Bovine TB - " it must not become a "badgers v farming" debate..."    

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From November 12th 2015 information on TB policy across England, Scotland and Wales, i.e. all advice on bTB from government, farming experts, leading vets and agricultural colleges, can be found on the website

June 2016 ~ New Blood test for bTB developed at Nottingham University

April/May 2016 ~ DEFRA's Bovine TB information note 04/16: optional private TB testing

January 15th 2016 ~ A new genetic index will be published on Tuesday, which aims to help UK farmers to select for cows with reduced susceptibility to bTB

December 10th 2015 ~ has to take a break.

December 2nd 2015 ~ Badgers and hedgehogs

December 2nd 2015 ~ Shortage of BCG globally - Wales suspends badger vaccination

November 24th 2015 ~ Cattle farmers would much prefer to cull only infectious badger setts - the Warwick qPCR tests make this possible - but are ignored by DEFRA

November 23rd 2015 ~ "unless we change things we are going to be in exactly the same place in ten years as we are now." Graeme Cock 2015

November 12th 2015 ~ Does the 5 point plan leave out fundamental points about fodder?

November 11th 2015 ~ Do intensive farming practices make bTB otbreaks more likely?

October 27th ~ Brian May's appeal: High Court judge denied the application for a judicial review

October 21st ~ "livestock farming families are bearing the brunt of a crisis that has already been going on for far too long" WMN

October 12th ~ Scotland's new legislation will extend the regime of TB controls to specified non-bovine animals, including alpaca, sheep, and farmed deer.

October 8th 2015 ~ "Prof Elizabeth Wellington's sensitive, accurate and quantitative PCR could be a game changer if it was used to understand the situation."

October 7th 2015 ~ " can the drop of some 60 per cent in herds under restriction - become so skewed after its journey through a computer?"

October 1st 2015 ~ Somerset and Gloucestershire 2013-2014 - "the practicalities and impact of the intervention"

September 7th 2015 ~ A way to bring the opposing sides together - but DEFRA's silence continues...September 25th...and continues...

August 28th 2015 ~ DEFRA News Release today: "New proposals to protect livestock from bovine TB" - but DEFRA silence continues on camelids and on newly developed tests

August 27th 2015 ~ Virologist Dr Ruth Watkins: "I am so glad that Prof Wellington has been working with DEFRA to do this qPCR work and I highly commend her for it."

August 26th 2015 ~ BBC Farming Today and the new "game-changer" Badger Test. "It really is a major breakthough in terms of tackling the disease," says Professor Wellington

August 26th 2015 ~ Partial transcript of Farming Today's interview with Professor Wellington

August 26th 2015 ~ Will DEFRA use the new test? Farming Today. "'s something we need to put into action as quickly as we can"

August 23rd 2015 ~ Farmers in hotspots "attempt to comply with some of the most ridiculous and imaginative obstacles" - and yet a highly effective test exists...

August 7th 2015 ~ After bTB is discovered at a dairy farm in the east of the country, Belgium is now testing animals at about 150 other farms

August 6th 2015 ~ Anti-cull activists say the DEFRA maps will help them to target farms during future culls.

August 3rd 2015 ~ Owen Paterson talks of an 'astonishing success' in reducing Somerset bovine TB

July 26th 2015 ~ The three West Country hot spot areas for bovine TB; Devon, Dorset and Cornwall – have submitted applications to Natural England

July 20th 2015 ~ "That is a pretty hard hitting letter, but events over the last decades reinforce Mr. Denny's views."

July 17th 2015 ~ The Northern Ireland Badger Group has "cautiously affirmed its support" for the TVR project

July 2015 ~ Consultation delayed. Growing farmer frustration throughout the UK

July 10th 2015 ~ A coalition of farming and veterinary organisations has submitted proposals to Defra for an industry-led TB board

July 7th 2015 ~ New Zealand says that eradication rather than containment is now a feasible target.

July 3rd 2015 ~ Northern Ireland's test, vaccinate or remove (TVR) wildlife intervention research project now enters its second phase

July 1st 2015 ~ The Ulster Farmers' Union has welcomed the publication of the interim report from the Bovine Tuberculosis Strategic Partnership Group.

June 24th 2015 ~ OIE approves the registration of the BOVIGAM™ TB diagnostic Kit

June 24th 2015 ~ Neil Parish will make Efra bTB inquiry an early priority.

June 17th 2015 ~ Neil Parish, now chair of EFRA select committee is to test the evidence that culling badgers is helping to bring down TB in cattle.

May 30th 2015 ~"Encouraging" New TB Test

May 28th 2015 ~ "the assay is non-invasive and provides monitoring of disease status in wildlife without the need for trapping, anaesthesia, or any kind of trauma"

May 28th 2015 ~ Sussex Wildlife Trust has had one positive reactor for bovine TB at Stedham Common

May 27th 2015 ~ Farmers are to be permitted to employ marksmen for controlled shooting this Autumn

May 23rd 2015 ~ George Eustace: "Doing it piecemeal can just displace the problem."

May 19th 2015 ~ Ireland's Agriculture Minister contrasts Ireland's success in reducing TB levels with the UK's failure

May 14th 2015 ~ "Reducing badger-to-cattle transmission is likely to be more effective than reducing prevalence in badgers alone."

May 11th 2015 ~"I am committed as Defra Secretary to doing whatever it takes to get rid of this disease" Liz Truss

May 11th 2015 ~"It's particularly hard because among the animals going is probably the best cow I've ever bred. What's really upsetting is that she was carrying a heifer calf."

May 3rd 2015 ~ Devon: How Election candidates responded to questions about their party's views on bovine TB

April 30th 2015 ~ BVA -"the extension to the 14th May is welcome and will give veterinary practices more time to seek further clarification and legal advice if necessary."

April 27th 2015 ~ "We have consistently warned Defra that the move to tendering must not simply be a cost cutting exercise..." BVA

April 24th 2015 ~ In France's Charente region, one bTB lesion means the loss of the entire herd

April 18th 2015 ~ NFU says Labour's cull scrapping pledge is irresponsible

April 18th 2015 ~ The Labour Party says it agrees with 95% of the coalition government's policies to combat bovine TB but "fundamentally disagrees" with badger culling.

April 17th 2015 ~BVA calls for change to badger culling method and wider roll-out in England

April 15th 2015 ~"the disease doesn't grow on trees but they just won't bring themselves to say what the true source is"

April 14th 2015 ~ Labour confirms plans to scrap badger cull

April 13th 2015 ~ "like many farmers I'm fighting this battle with one arm tied behind my back" Organic farmer, Charles Mann

April 5th 2015 ~ Plan to streamline information into one portal

March 24th 2015 ~ DEFRA "hollowed out" warns EFRA Select Committee

March 18th 2015 ~ farmers are being asked to report badgers killed by vehicles to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) so that they can be tested for bovine TB.

March 3rd 2015 ~ Should one welcome the news that GM modified cows in China are more "resistant to bTB"?

March 2nd 2015 ~ New Zealand, United States and United Kingdom Team to Evaluate PolyBatics Assign-bTB DIVA Tuberculosis Skin Test Reagent

February 28th 2015 ~Gloucestershire vet: " A measure of success isn't the number of badgers culled, it's about the decrease of the disease within the population."

February 28th 2015 ~ TB confirmed in N Yorks deer herd "We are conscious of the importance of not letting it spread into local wildlife"

February 23rd 2015 ~ A survey of badgers that have been found dead on Welsh roads will continue throughout 2015

February 23rd 2015 ~ Labour's pledge to protect animals should include all animals, including the tens of thousands of cows that are compulsorily slaughtered every year in England because of TB, says Meurig Raymond

February 18th 2015 ~ "use of Assign-bTB has the potential to significantly reduce the number of non-tuberculous cattle or deer that falsely react to the skin test"

February 17th 2015 ~ Concern that vets must continue to be recognised as vital to both individual farms and to national disease control programmes.

February 14th 2015 ~ "Domestic stock are animals too. Labour's pledges next Wednesday, must show the party understands that point."

February 10th 2015 ~ EFRA Committee asked Defra to explain why 2nd year of the culling in Gloucestershire failed to meet the licence conditions for the minimum number of badgers removed.

February 2015 ~ "The loss of TB testing income would also challenge the viability of some rural veterinary businesses"

January 27th 2015 ~ Farmers' Union of Wales says, "private vets will remain at the heart of bTB testing procedures in Wales"

January 22nd 2015 ~ "we will follow the outcomes of the tender very closely, continuing to argue for local veterinary expertise," says a worried BVA

January 21st 2015 ~ "Tiny hope for softening of divisions over bovine TB"

January 16th 2015 ~ Does suggesting that testing cattle is more "effective" than culling badgers overlook the risks of stress caused by the skin test?

January 7th 2015 ~ BVA express concern about losing vets' informed input over bTB

January 5th 2015 ~ "we see nothing at all happening in 2015 which gives us any cause for cheer. Politics will get in the way."

December 28th 2014 ~ Telegraph article aims for balance on culling- but makes clear both that badgers are prodigious carriers of TB and that farmers have to live with a constant sense of dread.

December 20th 2014 ~ BVA President John Blackwell on DEFRA's publication of the results of the monitoring of the second year of the pilot badger culls.

December 16th 2014 ~ The European Commission again approves DEFRA plans to combat bovine TB

December 11th 2014 ~ "Sadly we have seen no benefits to date from vaccination alone."

December 9th 2014 ~ DEFRA has ignored the BVA's call for independent monitoring of the pilot badger culls

December 6th 2014 ~ Cheshire. The disease spreads.

December 3rd 2014 ~ Liz Truss talks to Devon NFU "We have proceeded with the cull despite the loud protests and objections because we know it is the right thing to do."

November 26th 2014 ~ BVA is concerned at the suggestion that "non-vets" be used to carry out bovine TB testing.

November 18th 2014 ~ "we can't beat this disease with cattle movement measures alone.."

November 12th 2014 ~ DEFRA warns that apparent fall in cases does not mean we're winning

November 5th 2014 ~ "We have again found ourselves having a debate about an incredibly important scientific issue before the scientific evidence has been fully analysed and published... " Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Conservative MP for the Cotswolds

November 4th 2014 ~ Welsh study to identify the prevalence of TB in badgers through post-mortem examinations.

November 4th 2014 ~ Journal of Animal Ecology to "critically appraise the methods used and their power to determine the success of this year's cull".

September 17th 2014 ~ A farmer's view of the present badger vaccines "A little bit of m bovis is too much for me."

September 16th 2014 ~ Another paper: "Protection of Eurasian badgers (Meles meles) from tuberculosis after intra-muscular vaccination with different doses of BCG."

September 15th 2014 ~ Efficacy testing of BCG vaccine in badgers - DEFRA completed research project report

September 13th 2014 ~ "...worthy of much wider publicity, since the general public seem to think that one dose of vaccine gives immediate, 100% effective, lifelong protection"

September 9th 2014 ~ Second year of badger culling in the pilot areas begins

September 2nd 2014 ~ BVA: "it is therefore important that a vaccination strategy is not deployed in isolation but delivered in conjunction with other key elements of the strategy."

August 26th 2014 ~ 24% of badgers killed on the road in Cheshire had bTB according to University of Liverpool project

August 23rd 2014 ~ Vaccine trials delayed


August 22nd 2014 ~ High Court hearing will give its judgement "at a later date".

August 21st 2014 ~ The High Court decides today whether Defra should have appointed a scrutiny panel to assess the effectiveness and humaneness of the cull.

August 20th 2014 ~ The reason for bTB's apparent gradual decline is not clear, says Anthony Gibson

August 20th 2014 ~ "We need a return to mixed agriculture for the sake of the land and the people," writes a retired vet.

August 15th 2014 ~ Concern grows in France over the role of wild boar in the possible spread of bTB to human beings

August 12th 2014 ~ Cattle Vaccine - Legal hurdles and more research needed says Nigel Gibbens..

August 12th 2014 ~ bTB spreading in France

August 8th 2014 ~ "Research into the development of vaccinations against TB in badgers and cattle was published in Veterinary Record."

30th July 2014 ~ Enferplex bTB blood test is raising hopes beyond its use for camelids

July 29th 2014 ~ "research with the aim to develop an effective, value for money oral BCG badger vaccine, which could be added to bait"

July 25th 2014 ~ Why the BVA will support next year's badger cull

July 16th 2014 ~ Oxford Mail editorial: "Action needs to be taken now to save the livelihoods of the county's farmers and stop soaring prices."

July 15th 2014 ~ Owen Paterson has been sacked by Mr Cameron

July 14th 2014 ~ "honesty about the natural world is needed, and hard to come by"

July 9th 2014 ~ All about bTB in animated drawing on Vimeo

July 6th 2014 ~ Ireland: The Department accepts that the higher incidence of TB in Wexford and Wicklow is driven by wildlife.

May 2nd 2014 ~ France: Badgers are to be caught and analysed for bTB in the Ardennes

April 26th 2014 ~ "17 samples morphed into 592 dead alpacas"

April 24th 2014 ~ France - "seropositivity in wild boar was significantly related to cattle outbreaks"

April 22 2014 ~ A change of direction is urgently needed. Identification is key to targeted culling of infected wildlife.

April 22 2014 ~ The rollout of the badger cull in England has been "delayed and not postponed": Owen Paterson.

April 22 2014 ~ "We do not have a major TB problem on our farm but TB is a major problem for our business"

April 16th 2014 ~ BVA says "absolutely essential that significant changes are made to the pilot culls"

April 16th 2014 ~ An hypothesis; is SB0140 specifically adapted to survive and thrive in badgers?

April 12th 2014 ~ The continuing need for clear scientific work on how bTB disease spreads

April 12th 2014 ~ "there is a real need to manage the expectations of the general public"

April 9th 2014 ~ "A light at the end of the tunnel? ... it looks horribly to me like the headlights of an onrushing train."

April 9th 2014 ~ "She is prepared to speak out against sentimentality and face the facts of life and death: in saving the badger we are killing the hedgehog."

April 9th 2014~ The AHVLA trace, isolate and test for TB after a dispersal herd has positive test result.

April 7th 2014 ~ New research to determine the extent to which badgers are responsible for spreading tuberculosis in cattle.

April 5th 2014 ~ Wales "...high testing intensity, combined with movement controls, rigorous bio-security and risk based trading can substantially reduce the incidence of bTB"

April 4th 2014 ~ "We are also stepping up investment in the development of improved diagnostic tests such as DNA-based technologies"

April 4th 2014 ~ New Zealand: DIVA tests begin field trials

April 3rd 2014~ Owen Paterson announces buffer zone vaccination of badgers

April 3rd 2014~ The Government has halted plans to expand badger culling in the South West.

April 3rd 2014~ "..Brussels stridently demanding action against the disease in return for the funds it has provided"

March 31st 2014 ~ "a privately funded study using samples from dead alpacas found that PCR was extremely accurate and very much in line with the post mortem results of the animal concerned."

March 31st 2014 ~ "more work is required to determine sensitivity and specificity, and the practicalities of applying the test in the field."

March 27th 2014 ~ Human cases of bTB from infected cats

March 26th 2014 ~ bTB in roaming wild deer. "Recent and ongoing evidence suggests that there may be a few "hotspot" areas in lowland England where significant levels of TB are found in wild deer"

March 19th 2014 ~ "It distresses the animals and the vets hate it because it means giving farmers news that could collapse their business."

March 19th 2014 ~ £1.1 million collaborative study to develop rapid bTB testing device

March 19th 2014 ~ DEFRA listens to concerns from Commoners

March 15th 2014 ~ "We need a serious discussion with the European Union..."

March 15th 2014 ~ Daniel Kawczynski: "the constant emotional, psychological impact that it had on him and also on the many children."

March 13th 2014 ~ MP Anne Main's EDM motion urging Government to 'pause, reflect and adapt its policy for tackling Bovine TB' was carried by 219 to 1 today. Only its supporters voted.

March 7th 2014 ~ "Previous work has found multiple bTB strains within setts, and some strains being different to those of the local cattle population.."

March 5th 2014 ~ Backbench debate will take place on March 13th

February 27th 2014 ~ Theresa May hears about TB testing as she visits farmers in her constituency

February 26th 2014 ~ ".. the misinformation and misunderstanding in the debate about bovine TB"

February 19th 2014 ~ The RSPCA is calling on the public to oppose future badger culls

February 17th 2014 ~ "the excuse will no longer be valid..."

February 13th 2014 ~ Roslin Institute finds "genetic signatures" associated with TB resistance

February 11th 2014 ~ Ireland

February 10th 2014 ~ Good news on the PCR alpaca research project - ante-mortem diagnosis using PCR "may be possible"

February 6th 2014 ~ "...unless tough new action is taken to combat the disease"

January 31st 2014 ~ New national TB fund to be established in England

January 29th 2014 ~ Defra is planning to publish a summary of responses ..

January 23rd 2014 ~ "Potentially this will kill the livestock industry"

January 20th 2014 ~ New Forest Verderers are urging DEFRA to introduce a licensing system instead of proposed tests for every movement into and out of the forest - which many cows there make daily

January 18th 2014 ~ the computer error ... makes little difference to the urgency with which bovine TB must be tackled

January 13th 2014 ~ Labour's environment spokesman says culling "sickly" badgers is possible for Labour if indicated by a "proper scientific approach".

January 5th 2014 ~ TB from Alpacas: Dianne Summers is "on the road to recovery"

January 2nd 2014 ~ Huge fines for overdue TB tests will bring "further misery to cattle farmers already unjustly punished by bovine TB regulations"

December 22nd 2013 ~ "zoonotic Tuberculosis is not a merely 'bovine' problem any more is it?"

December 19th 2013 ~ "This work will help to clarify the role that badgers may have in spreading the disease ...."

December 12th 2013 ~ Yesterday's debate in Westminster Hall on badger culling

December 10th 2013 ~ Concern about the role of badgers in the spread of bTB in South West France

November 28th 2013 ~ "significant additional burdens on some farmers"

November 27th 2013 ~ Monty Don has now left Twitter after "falling victim to a hate campaign"

November 23rd 2013 ~ "We are keen to learn from others' experiences on badger vaccination" Yesterday's PQs and answers: Hansard

November 22nd 2013 ~ Monty Don on Twitter: "A pity that such beautiful and fascinating animals as Badgers evoke such extreme, blinkered views."

November 15th 2013 ~ Ireland: TB infection levels down by >45% since 2000

November 13th 2013 ~Durham: "a failure in the pre-movement testing regime, rather than any wrongdoing by the farmer."

November 9th 2013 ~ Bad news from County Durham

October 2013 ~ Alun Davies, Welsh Minister for "Natural Resources", announces partial vaccination "grant"

October 2013 ~Bill Harper says that the hands-on action of Somerset farmers has made a difference

October 2013 ~ "...infected badgers more prone to form social links with badgers from other groups and this is what facilitates the transmission of TB infection across badger populations."

October 2013 ~ "We are in favour of doing what works to solve the problem that is affecting so many of our tenants and farmers."

October 2013 ~ Dominic Dyer, the policy advisor at Care for the Wild International, apologises to NFU president Peter Kendall

October 2013 ~ "We won't be able to select bulls with resistant genes until April 2015, then their daughters will be entering the milking herd in 2018 at the earliest."

October 2013 ~ Gassing setts - the government is prepared to push ahead only if if it can be shown to be "humane, safe and effective".

October 2013 ~ BTB in farm cats

October 2013 ~ Christianne Glossop gives "... a typical example of the current problem"

October 2013 ~ Badger cull trials end in the next few days - and little sign of help for farmers affected by bTB in their herds

October 2013 ~ More news about the development of testing in America

October 2013 ~ AHVLA confirms that bTB was recorded in sheep, pigs and goats, as well as domestic pets, a ferret and a seal in 2012

October 2013 ~ Farmers may be able to breed TB-resistant cows in a new project developed for the dairy industry by DairyCo.

October 2013 ~ "I fear TB could easily wipe out the livestock sector in parts of the UK"

September 2013 ~ Owen Paterson has insisted the government will stand by the badger cull

September 2013 ~ Doctor warns of rising threat to humans from animals infected with bovine TB

September 2013 ~ A PCR kit for detecting bovine TB produced and advertised for sale online by BioinGentech in Chile

September 2013 ~ Badger culling would be ditched in favour of badger vaccination, says Labour

September 2013 ~ "Farmers will be deeply frustrated" at the Labour Party decision to abandon badger culls says Peter Kendall

September 2013 ~ DEFRA has begun research into whether badgers can be given a contraceptive either orally or through injection.

September 2013 ~ A bovine TB survivor speaks out in favour of the badger cull trials.

September 2013 ~ American scientists are developing new methods to prevent and control bTB

July 5/6th 2013 ~ Warwick university "currently leading on Defra-funded research to optimise the sampling regime with the aim of improving the performance of the (PCR) test in the field."

July 5th 2013 ~ zoonotic TB "can present a risk to human health to those who are in close contact with infected animals or people who drink unpasteurised milk."

June 27th 2013 ~ "mind blowingly, stupidly and dangerously inaccurate"

June 27th 2013 ~ Seal pup in Cornwall had bovine TB

June 14th 2003~ "eight people currently undergoing treatment in Gloucestershire for bTB thought to have been caught from their cats."

June 14th 2003 ~ More than 9000 cattle killed in the first quarter of 2013 as a result of positive test results or being a "direct contact"

June 4th 2013 ~ France tackles its diseased badgers

May 31st 2013 ~Infected wild animals pose "a risk to health", says Nigel Gibbens

June 1st 2013 ~ Letters in the Independent

The Chief Vet was quoted in the Independent , saying that UK must take bold action to curb the spread of the disease in the country's badger population and that infected badgers pose a risk to pets and, in turn, to human health. The paper adds: "Humans would be most likely to pick up bovine TB through their pet cat or dog but they could potentially contract the disease from alpacas, cattle, deer or foxes. The disease is typically spread by inhaling the germs breathed out or coughed up by infected animals or from their urine and excrement..."

May 31st 2013 ~ Licences to cull badgers in Gloucestershire and Somerset will become valid from tomorrow.

May 31st 2013 ~ "only 2 per cent picked the badger cull"

May 30th 2013 ~ "Making money out of inflicting continued suffering on badgers is as cruel as digging them and baiting them for sport. And to do so in the name of charity is little short of a national scandal."

May 20th 2013 ~ "It's necessary and I certainly would do."

May 17th 2013 ~ Vaccine "..we are looking for ways to accelerate the work we were already doing on planning the experimental research and large scale trialling of the vaccine" David Heath MP

May 15th 2013 ~"Cattle inter-mingle with badgers. The disease just keeps cycling in the system"

May 3rd 2013 ~ "The only (badger) vaccine that exists at the moment is an injectable one, and it has to be repeated annually for five years."

April 26th 2013 ~ possibly "an important step towards developing a vaccine against bovine TB"

April 24th 2013 ~ "as the picture worsens it is clear the red tape and inconvenience that farmers have to endure because of the disease isn’t working."

April 23rd 2013 ~ bTB threatens the very future of farming

The new TB Free England website , launched by the NFU at the end of last month, has been produced to provide factual information about the disease and the urgent need to control its spread in badgers and other wildlife.
Meanwhile, we read in Farmers Weekly that the coalition of charities "Team Badger", whose members have set their faces against any culling of badgers, says that the government if the targeted culling of badgers goes forward - "relentlessly pursuing a badger cull" as they put it - in the pilot zones of west Somerset and west Gloucestershire in the Summer where so many farmers' lives have been devastated as a result of bTB test results. Farmers who support badger culling could even be "banned from trading at a farmers' market in Gloucestershire under plans to force traders to sign an anti-cull agreement" (see Farmers Weekly for April 17).

April 21st 2013 ~ Owen Paterson "I have come away with enormous admiration for what you have done on your wildlife reservoir"

April 20th 2013 ~ "An eradication programme should seek to control and eradicate a killer zoonosis -Tuberculosis. Not any single species...."

October 26th 2012 ~ "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." EU Commission

Statement from the European Commission regarding an article in the Mail On Sunday on 21 October
"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." Our grateful thanks to Sabine Zentis who sent the link and puts into words what many must be feeling: "As I see it there is enough evidence not to get into vaccination of badgers and cattle, with or without a DIVA test as the vaccines against mycobacterial disease ( like Johne's) in my opinion can't contribute to eradicate the disease but rather suppress severe clinical signs. Especially with bTB I wouldn't take this approach, it is still a zoonotic disease and there is no way around having a go at infected animals, be it cattle or badgers. This is just depressing."

October 24th 2012 ~"what we need now is some decent insight in to the organism - and that might take time." Dr Colin Fink

Once again, we are grateful to Dr Fink, for his informed opinion. He writes today:
"...The problem that Governments have is that they are afraid to say 'we don't know'.
There are an awful lot of 'don't knows' here, and trying to shoot 70% of the badgers and not managing it ( how do you measure accurately?) to gain a 16% reduction in cattle cases seems a bit of a tall order. We have no good vaccine as yet for badgers, cattle, nor indeed for Homo Sapiens, we do not know enough about the persistence of the organism in the environment outside mammalian bodies, we do not know the amount of inter-cattle infection in a herd from one index case nor do we know the residual infection in other wildlife than badgers.
So all in all a dog's breakfast. We need decent research and time. It will take time - and in the meantime perhaps triple antibiotics and progesterones at feeding stations ( badgers are quickly habituated) may just reduce the Mycobacterial carriage, reduce fertility and keep badgers fat and contented - and thus reduce their wandering.
Does any one else have a better suggestion?"
To us, the suggestion Dr Fink has been making for some time that triple antibiotics and progesterones be put in bait at feeding stations in order to reduce badger reproduction while keeping infection low, seems a truly excellent interim measure. As usual, comments from other informed sources would be welcome.(Update:  The veterinarian, Ueli Zellweger, queries what dosage Dr Fink would suggest for both antibiotics and the progesterone, since badgers differ in weight. He points out that if a pregnant sow eats progesterone "her gestation will be prolonged which puts her and her cubs to a high risk")

October 23rd 2012 ~ British Veterinary Association ".... If the pilots cannot be delivered effectively this year then is it responsible to postpone until next year. "

Owen Paterson has announced that the proposed pilot culls, due to take place this autumn, will be postponed until next year "due to logistical problems with the delivery this year". 
The BVA has issued a press release in which its President, Peter Jones, said:

October 22nd 2012 ~ A last-minute final legal challenge from the Badger Trust

October 18th 2012 ~ Nigel Gibbens and DEFRA Chief Scientist Professor Ian Boyd have responded to Krebs, Bourne et al

Alastair Driver's article today gives an excellent summary of the  points they make in the Guardian.  We re-summarise them thus:
  •  bTB is a disease that can infect many mammals, including goats, pigs, alpacas and even people
  • the number of cases in cattle has been doubling every nine years and culling  up to 26,000 cattle each year  has not stopped this "relentless increase"
  • the decision to cull was based  on scientific evidence of more than 15 years of intensive research plus evidence from other countries.
  • Research  demonstrates that cattle and badgers transmit the disease to each other and "culling badgers leads to a reduction of the disease in cattle if it is carried out over a large enough area and for a sufficient length of time"
  • culling will initially take place in two pilot areas to "enable us to test our assumptions about the effectiveness, safety and humaneness of culling by means of controlled shooting".
  • Culling over a sufficiently large area should ensure the benefits outweigh problems caused by movement of badgers.
  •  management measures to reduce the risk of spread of disease between badgers and cattle will be undertaken by farmers
  • They acknowledge that culling alone is not the answer but stress that vaccination of either badgers or cattle is not a viable alternative at the present time. Read in full

    October 16th 2012 ~ "an outdated EU directive governing export which insists on 'accelerated eradication' of the disease and simultaneously bans the use of cattle vaccine.."

    October 12th 2012 ~ bTB a "shattering emotional and financial cost" on farmers and rural communities says Owen Paterson

    The new DEFRA Minister's speech to the Conservative Party Conference is reported in the Independent:
    "...Let's be clear.  Bovine TB imposes a shattering financial and emotional cost on our farmers, their families and communities. This will only get worse if we continue the cowardly policy of inaction pursued by Labour in government. Let me tell you, there is no easy solution.  Despite £15.5 million being spent on vaccine research, there was no workable solution in the short term. We need healthy wildlife living alongside healthy cattle. Only if we work to eradicate the reservoir of TB in our badgers, will we have the strong and prosperous dairy industry the public wishes to see."

    October 12th 2012 ~ "Since when was it appropriate for a supposedly legitimate welfare organisation to effectively prescribe objection to carefully debated and legally-tested government policy?"

    This was the reaction of  a Freedom Food pig producer who has written to the National Pig Association expressing serious concerns about the letter sent by the RSPCA to its members saying that its "Freedom Food" scheme would suspend participating farmers  if they take part in the badger cull trials. See Alistair Driver's article in the Farmers Guardian.
    While there can be little doubt that many RSPCA officers on the ground do sincere and helpful work, this website has been concerned about the increasingly political powers of the charity for many years.
    Owen Paterson has now warned the RSPCA to be 'wary' that its political campaigning activities do not compromise its charitable status. (see yesterday's Farmers Guardian)

    October 8th 2012 ~ Owen Paterson says that  vaccines are ‘not yet in a position to be deployed’ in either cattle or badgers.

    The Farmers Guardian today:
    " ....told a meeting of the Conservative Rural Affairs Group, in Birmingham, that, as things stand today, vaccines are ‘not yet in a position to be deployed’ in either cattle or badgers. "The injectable badger vaccine may work on individual animals but are we seriously being told by these people that we are just going to inject every single badger every year? 
    He said BCG was available for cattle but was ‘only 56-68 per cent effective’, according to research, meaning at least one-third of animals would remain unprotected.  He added that the DIVA test was not yet available..."
    He reminded them that "we are still held back by EU rules" which would need changing, and insisted the pilot culls in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset were the right way forward.  They were "practical exercises" to establish if culling using controlled shooting works.

    October 5th 2012 ~ "...clearly the level of investment that's going into the development of TB vaccines shows the commitment to develop these important tools to control TB in the UK."

    FWi  quotes Glyn Hewinson, chief scientist at the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA). 
    Having pointed out the present limitations of cattle vaccine he says that bTB vaccination for cattle is available and when used in conjunction with existing control measures, it could offer farmers an important tool to help prevent TB infection in their herds. "I don't think it can be a strategy on its own - you have to use all the tools in your toolbox,"  he said.
    The makers of vaccines and DIVA tests want a good return on their investment, and while vaccination goes on being prohibited by the EU, a lack of confidence that investment in developing really effective vaccines can be financially worthwhile would be understandable. DEFRA is, we are told,  working with the EU to change the current EU reluctance  to allow a BCG cattle vaccine and an accompanying DIVA test. We can only hope that this will be successful and the phrase we have been hearing for the past decade, and longer, that "the timetable remains uncertain" may soon change to something that reflects the urgency of the situation.

    September 26th 2012 ~ Camelids - news from

    Dianne Summers writes that there are several updates on the website
    1. Home Page Defra Table of confirmed New breakdowns by county in camelids up to 30th June 2012. Below the number 61 click on the link to view the Defra table.
    2. NEWS PAGE and PCR TAB Update on 2nd stage of the PCR study.
    3. NEWS Page Letter from DEFRA on the way forward regarding camelids and btb.
    She adds, "Please note these are only proposed measures and are not yet in place."As always, our sincere thanks for all the work Dianne Summers does, in spite of the fact that she herself is suffering from bTB.

    September 25th 2012 ~ "Glibly declaring that vaccination is the only answer to the TB problem is a hopeless over-simplification of the situation and one which ignores the facts." Richard Haddock

    September 20th 2012 ~ "Unfortunately no one wants to hear what microbiologists have to say..."

    September 18th 2012 ~ An urgent need for unbiased and accurate information

    September 18th 2012 ~ Peter Kendall replied that he understood Mr May's feelings but implied that emotive language wasn't helpful:

    September 14th 2012 ~ Dr Sarah Wollaston, Conservative MP for Totnes "Over the next few months, we will see many people - particularly celebrities - queuing up to protect the badger. I would like them to be very careful..."

  • We cannot cure an infected badger through vaccination. We can no more cure an infected badger with vaccination than we can cure an infected person with vaccination.
  • Treatment takes months of complex antibiotic regimes, and everyone would agree that that is just not feasible in wildlife.
  • Another point is that, in regard to protecting badgers themselves, TB is spreading remorselessly across the countryside to previously TB-free areas....
    it is wholly appropriate for the Government at least to look at some of the issues raised by the randomised badger culling trial in relation to geographical areas, edge effects and the length of time of the cull...." Read in full Like so many of us, Dr Wollaston supports the move to have further field trials of vaccination, but she says "we must be realistic". Many have commented on what an excellent speech this was.

    September 14th 2012 ~ Bill Wiggin in the dairy debate yesterday: "Probably no hon. Member has taken a TB test, so I will explain what it is like...."

    going to get jabbed, so they do not want to go through the crush and will fight to dodge it, and that, I am afraid, makes the whole process extremely dangerous.
    My little boy, Jack, who is only seven, got kicked. My cows weigh 900 kilos, which is quite a lot more than me, and when they want to go somewhere, they will go. ..." There is an urgent need for people to recognise and appreciate the other hardships faced by ordinary family farmers.
    After dwelling briefly on how he had worked with CWIF and others in their efforts to stop the export of live calves and how blade farming has now done a great deal of good in providing a market for those dairy bull calves, Mr Wiggin went on to explain that farmers are now buying their cows from France "because they are scared stiff of having TB on their farms". If the farm is shut down because of TB the cows will continue to produce calves and their sheds will become full. "Calves need proper ventilation otherwise they get pneumonia. They have to be looked after properly. The chance of a respiratory infection being passed through is increased and they are in a real mess. Again, that is yet one more risk for the dairy farmer that is not reflected in the price of milk.

    September 13th 2012 ~ "there is considerable evidence to support the removal of badgers in order to improve the TB status of both badgers and cattle.." says European subgroup on bovine TB

    September 11th/12th 2012 ~Lord Justice Laws, Lord Justice Rimer and Lord Justice Sullivan unanimously rejected the appeal

    September 11th 2012 ~ ".. it was recognised by all responsible conservation bodies that a serious situation had arisen and with regret the ministry's action was considered justified" - will the High Court agree with Dr Earnest Neal?

    September 7th 2012 ~ Owen Paterson is not known as someone who shirks a challenge, says Farmers Guardian

    September 4th 2012 ~ DEFRA insists that the culling plans are consistent with the requirements of the Bern Convention on wildlife

    August 29th/30th 2012 ~ Vaccination campaign in Somerset

  • Mycobacterium bovis Infection in the Eurasian Badger (Meles meles): the Disease, Pathogenesis, Epidemiology and Control L.A.L. Corner Journal of Comparative Pathology Volume 144, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 1 - 24
  • Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccination reduces the severity and progression of tuberculosis in badgers Mark A. Chambers et al Journal of the Proceedings of the Royal Society 2010
  • The safety and immunogenicity of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine in European badgers S. Lesellier et al Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology Volume 112, Issues 1 - 2, 15 July 2006, Pages 24 - 37
  • Immunological responses and protective immunity in BCG vaccinated badgers following endobronchial infection with Mycobacterium bovisSandrine Lesellier et al Vaccine Volume 27, Issue 3, 14 January 2009, Pages 402 - 409
  • Vaccination of European badgers (Meles meles) with BCG by the subcutaneous and mucosal routes induces protective immunity against endobronchial challenge with Mycobacterium bovis Leigh A.L. Corner et al Tuberculosis Volume 88, Issue 6, November 2008, Pages 601 - 609
  • "Field trial to assess the safety and efficacy of BCG vaccine admininster parenterally (part of DEFRA project CB0115) - SE3250" We can only hope that the Somerset vaccination campaign can indeed reduce the number of bTB bacteria being spread. Peanuts are being used to attract badgers to the traps. It is interesting, however, that trials carried out (here) showed carob and cocoa powders were more attractive than peanuts and other flavours in attracting badgers.

    August 24th/25th 2012 ~ A court date has been set for the Badger Trust's appeal against the legal decision to allow badger culling trials in England.

    August 24th 2012 ~ "we are doing everything we can to support and protect those individuals that have been named."

    August 24th 2012 ~ "We can visit the moon but we can't prevent the spread of this disease. How is this possible?"

    August 23rd 2012 ~ The new "Badger Welfare Association" asks for common sense cooperation from all sides to "try and solve this cancer of the countryside"

    August 2012 ~ bTB in alpacas PCR Proof of Concept Study Update

    July 15th 2012 ~ What resources will be dedicated to developing a test that allows for the rapid identification of infected badgers?

    July 12th 2012 ~ The Badger Trust's legal challenge has failed

    July 10th 2012 ~ Northern Ireland "the decision taken by the minister strikes a balance between pushing forward a much needed eradication campaign and ensuring that our indigenous badger population is retained."

    July 7th 2012 ~ BVA's concerns about the future of veterinary laboratories in Wales and a plea for the option of a badger cull to tackle bovine TB to be put back on the table.

    July 5th 2012 ~ Northern Ireland: "This approach will focus on removing diseased badgers and protecting uninfected ones."

    July 4th 2012 ~ The BVA calls for culling in Wales if vaccination is seen not to be working

    27th June 2012 ~ Many who will vote are not only uninvolved members of the public but also will perhaps not have a very clear grasp of the painful issues involved

    26th June 2012 ~ "If you want to stop the spread, you have to reduce the transmission ... from badger to badger and cattle to cattle." Nigel Pleming QC

    1. that it will not meet the strict legal test of "preventing the spread of the disease" but may in fact increase it;
      that DEFRA's cost impact assessment is "flawed" and
      the licensee, Natural England, has "no legal power to issue the licences" to cull badgers.
    See report in Farmers Weekly today (Tuesday) The FWi quotes barrister Nigel Pleming QC, instructed to represent DEFRA, Mr Pleming DEFRA had sought to minimise the perturbation risk by a "series of measures" which include using areas such as rivers, coast, motorways and cattle free areas as barriers and buffers around culling.
    A decision is not expected in the case for several weeks.

    25th June 2012 ~ "Judge: It seems 'a little odd' to be only permitted to kill domestic animals if wildlife animals also causing spread."

    23rd June 2012 ~ "It's absolutely disheartening, terrible... There is absolutely no sense in not dealing with the diseased population of badgers."

    21st June 2012 ~ Another group...

    June 20th 2012 ~ IDEXX M. bovis test offers a fast, three-hour protocol that delivers objective, quantitative results compatible with typical laboratory data management systems.

    June 14th 2012 ~ "the first example of a multi-laboratory validation of a real time PCR assay for the detection of mycobacteria in environmental samples."

    June 8th 2012 ~ "To cull, vaccinate or both? What is the best way to tackle bTB in badgers?" Alistair Driver examines both culling and vaccination

  • Does culling work?
  • Does vaccination work?
  • Cost comparison In the section entitled "End of the argument?" he suggests: "....there is still the subjective, exhaustively debated, question of whether a 16 per cent expected benefit over nine years is 'meaningful' when set against the costs, economic, ecological and, of course, political factors..." Read in full

    June 7th 2012 ~"I'm not a badger-hater, but I abhor the fact that members of wildlife organisations have a greater say on how the countryside is run than I do. I'm the one that lives here." David Bevan

    June 4th 2012 ~ "As a member of the animal welfare group I am really affronted they have done it this way and I cannot see any good coming of it."

    June 4th 2012 ~ "....the AHB is enthusiastic to see them play a key role in the complete eradication of bovine TB from New Zealand."

    May 31st 2012 ~ Badger cull trial is our last chance to put right decades of inaction (WMN)

    May 31st 2012 ~ Christl Donnelly of Imperial College London and Rosie Woodroffe of the Institute of Zoology, have published a paper in the journal Nature ...

    May 28th 2012 ~ Useful factual website - new information

    May 26th 2012 ~ "...cattle farmers, veterinarians, animal health workers and public health meat inspectors. Children and infants, the elderly, immuno-compromised persons and persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHIV/AIDS) are also susceptible"

    26th May 2012 ~a "fire which is spreading ever outwards" Bill Harper

    24th May 2012 ~ Improved Skin Test for Differential Diagnosis of Bovine Tuberculosis by the Addition of Rv3020c-Derived Peptides

    23rd May 2012 ~ New Zealand.

    22nd May 2012 ~ Chris Chapman tells the Western Morning News today that it is the increasing loss of the nation's all-important agricultural gene-pool that concerns him most.

    May 22nd ~ M. bovis infection in badgers has been the subject of a long term ecological and epidemiological study

    19th May 2012 ~ Quotations from yesterday's bTB debate at the Farmers Guardian

    19th May 2012 ~ FG's Alistair Driver sums up yesterday's debate

    May 18th 2012 ~ "A MAJOR row is brewing...." Farmers Guardian

    May 17th 2012 ~ Déjà Vu - from over 6 years ago....

    Saturday January 28th 2006 ~ ".... ironic that those who attempt to exonerate badgers of being the reservoir of TB infection for cattle show such little concern for the suffering those badgers with TB undergo"

    May 17th 2012 ~ "Bishop calls for speedy badger cull"

    May 16th 2012 ~ "The judicial review does not prevent us from continuing to plan for an autumn start to the piloting of our badger control policy." James Paice

    May 15th 2012 ~ "Why aren't the Badger Trust being held responsible for the spread of bTB through badgers..."

    May 15th 2012 ~ "a complex mixture of science, practicalities, legal concerns, politics and public opinion."

    May 15th 2012 ~ Jim Paice says the legal fight by campaigners to block the badger cull will mean marksmen will not be granted licences to kill until a judge rules on "legality".

    May 13th 2012 ~ " These cattle that have gone today, I've known them, their mothers, their grandmothers, their great grandmothers... I feel absolutely angry at my own impotence that I haven't been able to protect these cattle...."

    May 9th 2012 ~ A leading agricultural solicitor has hit out at tough new bovine TB measures to be imposed on the farming community.

    May 2nd 2012 ~ Defra has "strengthened measures" - and will reduce compensation for TB reactors as well as make changes to cattle movements.

    May 2nd 2012 ~ Rugby to pilot badger vaccinations against TB

    May 1st 2012 ~ "I keep asking myself, am I going to be an old farmer and find nothing is being done?"

    April 28th 2012 ~ Professor Chris Pollock resigns from Welsh bovine TB board "I believe the chances of making progress have been reduced as a result of the changes being pursued by the current administration."

    April 28th 2012 ~ "Transmission thus could occur not only to other domestic or wild species, but also to humans.." ProMed reports on Dianne Summers' bTB

    April 26th 2012 ~ One of our greatest heroines, Dianne Summers, the courageous campaigner for camelids with bTB, now has bTB herself and has begun treatment.

    April 23rd 2012 ~ English badger cull to face High Court challenge

  • That the culls will not meet the strict legal test of "preventing the spread of disease" in the licensed areas and may actually spread bovine TB.
  • That DEFRA's cost impact assessment is flawed as it does not allow for the possibility that the "much more costly" cage trapping could be the only culling method available, if free shooting is outlawed.
  • That Natural England's guidance as the licensing authority is invalid as killing badgers is not one of its original functions...." Read in full

    April 13th 2012 ~ DIVA test this year - but when will the EU lift the requirement for the skin test to be the test to confer OTF herd status?

    April 13th 2012 ~ Very grim news from Scotland

    April 12th 2012 ~ Update on camelid PCR testing project

    April 7th 2012 ~ From a farmer in Wiltshire: "Farmers are just as human (or more so) as the rest of the population."

    April 7th 2012 ~ "...this week they join the other 38,000 cattle victims which Defra are happy to kill annually"

    March 30th 2012 ~ Farming Union of Wales: "believe you have a duty to the Welsh farming industry to explain in detail the scientific and legal reasoning which underpinned your decision"

    March 28th 2012 ~ 32,737 bovines slaughtered in 2010 as a result of the UK's bTB policy

    March 27th 2012 ~ TB and camelids

    March 27th 2012 ~ "the quicker we get all the samples - the faster we will know if M bovis (in camelids) can be detected by using PCR".

    March 26th 2012 ~ The centre-right think tank, Bow Group, is advising the Government to scrap badger cull plans

    March 26th 2012 ~ The president of the Welsh branch of the British Veterinary Association says there is no evidence about the efficiency of vaccinating badgers with the aim of eradicating bovine TB.

    March 12th 2012 ~ "Currently there is a serious imbalance in British wildlife ecology, and that involves two species implicated in bTB..."

    March 12th 2012 ~ "Some people are foolish enough to believe that the countryside is a wild place, where nature reaches its own balance. It isn't."

    February 27th 2012 ~ Badger Trust's legal challenge today against Defra's decision to sanction a badger cull in England.

    February 27th 2012 ~ "blind prejudices" informing "proper research and evidence"

    February 19th/20th 2012 ~ Dr Ruth Watkins - Paper for discussion on Bovine TB in the UK

    February 19th 2012 ~ Camelids, cats, pigs, sheep - and now an entire deer herd has been wiped out because of bTB


    February 15th 2012 ~ Tough words from the highly respected Anthony Gibson

    February 15th 2012 ~ The announcement of the new EU rules was "DEFRA at its worst" says Anthony Gibson

    breakdowns, so very few, if any, farmers will yet have been affected. But it won't be long before it starts to bite.
    Losing a stock bull to TB and not being able to replace him for 60 days will hurt, as will not being able to re-stock a beef unit, or replace dairy cows.
    The advice from the NFU if your OTF status is withdrawn, and you really need to move stock onto the farm, is to talk to your vet and AHVLA, because there may be a way round it. There's also a very good flow-chart on the NFU's website." His article in the Western Morning News ends with this: "I had planned to finish with the latest TB statistics, but they've fallen victim to the AHVLA computer fiasco. That's something else that is depressingly predictable."

    Feb 14th 2012 ~ Attempts to get the EU to lift the ban on cattle vaccination

    Feb 14th 2012 ~ When will the Government expect to produce a final report on the badger culling pilot schemes, asked Baroness Smith of Basildon

  • TB vaccination of cattle is prohibited under EU national eradication plans (Directive 78/52/EEC);
  • OTF (Officially TB Free) testing requires tuberculin skin test for trade in live cattle (Directive 64/432/EEC) and BCG vaccinated cattle could give false positives to the prescribed tuberculin skin test; and
  • Trade in cattle products is tightly controlled by Reg (EC) 853/2004 and BCG vaccinated cattle could give false positives. Defra is working with the EU to change the current legislation which would allow TB vaccination of cattle and use of a test to differentiate infected from vaccinated animals (so-called "DIVA" test - see below) to be used as a trade test.

    February 13th 2012 ~The National Beef Association (NBA) is drawing attention to a change in the TB rules which it feels many farmers do not know about

    February 9th 2012 ~ Badger Trust warns DEFRA of legal challenge

    February 7th 2012 ~ Welsh decision on culling: "We are now well into February and the term 'early in the new year' will soon no longer apply"

    February 4th 2012 ~ The grim reality: "...those too young to travel or heavily in calf will be shot on the yard"

    31st January 2012 ~"silence from Welsh Government on this issue" is no comfort to cattle farmers who "wake up each and every morning having to deal with the ravaging effect of bovine TB"

    27th January 2012 ~ Ambridge votes for a badger vaccination programme.

    23rd January 2012 ~ 48% of farmers surveyed thought that vaccination was a good thing to do, but only a quarter believed it would help prevent the spread of bTB

    20th January 2012 ~ "I understand that residents in these areas may have views on the proposal to cull badgers..." Caroline Spelman

    January 19th 2012 ~ Locations confirmed

    January 17th 2012 ~ Bryan Hill, who says "a cull of exclusively diseased animals would very swiftly reduce instances of bovine TB in cattle" has been in talks with the Badger Trust

    January 16th 2012 ~ Cameron on Countryfile

    January 14th 2012 ~ David Cameron: the cull will be "controversial, it's going to be a difficult thing to do."

    January 14th 2012 ~ "my two best cows... Not many left now..It is horrible..."

    January 11th 2012 ~ "Boxster's Story - The Truth Behind The Lies"- the book will soon be out.

    January 7th 2012 ~ NFU supports badger TB vaccine which, although it will not cure an infected badger, helps to control the spread of the disease.

    January 5th 2012 ~ Concern expressed about violent public protest

    January 4th 2012 ~ James Paice tells Oxford that there might be a viable cattle vaccine within 6 years

    Jan 3rd 2012 ~ "Badger vaccination is not a 'quick fix' solution to the TB disease problem, however it acts to address the long term disease dynamics of your land."

    Dec 19th 2011 ~ Minister Jim Paice will be live on FWi web chat today

    Dec 19th 2011 ~ NBA and CLA both welcome the announcement

    Dec 15th 2011 ~ What about the vaccination trial in Gloucester? asked Lib Dem, Tessa Munt

    Dec 14th 2011 ~ "... Overall, the findings suggested that intensively managed dairy herds were at greater risk of bovine tuberculosis outbreaks than were other herds."

    Dec 14th 2011 ~ "Anyone who thinks farmers will be celebrating after receiving the green light for a badger cull to combat bovine tuberculosis should think again."

    Dec 14th 2011 ~ the pilots will monitor the humaneness of the controlled shooting method

    Dec 14th 2011 ~ "Much has been said about the cull, accurate and inaccurate"

  • Just two licences will be granted for 2012.
  • Defra has asked the industry to work together to present a shortlist of suitable areas, a change from the original plan to allow all farmer-groups to apply. The NBA is working hard with the NFU and others to put forward a shortlist of four or five areas.
  • Defra will select two areas that it feels best meets the licence criteria, which it will pass to Natural England to grant licences to.
  • It is unlikely that Defra will select two adjacent areas, as two distinctly separate areas are likely to stand up better to scrutiny when the pilot is reviewed by an independent panel next autumn/winter.
  • Requirements for the areas include being a minimum of 150 square km, comprising solely of annual testing parishes and having good physical boundaries to reduce badger movements in and out. Permission must be obtained from farmers and landlords in the area to grant access to a minimum of 70% of the land, and the licence applicants must have the finances in place to carry out the work.
  • The NBA has made it very clear to Defra that, in order to give access to their land, farmers and landowners must not feel they will be at risk of retribution from badger lobbyists and similar activists. The NBA is working hard to ensure this remains a priority for Defra and Natural England and is positive about recent discussions.
  • The licence allows the approved areas to carry out a six-week cull each year for four years, always within the open season. The open season is June 1 to November 30 for cage trapping and shooting and June 1 to January 31 for shooting. All shooters must attend a Government-approved training course before they can participate in the cull.
  • The "impact assessment" published today includes an estimated policing cost for the first two areas. This bill will be picked up by Defra, who will have it independently reviewed to ensure all costs are specific to the cull and are in addition to normal policing activity.
  • Cage trapping and vaccination is permitted from May 1 to November 30 and can be carried out in conjunction with the cull, for example in the 2km "buffer zone" surrounding the licenced area. Some restrictions apply and specific time frames are recommended by Natural England.
  • In the first year, the number of badgers culled must reduce the population by 70%. Once this has been achieved, culling in subsequent years will be to maintain the level.
  • At the end of the open season an independent panel will review the safety, humaneness and effectiveness within the two areas. This will not be a scientific review and will not consider disease incidence, as an immediate drop in cases is not realistic in the first year.
  • If the cull is considered to be safe for humans, humane for badgers and effective, 10 more licences will be granted each year from 2013-2015, before another review is carried out. # It is hoped that once Defra has weathered the judicial reviews(s) and the first two areas in England proceed, Wales will be able to move forward from its judicial challenge and scientific review. The NBA also hope DARD will look closely at what is being done and if something similar could benefit farmers in Northern Ireland.

    Dec 12th 2011 ~ "Kate was amazed at the number of ways in which the existing ramshackle system might get it wrong.....Pinches vary. Animals vary..."

    Dec 12th 2011 ~ Badger Trust applauds, but the FUW expresses "extreme dismay" that the Welsh decision is being delayed yet again.

    Dec 9th 2011~ When in doubt, spend £871,000 counting badgers

    Dec 7th 2011 ~ Wales. No announcement on culling until the early months of next year.

    December 6th 2011 ~ Compensation for pedigree cattle. What are the real figures?

    December 6th 2011 ~ William Bain MP asked DEFRA "what new scientific evidence has emerged since the Bovine TB Eradication Group for England issued its report on Developing a Bovine TB Eradication Programme for England in October 2009."

    November 29th 2011 ~ A voluntary passport sticker scheme for cattle is being introduced in Wales to help farmers and buyers identify when animals last had a clear TB test.

    November 29th 2011 ~ Wales "Farmers are in limbo... having to watch valuable cows being destroyed, many of them needlessly." AM Angela Burns

    November 24th 2011 ~ Badger cull decision is expected to be in about three weeks

    November 21st 2011 ~ Det Ch Supt Tudway warns against "pitting farmers against activists"

    the case with bTB - a tried and tested vaccine was readily available, as was on-site testing to determine if suspect animals really were infected.)

    November 17th 2011 ~ AHVLA computer problems have serious consequences for high TB areas

    November 15th 2011 ~ The NFU and Badger Trust agree a joint project in which the badgers will be vaccinated on two farms owned by NFU members.

    November 14th 2011 ~ Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control - DEFRA has no plans to formally register or license camelids.

    November 13th 2011 ~"...the potential for treating even the most serious diseases like TB with trace elements is being ignored by the authorities."

    November 10th 2011 ~ New Zealand criticised for scattering toxins such as 1080 "indiscriminately over large areas and ignoring the solution of soil and stock management."

    November 10th 2011 ~ Could cattle be bred to resist bTB?

    November 8th 2011 ~ James Paice - Hansard Monday on "... safety implications of using shooting as part of the proposed badger cull"

    November 8th 2011 ~ "To see the pain it brings people, it is just something we cannot neglect.." William Worsley

    November 7th 2011 ~ John Griffiths (Wales' environment minister) is hoping to make a statement before Christmas

    November 3rd 2011 ~ Welsh Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, Antoinette Sandbach, has accused John Griffiths of "being in no hurry" to deal with bTB

    November 1st 2011 ~ "Bovine TB continues to ravage our communities, and has already led to the slaughter of around 6,000 cattle in Wales in 2010. The impact in terms of animal welfare and the emotional and financial effect it has on farming families is acute."

    November 1st 2011 ~ DEFRA statistics show a provisional 5.3% increase in the number of new TB incidents for January to July 2011, compared with the same period in 2010.

    October 12th 2011 ~ First UK badger vaccination Trial results published - Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

    October 2nd ~ Caroline Spelman tells the Tories: "when it comes to stopping the relentless march of Bovine TB..."

    October 2nd 2011 ~ The real importance of microbiologist input into the debate

    October 2nd 2011 ~" There's just been a Cabinet round-robin..."

    September 29th 2011 ~ bTB up 3.8% in first half of 2011 compared to 2010

    September 29th 2011 ~ Canada is on the trail of new Bovine TB screening tests

    September 28th 2011 ~ TB is a disease that transcends party politics

    September 28th 2011 ~ RBCT data " I am not sure what the comments regarding small sample size are referring to," writes an emailer

    September 28th 2011 ~ Caroline Spelman tells FWi the focus of the consultation " focussing on the efficacy of this method of culling and the humaneness"

    September 27th 2011 ~ Labour would continue with the trial culls if they return to power - despite its outrage at the policy

    September 27th 2011 ~ "the latest analysis suggests that farmers are still seeing beneficial effects." A volte face from Imperial College?

    September 24th 2011 ~Downward Trend? What downward trend?

    September 24th 2011 ~ Far too complicated

    September 22nd 2011 ~ Peter Kendall and NFU response to the consultation:"...we have set out very clearly how industry can deliver a humane and effective cull..."

    September 21st 2011 ~ "complete about turn and leaves the dairy farming industry in Wales in confusion and concern"

    September 16th 2011 ~ Consultation on Guidance to Natural England on the implementation and enforcement of a badger control policy

    September 16th 2011 ~ "oral vaccine for badgers is still our ultimate goal," says Nigel Gibbens "we will never be able to eradicate TB in cattle without addressing its presence in badgers"

    September 15th 2011 ~ evaluation of new diagnostic blood tests for Bovine Tuberculosis in cattle (Canada)

    September 13th 2011 ~ "DEFRA believes it has no lessons to learn from the Hallmark Boxster case."

    September 13th 2011 ~ New Zealand: " What was the purpose of the aerial toxin drop?" asks the Kiwi Party

    September 9th 2011 ~ "buried in the labyrinth of the DEFRA website, are a handful of annexes issued by Natural England on the operating procedure which they expect from any signatories to this cull."

    September 8th 2011 ~ Whose responsibility?

    September 7th 2011 ~ Anthony Gibson: " the government seems to be loading far too much risk and far too much cost on to the farming community and not taking enough responsibility itself."

    September 7th 2011 ~" the belligerent bureaucratic juggernaut that poisons because it can.." New Zealand

    September 6th 2011 ~ The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers calls on DEFRA to review its TB clearance policy

    September 5th 2011 ~ "We have had donations from £5.00 through to £500.00 "

    August 31st 2011 ~ "for an official of the Agency charged with delivering government policy to appear on the radio arguing against government policy is in my view unacceptable." Peter Kendall

    August 31st 2011 ~ " the presence of hedges reduces badger-cattle transmission because a higher proportion of contaminated grass is kept out of the reach of cattle"

    August 30th 2011 ~ In France they have found just one cow positive and intend to kill the entire herd of 338 immediately

    August 27th 2011 ~ Jubilation as Hallmark Boxster rejoins his herd

    August 26th 2011 ~ "Conclusions: The IS6110_T assay provides a PCR based assay system that is compatible with current diagnostic protocols for the detection of M. bovis in the USA and complements current testing strategies."

    August 25th 2011 ~ "...implications for potential disease spread and zoonotic risk to owners and animal handlers, including veterinarians."

    August 24th 2011 ~ "not once has Natural England mentioned this low level of confidence that we can deliver." Kevin Pearce

    August 24th 2011 ~ Expert panel that will review the scientific evidence base has now been named.

  • Professor Sir Mansel Aylward CB, Chair of Public Health Wales and Director of the Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research at Cardiff University
  • Professor Malcolm Bennett FRCPath FHEA, co-director of the UK National Centre for Zoonosis Research and Professor of Veterinary Pathology at the University of Liverpool;
  • Professor Bridget Emmett, deputy director of the Biogeochemistry Programme, section head and head of site at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Bangor;
  • Professor Charles Godfray CBE FRS, a Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford and Hope Professor at the Department of Zoology of the University of Oxford
  • Professor Dirk Pfeiffer, Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology and head of the Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health Group in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at the Royal Veterinary College (University of London).

    August 23rd 2011 ~"..we have a low level of confidence that the predicted benefits can be delivered consistently" Natural England

  • covering at least 70% of the land within the culled area (based on RBCT experience),
  • a minimum area of 150km2 (based on analysis and extrapolation of RBCT data),
  • sustained for a minimum of four years (based on RBCT estimates),
  • and conducted simultaneously as defined as within a six-week period each year (based on advice of the combined Defra Science Advisory Council and TB Science Advisory Body; Among other things, they advise that the policy be " implemented with caution and with appropriate checks, which should continue beyond the pilot stage" and be "subject to regular, independent monitoring". (At a time when only potentially profit-making or money-saving concerns seem to be getting DEFRA money, one is always left with the nagging question, Who will pay for that?)

    August 22nd 2011 ~ The majority of people polled were unaware of the link between badgers, cattle and bTB

    August 20th 2011 ~ A very good question

    August 20th 2011 ~ But didn't pasteurisation stop human beings getting bovine TB?

    August 20th 2011 ~ In February, the RCVS warned that" the continually growing reservoir of this serious disease presents a potential threat to human health"

    August 20th 2011 ~ The legal costs of court action over Hallmark Boxter - " a huge waste of public money".

    August 19th 2011 ~ "Sometimes we have to do what is unpopular because we know it is right": Peter Kendall

    August 17th/18th 2011 ~ "There is no reason why they should not use the DIVA test now for cattle instead of the Bovigam test"

    August 16th 2011 ~ Vindication at long last for Hallmark Boxster

    August 15th 2011 ~ "Why don't we just vaccinate cattle? If only it was that simple," says Kevin Pearce

    August 15th 2011 ~ New Zealand plans to poison its wildlife bTB reservoir with a new poison, zinc phosphide

    August 15th 2011 ~ Cattle in Wales are being tested ever more frequently and stringently

  • A move to annual testing which meant cattle owners in Wales have to pre-movement test their animals.
  • Pre-movement testing exemptions being reviewed and tightened by new legislation.
  • All cattle, including those from England and Scotland, being pre-movement tested before attending the main national and regional agricultural shows in Wales. Prof Glossop says that all animals that travel from Wales to sales will have tested negative for TB before being moved.

    August 14th 2011 ~ Your farming correspondent writes: "if PCR technology can be used to detect TB infection in camelids, for what species will it not be be useful?" A very reasonable question.

    August 14th 2011 ~ Camelids: "If this project is successful the simplicity of taking a faecal sample or nasal swab to be tested at your local VLA would be a huge step forward."

    August 14th 2011 ~ "I'd be the first to admit that we still have some issues to resolve."

    August 14th 2011 ~ Tesco acknowledges that bovine TB is 'one of Britain's biggest endemic animal health issues and that it needs to be addressed'

    August 13th 2011 ~ "Remember at one stage, with this much vilified test, we had got the country to a point of being 98% clear of TB. What went wrong?"

    August 13th 2011 ~ " I may have overlooked some significant issues here so I would be interested in your thoughts."

    August 10th 2011 ~ On gassing -" impossible to guarantee that a lethal dose is delivered to all animals in a sett."

    August 10th 2011 ~ "Why should that badger suffer a slow death over three or four years?"

    August 10th 2011 ~ "...we address the key question of whether oral BCG vaccination can actually reduce Tb infection rates in free-living animals .." .

    August 10th 2011 ~ "...even if the ELISA test is performed on badgers which all have gross lesions, typically just over a third of these badgers will not be picked up by the ELISA test"

    August 9th 2011 ~ "Is there any way of estimating the number of badgers that have been infected but which haven't yet, or may never, develop clinical symptoms?"

    August 8th 2011 ~"Just been reading the small print of the govt's badger culling plans...." Anthony Gibson on Twitter

    August 8th 2011 ~ New Forest West MP, Desmond Swayne, backs badger cull

    August 8th 2011 ~ "Your farmer correspondent is absolutely right. Most cattle that are skin test positive have met the organism but remain healthy"

    August 7th 2011 ~ "Caroline Spelman and Jim Paice still have a lot of questions to answer before I will be interested in taking the unknown level of risk of funding"

    August 6th 2011 ~ Like is not being compared to like - and farmers don't like it

    August 6th 2011 ~ "The website offers a 24/7 free advice and support service.." A flyer from Dianne Summers for all camelid owners

    "If you own alpacas or llamas we recommend you visit our website The website gives detailed advice on what happens if you are unfortunate to come down to bovine TB in your herd and also advice on measures you can take to reduce the risk of it happening to your herd. Operated and run by British Veterinary Camelid Society vet Dr Gina Bromage MA,Vet MB,DVM, MRVCS, and Dianne Summers founder of the Alpaca and llama TB Support and Research Group.
    We liaise directly with DEFRA AHVLA to provide the latest up to date information."
    This flyer can be downloaded and printed. Please feel free to contact Dianne with any questions you may have. The website offers a 24/7 free advice and support service . Bovine TB in Alpacas and Llamas For help and advice call Dianne on 01209 822422 email: or

    August 6th 2011 ~ "...according to a source close to the agencies developing the oral vaccine, scientists have not encountered any problems and are on track to complete by 2015"

    August 4th 2011 ~Trace elements: "if one infected individual has a good immune response, they will excrete fewer organisms and so the cycle of transmission is steadily reduced and there are fewer organisms ( for example in TB in cattle) excreted into the local environment."

    August 4th 2011 ~ " I asked Danny if there were cases of farms using the trace elements and still going down with Tb, and he said there were."

    August 3rd 2011 ~ "There is an association between bTB and high levels of iron in the soil."

    August 3rd 2011 ~" I have no doubt that bTB can be greatly reduced if Wales were to raise the health status of its cattle - and badgers"

    August 3rd 2011 ~ It was SEVEN years ago that the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons urged, "as the epidemic continues to accelerate Ministers may not be able to afford the luxury of further research before taking action."

    August 3rd 2011 ~ "Under pressure from pharmaceutical interests, the role of trace elements is dismissed. This is very damaging, because the scientific basis for their activation of immune resistance is well established."

    August 1st 2011 ~ "a worrying number of other animals including pigs, sheep and domestic cats becoming infected. "

    August 1st 2011 ~ Dick Roper and his selenium feed solution is back in the news

    July 30th 2011 ~ Grant available to help meet the costs of vaccination if farmers want to try this. DEFRA will publish details "shortly"

    July 30th 2011 ~ Nigel Gibbens adds a note to 38 degrees website

    July 30th 2011 ~ "...Under existing arrangements, farmers and landowners, individually or collectively, can apply for a licence to trap and vaccinate badgers.."

    July 29th 2011 ~ "What is this scientific approach that people are being asked to support? Where is it explained?" NFU asks 38 degrees

  • 87% of respondents to the 38 degrees call for opinion means 87% of those who replied - i.e. not 87% of the population.
  • Although 38 degrees claims "The government's own scientific advisers warn that it won't solve the problem of TB in cattle" scientific advice as explained in the consultation last December, and in a paper published by Defra in April, supports badger controls and this is endorsed by the Chief Veterinary Officer of England and the Defra Chief Scientist
  • The NFU points out that in order that culling should not make the problem worse "an immense amount of effort has gone into devising a programme that will be co-ordinated, sustained and simultaneous"
  • The government has not scrapped vaccination and anyone in an infected area will be free to take up the option of injecting badgers if they so wish. Indeed, several other voices of calm dissent are raised on the site, including a simple but graphic plea to the animal welfare lobby to remember too the fate of pregnant cows who are reactors- and of their unborn calves.

    July 29th 2011 ~ Petition site 38 Degrees launches a public petition against badger culls

    July 29th 2011 ~ And in the meantime?

    July 27th 2011 ~ "Some members of that Committee went into the inquiry opposed to a cull, but came round to that view having seen the evidence."

    July 27th 2011 ~ "Why do so many people care about badgers being culled but don't care a jot about the number of cattle being culled?"

    July 24th 2011 ~ More bTB in Cumbria. It appears that two cows sold from the Penrith dairy herd in the months before the outbreak was discovered at Plumpton Head Farm, have reacted to skin tests.

    July 22nd 2011 ~ Taken to task again... "We have to be realistic as well as humane"

    July 21 2011 ~ Can we leave the healthy setts alone?

  • badger poo right at the door of the sett
  • no signs of clean bedding
  • long clawed footprints
  • and a generally damp, unhealthy odour
    were just some of the signs Bryan highlighted." The film, "The Way Forward" - it can be watched online - is an important contribution to the issue and although it deals with issues that many find very difficult even to think about, is actually a lovely film and presents its views in a calm and helpful way.

    July 20th 2011 ~ DEFRA's ".. comprehensive and balanced package of measures to tackle TB in cattle, badgers and other animals, including the Government's view that it is strongly minded to allow a science-led cull of badgers in the worst affected areas".

    Read in full.

    July 19th 2011 ~ NFU senior farm policy adviser, John Royle: "Anybody that participates in controlled shooting and cage trapping will have had specialist training on the humane despatch of badgers from experts."

    July 19th 2011 ~ NFU President Peter Kendall : "I join with farmers up and down the country today in breathing an enormous sigh of relief.. "

    July 19th 2011 ~ Caroline Spelman "strongly minded" to permit a badger cull in two pilot areas of England to take place next summer before being rolled out to other TB hotspot areas

    July 18th 2011 ~ VLA admits that an effective oral badger vaccine "may never be p ly developed" - (but why not try contraceptive bait?)

    July 17th 2011 ~ The claim of a "73.8% reduction positive blood tests in badgers" examined again

    July 17th 2011~ "It's a no-win situation all way round." Sir David Attenborough

    July 17th 2011~ "Something has to be done....but vaccination is the only long-term solution to the problem," says Sir David Attenborough.

    July 17th 2011~ bTB public responses from 2006

    July 15th 2011~ Government ministers only have one day left to announce their decision on cull

    July 14th 2011 ~ Feasibility of contraceptive bait

    July 13th 2011 ~ Ireland's 2010 Eradication Programme for Bovine Tuberculosis

  • The eradication programme for Bovine TB for 2010 was implemented effectively.
  • Significant reduction in incidence of Bovine TB in 2010 compared with 2009: The report - or ppt presentation rather - should be read in full but as most people know, the Irish programme used "targeted badger removal under licence where implicated in a breakdown" Meanwhile, their Wildlife Unit has been investigating "the role of the badger in the spread of bovine tuberculosis" and, in collaboration with UK, the Badger Vaccine Development Project is ongoing.
    As usual, we read the disheartening proviso that "definitive conclusions will not be available until 2014 at the earliest"

    July 8th 2011 ~ " In the absence of an oral vaccine to prevent badgers spreading TB, there does seem to be a case for controlled culling in the worst-affected areas"

    July 6th 2011 ~ .. lack of understanding never stopped an infectious disease from spreading..."

    July 6th 2011 ~ vaccines under development: "... a more effective immune response to active disease"

    July 5th 2011 ~ Unwelcome truths about currently available badger vaccines

    July 5th 2011 ~ DEFRA is expected to give the go ahead for a licensed badger cull in England within the next few days

    July 4th 2011 ~ " Tuberculosis is not about badgers or cattle. And now the spillover is affecting more and more animals, including pets and companion mammals"

    July 3rd 2011 ~ Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust begins vaccinating local badgers

    July 3rd 2011 ~ "... Will the Minister update us?"

    July 1st 2011 ~ BVA again expresses its concern " that any further delay to the implementation of a targeted cull will simply result in further devastation to Welsh herds."

    June 30th 2011 ~ A decision has to be made by July 19th

    June 29th 2011 ~ Grim news from Cumbria

    June 27th 2011 ~ National Beef Association's Welsh members want an "anti-TB campaign, that will attack the disease on all fronts, and be aimed at all sources"

    June 23rd 2011 ~ Farmers criticise badger cull delay as "completely frustrating".

    June 21st 2011 ~ The can has been kicked further down the road - yet again. "The panel will report in the autumn."

    June 15th 2011 ~ Is there going to be a badger cull in England?

    June 13th 2011 ~ Farmers may have to pay in advance for the entire four-year licence

    June 12th 2011 ~ Hallmark Boxster passes new skin test "with flying colours" - but DEFRA now demands another

    June 7th 2011 ~ ".... the strain, stress, upset and sheer unhappiness of watching their herds being destroyed, their livelihoods threatened and their farms placed under the sterilising restrictions..."

    June 7th 2011 ~ "there has to be a question mark in both directions.."

    June 2011 ~ "Information from the United Kingdom on the results of implementation of the bovine tuberculosis co-financed eradication programmes 2010"

    May 2011 ~ DEFRA: " Media reports have suggested that the Government position on badger culling has changed."

    May 21st 2011 ~ 'question mark' ??

    May 21st 2011 ~ An announcement is now not expected until July.

    May 15th 2011 ~ "what has struck me throughout is the total lack of any sense of urgency at Defra - or, for that matter, any realisation of how devastating the effects of TB are becoming on farmers."

    May 14th 2011 ~ "with Bovine TB responsible for the destruction of 38,000 cattle last year, the farming industry is bitterly disappointed at another postponement."

    May 13th 2011 ~" the public are blissfully unaware of the implications for them and their pets of this damn disease"

    May 12th 2011 ~"We will make an announcement about a total package of measures to combat this awful disease as soon as we possible can."

    May 10th 2011 ~ "A significant risk of M. bovis infection remains in certain segments of the UK population.."

    May 8th 2011 ~ Bovine TB "an under-appreciated cause of disease and death in humans"

    If an animal is confirmed as infected, the (human) Health Protection Agency does get informed. However, this does not happen in reverse. When people get TB rarely is strain typing undertaken, and in only very few cases is the VLA contacted.
    Student doctors are still taught that 'unpasteurised milk' or foreign travel' is the source of TB so the UK medical profession in general may be unaware of the risk to people either directly or from close contact with wildlife, pets or companion mammals. BCG vaccine is no longer universally given at school age. The only official measures to control bTB have been directed solely at cows. Accordingly, bTB has spread so far and so fast that levels of bTB bacteria in the environment are increasing exponentially. TB progression in a healthy person is slow; bacteria can wall themselves up and sit quietly for decades before exploding into full blown disease. According to The Nation this month, mycobacterium bovis, the cause of bovine tuberculosis

    May 7th 2011 ~ Hallmark Boxter: DEFRA statement "We have decided not to appeal. ..our immediate priority is to continue to work with the owners of Boxster to resolve the TB problem in their herd."

    May 6th 2011 ~ The slaughter figures are not decreasing

    April 30th 2011 ~ Received from Dianne Summers and Dr Gina Bromage of the Camelid Tb Support Group

    April 30th 2011 ~ Closed farm near Penrith in Cumbria - a TB mystery

    April 27th 2011 ~ Make no mistake: bovine TB is out of control and is the single biggest threat facing the British livestock industry.

    April 25th 2011 ~ Badgers can survive, maintain body weight, and breed - while shedding that lethal load of 300,000 units of tb per 1 ml of pee into the environment.

    April 21st 2011 ~ "Bovine" tuberculosis is not a disease of cattle; it affects many mammals and human beings.

    April 19th/20th 2011 ~ RETHINK Bovine TB

    April 19th/20th 2011 ~ Devon badger vaccination trial starts next month

    April 16th 2011 ~ Another note on Hallmark Boxter

    April 16th 2011 ~ a complete lack of imagination and enterprise

    April 14th 2011 ~ Judge, quashing slaughter notice on prize-winning bull, tells DEFRA it had made "a policy mountain out of what was a farm molehill".

    March 31st 2011 ~ " This includes the need to change EU legislation" James Paice

    March 31st 2011 ~Ear tag swapping "Mr Paice stressed the illegal activity was not widespread but was being carried out by 'a very small minority'."

    March 15th 2011 ~ "Four years after the badger culling trial had began, 2001 saw one of the biggest challenges facing not just farming, but the UK as a whole...

    March 10th 2011 ~ BVA : " failure to tackle wildlife sources of TB infection has prolonged the presence of the disease in all affected species populations".

    March 7th 2011 ~ "'s not just the farming industry that has to carry the responsibility. Other organisations have an equal contribution to make"

    February 28th 2011 ~ "... minimising perturbation, and/or its negative consequences, is central to risk management."

    February 28th 2011 ~"we need to concentrate efforts at vaccination on badgers testing clear (as shown by cattle tests ) and stop shilly shallying around the desperately infected ones"

    February 16th 2011 ~ At the NFU Conference, James Paice has warned farmers of a 'whole raft of issues'

    February 15th 2011 ~ NFU conference 2011 Caroline Spelman says little about bovine TB - but insists Goverment is "determined to get it right".

    January 26th/27th 2011 ~ TB testing up for tender

    January 24th 2011 ~ "A vaccine which can both protect against initial infection and protect from a breakdown of infection into disease is a major breakthrough."

    January 23rd 2011 ~ "Changes in Tb controls from 1st January" do not apply to camelids

    January 23rd 2011 ~ "Boxy" the bull reprieved while his owner makes one last bid for a re-test

    January 4th 2011 ~ Advertising Standards Authority upholds nine complaints

    December 20th 2010 ~ ". ..cheaper than any attempt at culling and much more effective at reducing population and the presence of diseased animals..."

    December 20th 2010 ~ "You have to overcome EU legislation"

    December 15th 2010 ~ The first response to the cattle lick issue

    December 15th 2010 ~ Cattle licks with extra selenium and iodine may give protection

    December 14th 2010 ~ The NFU has published its response to Defra's consultation - and the public has replied in their thousands in support of the RSPCA's opposition to culling badgers.

    December 14th 2010 ~ Bovine tuberculosis testing in Wales has revealed a high incidence of reactors in an area thought to be relatively free of TB

    December 14th 2010 ~ "It is not the methods that are the problem, it is the process that's the problem, and it's completely dysfunctional! That's not how to stop the spread of T.B."

    December 8th 2010 ~ Last chance to send an email to DEFRA's TB consultation

    December 7th 2010 ~ BGC vaccine isn't effective, alas.

    December 6th 2010 ~ Save Our Livestock?

    December 4th 2010 ~ Bovine TB Blogspot's commentary on DEFRA's press release about Gloucestershire trial below is well worth reading

    December 2nd 2010 ~ Although in the wild, tests show 74% success rate of badger vaccination, EU Directive 78/52 still means there are no vaccine trials for cattle.

    December 2nd 2010 ~ "Why have so few farming folk bothered to give their views to the DEFRA consultation?"

    November 22nd 2010 ~ The important and humane film, "The Way Forward", can be watched freely online again

    November 20th 2010 ~ A Badger cull is needed to fight bovine TB - to suggest farmers "want blood" is grossly insulting, says Peter Kendall

    November 15th 2010 ~ " Vaccination is included in Option 6 to cover individuals who do not wish to allow a cull on their land but are prepared to pay a trained and licensed operator to vaccinate instead"

    November 11th 2010 ~ New support recommended by TBEG last year is announced by Jim Paice today.

    November 8th 2010 ~ "...we hope that people will be able to see for themselves the detailed research that went into the development of the vaccine and understand the opportunities and challenges of using vaccination."

    November 8th 2010 ~ EXTRACT from DEFRA Website:

    the following material has been made public:
  • SE3216 Development and testing of vaccines against badger tuberculosis (Project report to Defra on GLP captive badger safety study)
  • An investigation into the safety of BCG vaccine in badgers (Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) captive badger study) (PDF 393 KB)
  • Vaccine Efficacy Study with Bacille of Calmette and Guérin (BCG) Vaccine Administered Parenterally to Badgers (PDF 1.22 MB) - Safety data (Captive badger studies)
  • Vaccine Efficacy Studies with Bacille of Calmette and Guérin (BCG) Vaccine Administered Parenterally to Badgers (PDF 4.83 MB) - Efficacy data (Captive badger studies)
  • CB0116 Research Project Final Report - Efficacy testing of BCG vaccine in badgers (Project report to Defra on captive badger studies) (PDF 505 KB)
  • Field trial to assess the safety and efficacy of Bacille Calmette Guérin (BCG) vaccine administered parenterally to badgers (Good Clinical Practice (veterinary) study on wild badgers) (PDF 630 KB), plus additional supporting data in Appendix (PDF 1 MB)
  • Computer modelling by the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) (PDF 478 KB)

    November 8th 2010 ~ Auctioneers Kivells have announced they will be holding the UK's first auction of TB-restricted store cattle and dairy stock at Holsworthy Market on Monday, November 22.

    November 7th 2010 ~ "From the start I was determined to steer clear of the politics and produce a film with a firm educational base..."

    does seem politically motivated and one is somewhat at a loss to fathom the motives of those who want it withdrawn. Chris Chapman says, "From the start I was determined to steer clear of the politics and produce a film with a firm educational base. People love wildlife and I wanted to show how the disease has got out of control and yet is not being addressed. I personally don't agree with a blanket cull as has been suggested by the Welsh Assembly. This film makes a strong point for healthy cattle and healthy badgers by a different, and to my mind, far more acceptable route."

    November 4th 2010 ~ "...vaccination for cattle will be available in 2012 (with the DIVA test). " DEFRA

    October 27th 2010 ~ "The new Culling Strategy of Jim Paice is as wrong as is his enormous actual consultation," writes vet, Ueli Zellweger

    October 25th 2010 ~ Chris Chapman's moving and informative short film, The Way Forward, can now be watched online.

    October 25th 2010 ~ Welsh Assembly Government issues a fact sheet about bovine TB to every household in its Intensive Action Area

    October 20th 2010 ~ bTB. "the voices of the people who live day in, day out, with the heartache and suffering this disease causes..."

    October 12th 2010 ~ to gain a licence to cull, applicants will have to demonstrate that within the area of at least 150 km(2 )there is access for culling to over 70% of the area.

    October 9th 2010 ~ New Website bTB in Alpacas and llamas (Camelids)

    Oct 8th 2010 ~ "I don't believe that farmers or animal lovers in Britain need to be adversaries over badgers - it is the disease that is the problem and we all share an interest in a real solution."

    Oct 7th 2010 ~"..The combined knowledge of the staff involved in all of the previous culling strategies has never been utilised or sought when putting together a policy..."

    Oct 5th 2010 ~ DEFRA: PCR "not a test that could be usefully used for detecting TB in badgers based on the current state of knowledge, particularly in the field."

    Oct 5th 2010 ~ " may have missed the mention of the £1.6 million they are expected to stump up for each 150 sq km, controlled under Defra's favoured Option 6."

    Oct 1 2010 ~ Peter Kendall says, " a massive thank-you must go to Jim Paice for the real leadership he has shown when dealing with this truly difficult and divisive issue. And what a divisive issue."

    1st October 2010 ~ Camelids: Gamma Validation Project Goes Ahead.

    October 1st 2010 ~ "We accept that there is no point addressing cattle-to-cattle transmission without also addressing the wildlife reservoir of Bovine TB...." National Trust

    September 27th/28th 2010 ~ "The fallout from the Foot and Mouth epidemic rumbles on in the form of increased levels of TB in both badgers and cattle."

    September 21st 2010 ~ BVA and BCVA joint news release

    September 18th 2010 ~ Oddly unhelpful behaviour from B.A.S

    September 17th 2010 ~ "... he was condemned to a painful death I would not allow any of my farmed animals to endure."

    September 16th 2010 ~ James Paice's Ministerial Statement yesterday "No one wants to kill badgers but scientific evidence and veterinary advice clear..."

    September 15th 2010 ~ Both sides in this polarised debate deplore the possible destruction of healthy animals - but doing nothing is no longer an option.

    September 15th 200 ~ And yet another consultation begins...

    September 13th 2010 ~ The Welsh chief veterinary officer has written to the chairman of the Badger Trust

  • The levels of TB remain unacceptably high;
  • The number of animals slaughtered in quarter 4 2008 and quarter 1 2009 seem high compared to the rest of the series, particularly in Wales;
  • Results for later 2009 and 2010 are broadly in line with similar periods in 2007 and 2008.

    September 10th 2010 ~ Ireland. " further substantial reduction will be difficult until badger vaccination programme is implemented."

  • number of reactors down from 29,900 in 2008 to 23,800 in 2009 i.e. 20% reduction
  • Herd incidence down from:5.9% in 2008 to 5.1% in 2009
  • Lower incidence of disease is continuing into 2010
  • Badger removal programme appears to be paying dividends.
  • Considered view is that further substantial reduction will be difficult until badger vaccination programme is implemented.
  • Continue to implement programme on similar lines including controlled badger removal
  • Research into Badger vaccination is on-going (in collaboration with UK) but definitive conclusions will not be available until 2013 at the earliest. See presentation in full (pdf)

    September 10th 2010 ~ "she was operating solo, no mobile phone back up, and not supported by a fleet of police cars and officials in white coats" - An emailer responds to the Chirk Farm story below:

    September 9th 2010 ~ "We have a zero tolerance approach to farmers who don't comply with the law .."

    September 9th 2010 ~ Another case of bovine TB in South of France

    September 7th 2010 ~ "impossible to combat bovine TB (bTB) without tackling the disease in wildlife," says Jim Paice

    September 6th 2010 ~ " it is the right thing to do. We cannot go on not taking action to deal with this huge problem.."

    September 2nd 2010 ~ Other Species " tables have an even fuller explanation of just what Defra are not counting..."

    1st September 2010 ~ Many will be watching and waiting to see the outcome of the "Hallmark Boxster" case

    30th August 2010 ~ bTB on a farm in South West France

    August 28th 2010 ~ Bovine TB is back in the Netherlands

    August 27th 2010 ~ "apart from a change of heads in Westminister and great deal more anguish .... absolutely nothing has changed..."

    August 26th 2010 ~ Camelids: "... under-reporting figures is contributing to a 'lack urgency' within DEFRA" FG

    August 20th 2010 ~ Welsh Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones has launched a consultation on a draft legislative order to control TB in camelids, goats and deer.

    August 20th 2010 ~ "sadly as always, the decent honest and responsible herds that are under restriction are going to be tarred with the same brush as those that are not."

    August 20th 2010 ~ Promising (highly technical) news in Nature.

    August 17th 2010 ~ "the change proposed would be a false economy as well as adding to the stress of the farmers and animals concerned"

    August 16th 2010 ~ "I'd like Ruth's opinion of using the cattle 'microbiology'"

    August 12th 2010~ New Zealand government funds "an entirely new type of vaccine that could increase the effectiveness of treating livestock against the disease"

    August 10th 2010 ~ "The appeal court ruling is of course a major set back, especially for those farmers whose businesses are being destroyed by this horrendous disease"

    August 5th 2010 ~ "If I had received this email back in January 2009 not only would I have understood why my alpaca had this reaction but I would have certainly adopted a totally different approach."

    July 30th 2010 ~ " the importance of monitoring alpacas after a skin test should not be underestimated."

    July 27th 2010 ~ "...a beautiful and sensitive film....the most striking thing to me is the lack of microbiology to back up the hypothesis put forward."

    sick it will shed organisms so it is not only sick badgers that are infectious. Once infected, whether they are vaccinated or not will make no difference. She is impressed by "such careful mapping and observations" but says they "cry out for modern microbiology..." Read email and some of the correspondence that preceded it

    July 26th 2010 ~ Reappraisal of triple therapy in oral bait

    July 22nd 2010 ~ Must we continue to watch the slaughter of thousands more cows, bulls and alpacas, and to know that infected badgers are dying slowly and alone?

    July 22nd 2010 ~ FUW president wants a legal cull of badgers carried out under licence.

    July 17th 2010 ~ "The ISG's final report, published in 2007, explicitly states that badgers contribute significantly to the disease in cattle." Jim Paice

    July 17th 2010 ~ VLA now includes TB as "common" disease of camelids

    July 15th 2010 ~ "Human" TB is no longer a disease of the past

    July 15th 2010 ~ NBA reaction to High Court decision: "No farmer or farmers' organisation has ever envisaged eliminating badgers from the countryside.."

    July 14th 2010 ~ TB in alpacas - "we need to change the way we do things - sharpish"

    July 14th 2010 ~ BVA says - " important to note that the decision is based on the way the Welsh Assembly Government came to its decision and not on the scientific evidence."

    July 13th 2010 ~ The Welsh Badger cull order has been quashed by the Court of Appeal.

    July 7th 2010 ~ "It's time our film was circulated..."

    July 2nd 2010 ~ Dropped Trials: "Our initial costs were about £1.1m for a whole area. By the time we finished it was £2.2m for half an area"

    July 1st 2010 ~ "We will set out our proposals in due course, including the estimated costs." Jim Paice

    June 24th 2010 ~ Vaccination trials now reduced to only one

    June 21st 2010 ~ The apparently healthy little alpaca - but he had TB lesions all through his organs

    June 11th 2010 ~ The badger cull in Wales will be delayed. The Court of Appeal has agreed to an expedited hearing on 30 June

    June 4th 2010 ~ "The randomised badger culling trial has for years wrongly been used to justify a policy of inaction." Sarah Wollaston MP

    May 21st 2010 ~ Farming Today - Listen again to James Paice this morning

    May 20th 2010 ~ James Paice announced an eventual badger cull in the West Country

    May 20th 2010 ~ Plans for an emergency cull of badgers in hotspots of bovine TB are to be put on hold while Caroline Spelman "reviews the scientific evidence"

    May 14th 2010 ~ in the run up to the election was a Tory commitment to implement a badger cull in England.

    May 12th 2010 ~ Camelids : "a very important announcement on the camelid gamma interferon validation project".

    May 3rd 2010 ~ A new TB Blog for alpaca owners

    April 30th/May 1st 2010 ~ " We must all hope that the Welsh trial will produce evidence that makes similar action inevitable in the rest of the UK."

    April 30th 2010 ~ Strict additional cattle measures to accompany badger culling in Welsh trial

    April 25th 2010 ~ Camelids "Defra have recently pulled the financial rug on one promising supplementary blood test."

    April 25th 2010 ~ bTB not a "negligible public health problem in the UK, providing milk is pasteurized"?

    April 22nd 2010 ~ "...the success of the programme to date is a credit to the agricultural industry and to those people dedicated to eradicating TB from New Zealand."

    April 22nd 2010 ~ "Proposals allowing English farmers to cull infected badgers will be placed before the next DEFRA secretary, whichever political party wins power in the general election on 6 May."

    April 16th 2010 ~ The High Court has ruled that the Welsh badger cull may go ahead

    April 15th 2010 ~ Protecting against the incursion of TB at Shows

    April 15th 2010 ~ The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers appeals to candidates

    April 10th 2010 ~ " If bovine TB was only present in cattle, we could eradicate it by testing alone. But because it is also present in badgers in areas such as west Wales, testing is not enough."

    April 8th 2010 ~ "no licences will be issued for culling badgers for the purpose of preventing the spread of bTB in cattle"

    April 7th 2010 ~ DEFRA will pay just over £630,000 to fund research into "farmer confidence" in bTB badger vaccination

    April 2nd 2010 ~ "No stress then"

    March 30th 2010 ~ Vaccine for use in badgers has been approved by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD).

    March 25th 2010 ~ Waiting for the High Court judge's decision

    March 24th 2010 ~ Today is World Tuberculosis day...

    March 22nd 2010 ~ The Badger Trust's legal challenge at Swansea High Court today

    March 22nd 2010 ~ "The animals culled appeared very healthy, had no visible signs of bTB, no lesions and the tissue culture was negative"

    March 18th 2010 ~ Now, sheep and wild boar on Gloucestershire have bovine TB

    March 16th 2010 ~ Cutaneous TB caused by M bovis in a veterinary surgeon following contact with a TB-infected alpaca in southwest England.

    March 12th 2010 ~ The US welcomes a portable, rapid TB sensor. Will the UK?

    March 10th 2010 ~ Latest from the Bovine TB Blogspot "This is what TB does.."

    March 10th 2010 ~ Rob Rawlings at Wellground Alpacas on badger fencing

    February 27th 2010 ~ "I rather think that Mr Fitzpatrick didn't seem to understand my point," Ken Proctor, former president of the Holstein Cattle Society

    February 26th 2010 ~"The scientists hope their research will lead to vaccines to prevent bovine tuberculosis, as well as tools to provide more accurate, faster diagnoses in the field"

    February 26th 2010 ~ bTB in New Zealand - drop in infection rates for 15th consecutive year

    February 25 2010 ~ Does the Minister share my concern and understand the anger of many dairy farmers throughout the land who have seen their herds decimated?

    February 24th 2010 ~ New bTB test developed in the US

    February 24th 2010 ~ At least 30 camelid herds are now under restriction

    February 23rd 2010 ~ NFU conference. bTB top of the agenda

    February 17th 2010 ~ The Way Forward - Don't miss this 25 minute film

    February 17th 2010 ~ No easy answers are offered in "The Way Forward", and the present problems associated with vaccination are not dodged.

    February 16th 2010 ~ "What we all want is healthy cattle and healthy badgers."

    February 16th 2010 ~ "I have never met anybody with the ability to look at a sett and state that there are diseased animals in it.."

    February 15th 2010 ~ "farmers are rather taken aback by the fury of the opposition and feel cowed by the anger they hear on the radio."

    February 12th 2010 ~ Imperial's report has been leapt on as "scientific proof"

    February 11th 2010 ~ "Will he therefore have a word with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who seems to have lost the plot on this..."

    February 11 2010 ~ ".. there is always the risk of it spreading back in as a result of DEFRA not taking the tough decisions necessary to tackle this disease."

    February 10th 2010 ~ The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has warned against a kneejerk reaction

    February 10th 2010 ~ There may be those for whom this BBC headline suggests political pressure at work.

    February 10 2010 ~"All that work, together with that of the veterinary investigation officers, has effectively been ignored by both Krebs and Bourne..."

    February 6th 2010 ~ "A Th-2 response is of no use to contain the infection, and will give a positive skin test or bovigam test result either."

    February 6th 2010 ~ Revised DEFRA TB leaflet on camelids - the section regarding the use of anti tuberculin drugs has been removed (and other minor changes)

    February 5th 2010 ~ "I agree that an oral vaccine would be much more effective, and we are working very hard, and providing extra funding, to bring that about as soon as possible." Hilary Benn

    February 4th 2010 ~ Why BCG does not perform like other vaccines - BCG considered by Dr Ueli Zellweger

    February 3rd 2010 ~ Dr Christianne Glossop talking about the TB Eradication Programme for Wales.

    February 2 2010 ~ "the precautionary principle will be applied ..."

    January 30 2010 ~ "How can there be faith in the system?"

    28/29 January 2010 ~ "although we all like badgers, badgers themselves suffer terribly as a result of this disease."

    28/29 January 2010 ~ " In cattle, the attempt to detect all infections, latent, early and active in early and late stages in cattle and kill all these animals is doomed to failure..."

    January 28 2010 ~ "TB hangs over us like the sword of Damocles..."

    He dismisses how farmers feel and puts the general public first who are totally divorced from the horror. ...."

    January 28 2010 ~ Is Hilary Benn's justification out of date?

    , culling "would have a significant effect on reducing TB in cattle".2 The more recent TB Eradication Group's 'Developing a Bovine TB Eradication Programme for England', (38 page pdf file) in its Executive Summary (October 2009) said

    January 25 2010 ~ " The stress and worry is unbelievable to those not living it on a daily basis...."

    January 21 2010 ~ "inconclusive on a standard reading became reactor status on severe."

    January 21 2010 ~"our members see the devastation caused by the disease every day - in terms of the welfare of both cattle and badgers, and the impact on the farming community"

    January 20th 2010 ~ bTB vaccine

    January 20th 2010 ~ The NFU 'not tough enough' to make a difference, suggests Derek Mead, Mr Kendall's challenger for NFU presidency

    January 18/19th 2010 ~ "Dr Gillett may be tragically correct in saying vaccination is not currently the answer to TB in cattle."

    January 18/19th 2010 ~ 7 page leaflet for Alpaca (and Llama) owners

    Monday, January 18, 2010 ~ Alpaca deaths: "a comforting 18 on Defra's tables, while a quick round robin telephone call to distraught owners extracted a figure of over 200 animals - ten times the 'official' one"

    January 16/18 2010 ~ " Talk of vaccination is an unfortunate or contrived distraction from the main issue. ."

    January 16/18 2010 ~ The miserable consequences of bTB for badgers

    January 15th 2010 ~ ".. for the 42% of farms in the cull area which have suffered from TB since 2003, the decision of the Welsh Assembly government is long overdue." "

    January 15th 2010 Those who - rightly - want to see effective vaccination for both badgers and cattle are evidently unaware of the Catch 22 nature of EU policy

    January 14th 2010 ~ "The earliest projected date for the use of a BCG cattle vaccine with a DIVA test to Differentiate Infected from Vaccinated Animals is 2015."

    January 14th 2010 ~ "I read the instructions for TB testing alpacas and the like; whoever thought these up has never worked in the field..."

    January 12th 2010 ~ "oral vaccination appears to be as effective as subcutaneous vaccination. But other safety issues still need to be resolved before the vaccine could be used in wildlife"

    January 11th 2010 ~ "It clearly will not provide a cure, then that is not the object. It is to attempt to try and reduce the shedding and gain experience of baiting.."

    Monday January 11th 2010 ~ ".. trying not to fiddle whilst Rome burns"

    January 10th 2010 ~ It is very tricky to say for how long one treatment is effective.

    January 8th 2010 ~ "it would be very difficult to control the dosage for individual badgers and some of the appropriate antibiotics are quite toxic if large doses are taken and likely to induce resistance in low dose."

    January 7/8 2010 ~ "I do not think that any single policy is a panacea and we need to consider combined approaches..."

    January 7 2010 ~ "Some would advocate the mass culling of badgers... There is an intermediate and more appropriate strategy."