NBA attacks one-sided TB controls
The annual culling tally for TB infected animals in Great Britain
reads: Cattle: 23,000 - Badgers outside control trial areas: Nil,
even though thousands of badgers are themselves dying horribly
from the disease, the National Beef Association reported today.
And on top of this taxpayers face a TB control bill for 2004-2005
of more than £100 million while the 5,800 farmers whose businesses
are under movement restriction have been hit with £millions
in other costs.
"TB is a two species disease with one-sided control management
and as a result costs to the Exchequer over 2005-2006 are expected
to top £120 million with further 20 per cent annual compound
increases to come," explained NBA policy advisor, Kim Haywood.
"Farmers are already hacked off with this unfairness and
it can only be a matter of time before the taxpaying public becomes
equally fed up and asks its own pointed questions about government
failure to tackle the expensive problem of TB in Britain's 750,000
strong badger population too."
At present badgers outside the trial areas that suffer from the
disease are not included in the government's anti-TB campaign and
this tactic is encouraged by well organised pressure groups which
threaten extreme political pressure any time the flawed, cattle-only,
controls appear likely to be reviewed.
"Farmers cannot believe that diseased badgers are offered
such high-priced public and political protection and are hoping
that costly government shortsightedness will soon be challenged
by taxpayers themselves," said Ms Haywood.
"Besieged cattle owners would like to make it clear that
they have no wish to encourage wholesale badger slaughter, as some
propagandists allege, but want to limit culling to small, but highly
critical, local populations of infected animals instead."
According to the NBA badger numbers have increased five fold over
the last 30 years and there is no prospect of this protected species
"But we do propose that badgers in areas where grazing cattle
herds are repeatedly infected are tested for TB using Polymerase
Chain Reaction portable laboratories and if found to be positive
are humanely put down, along with their immediate sett mates, using
inert carbon monoxide gas."
"TB in badgers is triggered by stress from overcrowding,
semi-starvation and fighting for territory - which are all symptoms
of chronic overpopulation."
"So a properly targeted anti-TB campaign which focused equally
and fairly on both cattle and badgers would have the dual result
of lightening the cost burden on taxpayers as well as improving
living conditions for thousands of badgers as well."
"It is important that the public, politicians, and groups
of activists who currently argue that there are no circumstances
in which infected badgers should be culled fully understand this," Ms