DEFRA and Immuno-contraceptionWhile maize was used to bait the treatment, it seems that meat is now being used. Dr Martin Goulding is worried that such a practice "risks turning an animal which is primarily vegetarian onto meat as a food source with implications for livestock kills."
Wild boar are messy eaters and part of what they eat will inevitably find its way onto the forest floor making it available to non-target species. (See also BBC page on wild boar in Britain) (Details and concerns about the Forest of Dean project can be seen in full at http://www.britishwildboar.org.uk/defraimmuno.html)
( Comment on the subject of the contraceptive trials in the Forest of Dean would be gratefully received.)
April 23 2009 ~ DEFRA's baited offal for wild boar in the Forest of Dean
In Germany the success of the vaccination via bait of wild foxes against rabies encouraged them to apply this strategy to Classical Swine Fever. Bait containing live attenuated classical swine fever virus led, within the space of about 3 months, to 60% vaccine-induced immunity in the Geman target wild boar population. Since Foot and Mouth can also be spread particularly rapidly by infected unvaccinated pigs, and since the UK (and EU) policy is that no susceptible animals are vaccinated in the UK, the increasing numbers of free roaming boar are of particular concern in view of the risk of notifiable diseases against which vaccination is not allowed.
DEFRA and the Forestry Commission are carrying out trials - not to vaccinate against such diseases but to limit population growth. The chemical contraceptive GonaCon TM - a gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) is added to an offal bait that, it is hoped, only wild boar will eat (see www.britishwildboar.org.uk. Its effect on other wildlife is not known.
An email received today from the Forest of Dean expresses concern about the possible effect of the hormone on humans particularly now that the Forestry Commission is to permit the stalking and culling of the Forest boar for sale as food. He is concerned about a possible decline in local human births, continuing that he has been reliably told that, since feeding meat to wildlife is: "totally illegal and anyone caught doing so would be prosecuted to the highest level..." did this mean there was "one law for citizens and another for a government department?"
April 23 2009 ~ "The disease implications are frightening"
Wild Boar are primarily vegetarian and the fear now is that they may start looking for more meat by killing livestock. Dr Martin Goulding, an expert who has studied and written about wild boars in England, is quoted today by www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk on the subject : "The disease implications are frightening and it risks turning an animal which is primarily vegetarian onto meat as a food source with implications for livestock kills - boar are not normally interested in livestock but they sometimes will scavenge dead animals and road kill."
A spokesman from the Pig Veterinary Society is also quoted: "The principle of feeding meat or meat products to pigs is 100% discouraged. Diseases like Foot and Mouth can live in meat for years, so feeding it to pigs and other livestock could pose a tremendous risk of a further outbreak."
Bill writes: "....as you will know it is totally illegal to feed meat or meat products to poultry, pig or any other farm animals. It does seem there is one law for the citizens and another for government departments, in the late 1970's or early 1980's caponisation of cockerels was made illegal on the grounds that the eating of such birds could possibly (but no research was done to investigate this) affect the the fertility of humans. recently the Forestry commision stated that they would permit the stalking and culling of the Forest boar for sale as food, so based on the aurgument used for the stopping of poultry sterilisation we could soon see a decline in the number of human births as well."
Elaine writes: "At least this attempt to limit conception is better than culling."
http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=20816203Effect of the GnRH vaccine GonaCon on the fertility, physiology and behaviour of wild boar
Auteur(s) / Author(s)MASSEI G. ; COWAN D. P. ; COATS J. ; GLADWELL F. ; LANE J. E. ; MILLER L. A. ;
Résumé / AbstractFertility control has the potential to be used as an attractive alternative to lethal methods for limiting population growth in overabundant species. This study tested the effectiveness and potential side effects of the single-dose gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) vaccine GonaCon on the physiology and behaviour of two groups of captive female wild boar in two sequential trials (Trial 1 and Trial 2). Following vaccination with GonaCon, data on contraceptive effectiveness were recorded as well as data on time budget, social rank, bodyweight, haematology and biochemistry. The concentration of GnRH-antibody titres peaked 2-6 weeks after vaccination and remained relatively high 12 weeks after vaccination. In Trial 1, all control females and none of the treated females gave birth. In Trial 2, faecal progesterone of treated females decreased to basal levels within a month of vaccination. No differences in time budget, social rank and blood parameters were observed between treated and control females. Bodyweight increased more in treated females than in controls. These results indicated that GonaCon can suppress reproduction of wild boar with no significant short-term effects on behaviour and physiology. GonaCon can be regarded as an effective, humane and safe contraceptive for managing wild boar populations.
Revue / Journal TitleWildlife research ISSN 1035-3712
Source / Source2008, vol. 35, no6, pp. 540-547 [8 page(s) (article)]
Langue / LanguageAnglais
Editeur / PublisherCommonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Collingwood, AUSTRALIE (1991) (Revue)
Localisation / LocationINIST-CNRS, Cote INIST : 7441 M, 35400018387820.0080