Thursday, 3 July 2014

Cow news

From The Daily Mail:

Badger culling plays only a ‘minor role’ in helping to control the spread of TB in cattle, a study has claimed.

Researchers from the University of Warwick analysed cases of the disease, looking at incidents on British farms dating back to the 1990s.

The study, published in the journal Nature, found that transmission of TB from badgers to cows plays only a ‘relatively minor role’ in the spread of the problem.

The research also claimed that killing every cow in a herd once the disease has been detected, as Britain did in the 2001 foot-and-mouth crisis, would be an effective method of stemming the rise of bovine tuberculosis.

However this would involve slaughtering 640,000 cows in the first year alone – a policy the paper calls ‘extreme’ and ‘draconian’.

Seems like the obvious solution to me, seeing as badger culls don't work.


paulc156 said...

The only reason the cull went ahead was to placate the NFU. The farmers aren't interested in evidence or lack thereof regarding the efficacy and cost effectiveness of culling.
Of those badgers killed in the aborted cull, none were even tested to see if they were carrying the TB infection.

john b said...

The sensible solution is vaccination (a worthy tribute, given cows' place in developing the practice and it name), but because agricultural protectionism is immense and terrible, this would apparently screw up British beef and milk exports as people overseas lied that there was a problem with vaccinated produce.

Mark Wadsworth said...

PC, a badger cull can't possibly work, logic says so. Whether or not you think badgers are cute and cuddly wildlife or chavvy little pests.

So no, whoever was dumb enough to try it would not test the carcasses.

JB, yes, but how on earth would you inoculate badgers? It's difficult enough gassing, snaring and shooting them.

I suppose plan B might be to smuggle a load of TB-riddled badgers into France, and all of a sudden all the problems will melt away.