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Stackyard News Feb 06

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No logic to pro-badger lobby efforts to avoid anti-TB culling

There is no logic in the anti-culling position that has been taken by the pro-badger lobby in the debate on how to control unrelenting TB spread over increasingly widespread areas of the UK.

So says the National Beef Association which is alarmed at the flimsy, and ultra- selective, case against culling badgers that has been put forward to challenge the compelling, but less sensational, arguments that back organised culling on a scale necessary to control and then reduce the spread of the disease.

“We do not understand the anti-cull stance taken by organisations , including the RSPCA, which claim to have the welfare of animals at heart but are ready to expose even more badgers and cattle to the distress of TB infection because they will not approve the removal of badgers, along with infected cattle, in areas where TB is endemic,” explained NBA chief executive, Robert Forster.

“We are familiar with post-mortem evidence that confirms badgers with TB can lose more than half their normal bodyweight before they expire and also with further proof of their severe debilitation and stress following the reduction of all body fat surrounding their diseased lungs and kidneys.”

“There can be no doubt that badgers in TB hot spot areas suffer horribly from the disease but although the culling of badgers in these regions would prevent further spread into entirely new localities, and then even more badgers going down with the disease, the organisations that are expected to promote the well being of these creatures actively seek to prevent the introduction of controls that would protect the species they claim to guard.”

According to the NBA the plight of the 30,000 cattle slaughtered out each year as TB reactors is resolutely ignored too - even though the lives of most of these animals was suddenly brought to a premature, and avoidable, end.

“Most of the anti-badger cull campaigners claim that the TB is spread exclusively by cattle but these are arguments based on blind denial. The National Beef Association accepts there is some cattle to cattle spread but everyone capable of objective thinking, including government scientists, is certain badgers are the biggest single contributor,” said Mr Forster.

“It is worth noting that a post-mortem examination of the lungs is compulsory when cattle move through an abattoir. Last year 3.23 million pairs of lungs were examined but only 288 showed signs of TB.

“This is only 0.009 per cent of this massive sample and if cattle were spreading TB amongst each other in a significant way we are certain the figure would be much higher.”

“The contradictory position taken by the anti-badger cull groups cannot be ignored. TB is currently endemic within most of the badger population present in the hot spots that cover around 15 per cent of England 's land area and it is spreading outwards at a regular compound rate of 18 per cent a year.”

“If it is not checked almost twice as many badgers, not to mention cattle, will be exposed to TB in four years time. Only a resolute cull of badgers in existing TB areas can prevent this spread which will eventually be a risk to every badger in Britain if the disease is not halted,” Mr Forster added.

link Defra Guilty Of Half Measures On TB
link Government Lacks Leadership On Bovine TB
link TB measures too little, too late

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National Beef Association