drop of 16 per cent in infection claimed by advocates of the cull is not a real expectation. Lord Krebs (author of the RBCT) himself reminds us that the figure of 16 per cent is merely a lessening of the rate of increase of prevalence of the disease. So after 10 years, farmers will in fact not see an improvement. And the long-term prediction is even worse. Thus the proposed cull is, as agreed by the whole scientific community, nothing short of 'crazy. In addition, the cull will alienate farmers from the public, who are horrified at this unethical killing that places no value on a wild animal whatsoever. From a supposed Ministry of the Environment, this is a disgrace. The prognosis for farms on the periphery of the cull zone is grim indeed. They will very likely see bTB increase by up to 30%. DEFRA are (ironically) talking about vaccinating badgers in these zones, but Lord Krebs warns that vaccination only works with a badger population that is stable. This is not going to be the case next to an area where they are being randomly shot
40% of the farms in the cull zone have been bTB free for 10 years or more, but science tells us they will not remain this way. Us humans have been vaccinating for years to protect ourselves.
Vaccinating badgers on farms is a simple and effective way to deal with bTB, showing results within four years instead of nine or ten by culling. It doesn’t disturb the badger population. Healthy badgers protect the areas they inhabit showing little or no perturbation.
Vaccination is the obvious way to address bTB in cattle and badgers. Vaccination is the only sustainable and effective solution. A paper published by the government’s science laboratories shows that vaccinating adult badgers also protects the cubs against bTB (9). While adults already infected with bTB are not cured, the symptoms are reduced.
This process, over time, would mean that herd immunity would be obtained in the badger populations. Family units would not be displaced; perturbation would be avoided, as would any further spread as seen in the randomised badger culling trials.
The scientists behind the new vaccine have been working with the Veterinary Laboratory Agency in Weybridge, Surrey, to test it on badgers and found that it was effective at conveying immunity upon the animals.
It will cost £51 per hectare for vaccinations (an oral vaccine will be available by 2015). It is 73% effective (in humans BCG is only 50% effective), and it was found that 75% of badgers were TB free even in endemic areas (78).
Dr Eamonn Gormley, who led the research at University College Dublin's School of Agriculture, said, "Our study has shown that oral vaccination can be effective in badgers and that it does work”.
The field trial to test the BCG vaccine in wild badgers has seen scientists catch, tag and vaccinate hundreds in Co. Kilkenny over the past three years. These tests have been carried out on captured animals for over a decade. In Kilkenny, the vaccine is squirted into the mouths of sedated badgers. For the future, it is hoped badgers will self-vaccinate by eating bait containing the BCG vaccine. Perhaps 80 percent of badgers would need to be vaccinated in order for the strategy to succeed.
The tests have shown the vaccine is effective and doesn’t break down in the stomach. Ireland’s bovine TB programme costs taxpayers around €60 million each year, part of a TB-control effort that began in the 1950s. Gormley says there was “a gradual realisation that the problem in cattle would never be solved without addressing TB in badgers.”
The European Commission has now laid out a ten-year plan for the legal establishment of vaccination for cattle. This is not, as Paterson and Heath are so fond of telling us, bad news. Cattle vaccination could be here in 2023 if the Government acts now to take up this proposal as an absolute priority. Time and money spent on killing badgers is counter-productive, because, although this looks like 'doing something right now', it is something that will not solve the problem. With badger culling, we arrive at 2023 with a crippled farming industry.
Team Badger will assist anyone in the cull zones to vaccinate their badgers now instead of culling. This will not disrupt the badgers; they will stay in situ, preventing migration and protecting the TB-free status of the farmer's environment. A herd immunity in the badgers will be built up over a period of about four years as infected animals disappear, preventing bTB from being passed to them from then on. This would also eliminate the 'reservoir' of disease. This is infinitely more sensible than killing off the healthy badgers and risking an influx of unhealthy animals.
Team Badger is committed to helping both cattle and badgers in this campaign, and solving the problem of TB for farmers. The team is composed of animal campaigners, and its work is directed towards the welfare of all animals. We urge the Government and the NFU to abandon this awful plan immediately and clear a path for all parties to work together towards a viable solution for farmers.
1. Bovine TB Time Line. Bovine TB Overview and Timeline
2. Randomised Badger Culling Trial. Final Report of the Independent Scientific Group (ISG) on Cattle TB. Read Report Here
3. Estimates of badger population sizes in the West Gloucestershire and West Somerset pilot areas. A report to Natural England - 22 February 2013. Read Report Here http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130822084033/
4. Estimating the risk of cattle exposure to tuberculosis posed by wild deer relative to badgers in England and Wales. Read Report Here
5.Statement from the European Commission regarding an article in the Mail On Sunday on 21 October. There is no EU financial support provided for the culling of badgers. http://ec.europa.eu/unitedkingdom/press/press_releases/2012/pr1245_en.htm
'The European Commission was disappointed to see an article by Brian May in the Mail on Sunday on 21 October which quotes Georg Haeusler, chief adviser to the European Commissioner for Agriculture. Some of the quotes are out of context or inaccurate - and therefore misleading.
Vaccination of cattle against TB is forbidden under current EU rules agreed by all Member States, including the UK. This is because there is no effective test to tell the difference between vaccinated and infected animals, making it impossible to protect the food chain and identify which animals could be exported.
If such a test were to be developed and approved at EU and international levels – which would take time – the rules could be changed relatively quickly. But Mr Haeusler explained that this would be the responsibility of the Health Commissioner, who deals with vaccination issues, and who could also advise on the exact process and timing in this case.
The Commission provides substantial financial support to the approved UK bovine TB eradication programme. For 2012, EUR 31.2 million were allocated to implement a rapid eradication strategy. There is no EU financial support provided for the culling of badgers.'
6.Parliamentary briefing paper - Science & Environment. Read Report Here or www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN05873.pdf
7. The Cattle Book 2008 Descriptive statistics of cattle numbers in Great Britain on 1 June 2008: Density Maps. Read Report Here or http://www.defra.gov.uk/publications/files/pb13572-cattlebook-2008-090804.pdf
8. European Commission Audit - audit was carried out in the UK from 5-16th September 2011. TB Eradication Programme. Read Report Here
9. Vaccination reduces the risk of unvaccinated badger cubs testing tuberculosis positive. Read Report Here
Vaccination reduces the risk of unvaccinated badger cubs testing tuberculosis positive
10. Conversation in the House of Lords where Lord Krebs and Lord Knight of Weymouth – Hansard. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201213/ldhansrd/text/121023-0001.htm
11. 'Bovine tuberculosis infection in wild mammals in the South-West region of England: A survey of prevalence and a semi-quantitative assessment of the relative risks to cattle'. READ HERE
12. Final report of an audit carried out in the United Kingdom from 5th-16th September 2011 In order to evaluate the operation of the Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication Programme. READ HERE
13. TB skin test questioned after false results. http://www.fwi.co.uk/articles/05/02/2013/137488/tb-skin-test-questioned-after-false-results.htm#.URD1fq2kidE
14. Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Bovine TB - Key conclusions from the meeting of scientific experts. Held at Defra on 4th April 2011.
15. Illegal in the US to feed deer and cattle together for risk of bovine Tb transfer.
16. Scientist writes an open letter condemning the cull. http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2012/oct/14/letters-observer
17. Despite no badgers having yet being killed under official sanction in Northern Ireland, as Ms O'Neill has acknowledged, the annual herd incidence has almost halved, from nearly 10% in 2002 to just over 5% on 30 September 2011. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/ni/?id=2011-11-28.7.25
18. Cattle movements the most significant factor in spread of bovine TB.
19. Stress prevents immune systems from working. A 3rd more females (in buffalo adult females stressed out the yearling females) and links with human stats. http://www.krugerpark.co.za/krugerpark-times-2-21-buffalo-tb-21399.html
20. Bovine tuberculosis in Europe from the perspective of an officially tuberculosis free country: trade, surveillance and diagnostics. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21439740
21. Durham University Paper. READ HERE
22. Recording of Professor Atkins from Durham University http://ihrrblog.org/2013/02/14/bovine-tb-risk-in-britain-past-and-present
23. Police don’t want to police this, too expensive. http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/wildlife/article3706318.ece
24. Herd size is a known risk factor for bTB (Denny and Wilesmith 1999, Olea-Popelka and others 2004, Reilly and Courtenay 2007); accordingly, direct standardisation was used to adjust for varying herd size (Dohoo et al., 2003). (Abernethy et al., 2013)
25. Slaughter Detection and pre movement Testing in Oreland. http://www.ucd.ie/t4cms/biennial%20report%20200809%20bovine%20tuberculosis.pdf
26.Four Area Project. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3113914/
27. Where is this?
28 . History of bTB – Defra. http://archive.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanimal/diseases/atoz/tb/abouttb/index.htm
29. HOUSE OF COMMONS. ORAL EVIDENCE TAKEN BEFORE THE ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE, BOVINE TB VACCINATION, TUESDAY 26 FEBRUARY 2013, BERNARD VAN GOETHEM, FRANCISCO REVIRIEGO, KOEN VAN DYCK AND JACQUELINE MINOR. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmenvfru/uc981-ii/uc98101.htm
30. Incidents of M. bovis infection in non-bovine domestic animals & wild deer in GB confirmed by laboratory culture. http://archive.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanimal/diseases/atoz/tb/documents/tb-otherspecies.pdf
31. Lord Krebs, who ran a ten-year review into whether culling could control bovine tuberculosis, said that the Government’s estimates had varied so wildly that under the previous target farmers would have been asked to shoot 144 per cent of the badgers in Gloucestershire. He said “To me what it says is that the practicality of killing 70 per cent is one question but the real question is how do they know what their starting number is?” http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/wildlife/article3703610.ece
32. Professor Robbie McDonald, an author of the paper and now at the University of Exeter's Environment and Sustainability Institute, said: "This striking result in cubs shows a protective effect at the social group level and is important evidence that vaccination not only has a direct benefit to vaccinated badgers, but can also reduce the infectivity of TB within a badger social group that has been vaccinated."
33. World Health Organisation description of TB and how it is transmitted.
34. Neigbouring farms have different bTB.
35. End ban on hunting with dogs, urges Tory Environment Minister: Paterson makes his views clear on controversial subject.
36. In Wales the government have caged, trapped and vaccinated over 1,400 badgers. Evidence from a four year field study (9) shows that BCG vaccinations in badgers reduces the risk of infection to cubs. It is possible to vaccinate. It will not make matters worse and evidence to date suggest it has a positive effect. Myself and Brian May met with Christianne Glossop (Chief Vet of Wales) in London last month to discuss successes and failures of the vaccination program and how we may work with them on this project to improve and support it to its conclusion.
37. Defra graphs on bTB showing increase after foot and mouth http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/files/defra-stats-foodfarm-landuselivestock-tb-statsnotice-120403.pdf
38. Conservative Animal Welfare - Statement on bTB. http://www.conservativeanimalwelfare.co.uk/page/20/
40. Deep divisions in the badger cull. http://catbrainsite.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/deep-divisions-in-british-society-over-badger-cull/
41. ORAL VACCINE TELEGRAPH. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/7996663/Oral-TB-vaccine-may-prevent-need-for-badger-cull.html
42. British cattle are moved annually; with over 13 million cattle movements. http://rpa.defra.gov.uk/rpa/index.nsf/UIMenu/C2268E828EFED0B280256FE300347A0C?Opendocument
43. Closely mirroring the historical rise in bTB cases is the rise in cattle movements, with 480,294 more cattle moved in 2010 than 2009 Cattle movements have more than quadrupled between 1999 (3,373,646) and 2010 (13,690,294) and have involved over 127million animals since 1998. http://rpa.defra.gov.uk/rpa/index.nsf/vContentByTaxonomy/BCMS**Statistics**2010%20Statistics**?OpenDocument
44. Oral vaccine Eamonn Gormley. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/7996663/Oral-TB-vaccine-may-prevent-need-for-badger-cull.html
45. Details on Eamonn Gormley. http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/veterinarymedicine/dreamonngormley/
46. Swiss herd shown that BTB was endemic in herd and had been present for several years. http://worldradio.ch/wrs/news/wrsnews/cows-infected-with-bovine-tb-culled.shtml?35284
47. Byrne, A. W., Sleeman, D. P., O’Keeffe, J. & John, D., (2012a). The Ecology of the European Badger (Meles meles) in Ireland, a review. Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 112B(1), pp. 105-132. http://www.academia.edu/671427/The_Ecology_of_the_European_badger_Meles_meles_in_Ireland_-_a_review
48. Man shot while hunting rabbits . Fell on his gun SHROPSHIRE. http://news.sky.com/story/1075232/rabbit-hunter-shot-dead-in-tragic-accident
49. Byrne, A. W. et al., (2012b). Impact of culling on relative abundance of the European badger (Meles meles) in Ireland. European Journal of Wildlife Research, pp. DOI 10.1007/s10344-012-0643-1.
50. More, S. J., (2005). Towards eradication of Bovine Tuberculosis in Ireland A critical review of progress, Dublin: Centre for Veterinary Epidemiology and Risk Analysis.
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54. Eves, J.A., (1999). Impact of badger removal on bovine tuberculosis in east county Offaly. Irish Veterinary Journal 52, 199–203.
55. Eves, J.A., (1993). The East Offaly Badger Research project: an interim report. The Badger Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin (1993), pp. 166–173
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70. Farming after foot and Mouth. http://www.tbfreeengland.uk.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/RP01-67.pdf
71. 81%of the population are against the proposed culling of Badgers (Bow Group research 2012). http://www.bowgroup.org/policy/bow-group-urges-government-scrap-badger-cull-plans
72. The Citizen newspaper poll found 90.2% were against the cull (4 Oct 2012).
73. Control of Bovine (bTB ) Cattle Biosecurity - Part 5 NFU Southwest http://www.southwest-tbadvice.co.uk/uploads/TB_Bulletin_5-Cattle_Bio-security_30_11_10.pdf
74. BTB remains in slurry for up to two years. M. bovis is expected to persist in slurry-treated soil for up to two years http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2710499/
75. M. bovis is expected to persist in slurry-treated soil for up to two years. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2710499/#R61
76. Bovine TB : a review of badger to cattle transmission. http://www.dardni.gov.uk/afbi-literature-review-tb-review-badger-to-cattle-transmission.pdf
77. 22% of new bTB cattle detected at slaughter. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2012/oct/05/badger-cull-tb-cattle
78. TB Vaccination of Badgers www.bacvi.org.uk
79. The use of dogs and Defra. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/69586/pb13716-shooting-guidance.pd
80 .Cattle bTB and ferrets, 4 out of 80 foxes had btB. http://www.bovinetb.info/docs/johngallt_b_review9-04.pd
81. Paul R. Torgerson and David J. Torgerson stated in their paper ‘Public health and bovine tuberculosis: what’s all the fuss about?' READ HERE