andygates: (badger)
The DEFRA bovine-TB-and-badgers consultation is online.  Responses are invited.

Grink, no ranting. )

I believe that unacceptable (ie, healthy) carcasses will be disposed of quietly, passed-off as roadkill and so on, so the monitoring is likely to be ineffective.

I strongly urge the Department to reconsider the cull.

Badgering

Nov. 16th, 2010 08:18 pm
andygates: (badger)
So, the Tories are in power and their special friends in the NFU are after some sweet sweet blood, or so it seems.  There's only one bit of large-scale science done on badger culls here -- and it says, unequivocally, that it'll suck: it won't be effective in stopping TB, it won't be cost-effective, it'll mess with an apex predator and that's never straightforward, it's basically dumb knee-jerk thinking.

So, of course, the government will do what it always does with science it doesn't like, and ignore it utterly.  The author's even turning up to campaign meetings now.  The RSPCA are doing the big sane campaign thing here (sign up! write in!); there will doubtless be less calm campaigns from the usual suspects as the whole thing gets momentum. 

Instead of vaccination and movement restrictions (the NFU wanted those lifted, talk about petards), it'll be a spasm of head-taking, cull sabbers getting in fights, and no reduction in bloody TB in cattle or sodding badgers.  Pathetic.  
andygates: (badger)
This doesn't seem to have broken outside Devon, but it makes me smile: DEFRA are starting a bunch of long-term badger TB vaccine trials.  At last!
andygates: (badger)
The King report is here: http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/tb/pdf/badgersreport-king.pdf

Basically, it's an attempt at a stopgap. Kill enough badgers to decrease the "reservoir of infection" and maintain the cull until something better (like badger vaccination or -gasp- better farming practices) comes along. It won't be a one-off and to work it would need to be repeated year after year in cull areas.

The smart, long-term approach would be to tag badgers now, get a really good idea of their movements and meanwhile expedite vaccine development. Then routinely vaccinate until the "reservoir of infection" is emptied. This would be cheaper in the long term, it would be massively more acceptable to the public, and it would be more effective.

I hope we can keep the anger level high enough that the politicians see that this is a vote-loser. That might steer them in the right direction. Very unpopular cull programmes would probably result in direct-action badger defense protests and a whole wave of "swampy versus the farmers" protest, which would be less desirable but an understandable reaction.
andygates: (Default)
Official denial is always the best way to concrete a rumour in place.  In this case, it's Major David Gell doing the denying on behalf of the British army in Basra, southern Iraq.  He says:
“We have not released giant badgers in Basra"
How much would you pay to have a serious military spokesman say something that gloriously daft?  It pretty much confirms that the Brits have a dastardly plan to destabilise the region by importing Kalahari Ratels (that's Honey Badgers to you and me), leaving this mustelid plague to, er, root through bins and crack open any beehives they come across. 

Of course the real reason for the appearance of ratels is regional environmental change and, I'll wager, the fact that people are fighting a bloody great war all over their patch. 
andygates: (Default)
First, they've declared that the cervical cancer jab should be rolled out to girls.  Yay!  A jab against cancer!  Bloody marvellous - and so good to see that they haven't got bogged down in the rubbish that snarls the Americans, where HPV's status as a sexually-transmitted disease means that the fundies are upset about injecting young kids.  Um, hello? The idea is you inoculate them before they're active.  In the real world, 12-13 is ideal.  This is a jab for a nasty cancer.  Moral balance, you doofs.

A second bunch of boffins have said that a badger cull would be useless in preventing TB in cattle.  It would only work if one could totally extinctify the wheezy brocks, which I'm glad to say is as technically impossible as it is morally repugnant.  Various farmers who haven't read the science are grumbling about how the Government really ought to commit speciecide to protect their profits - I'm embarassed to say, most of them seem to be from round here. 

And yay to Jessie Jacobsen for coming up with a transgenic model for Huntington's.  Morality of animal experimentation and transgenic programmes?  I say go for it.  I would.  I'm the one with the spongy brain, who stuck his Dad in a box from the same thing earlier this year.  If you oppose this but haven't got a direct link, a direct reason to be interested, just think of the Lottery logo: It could be you.  Next.  Soon.  and frankly if you're not a vegan anyway, you can sod right off for the hypocrite you are.  Thanks, Jessie.

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