Alleged engagement with Badgers

“Dr Paul Monaghan (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross) (SNP)
He is highlighting some alleged facts in relation to the engagement that badgers have with cattle. I would like to suggest that there is absolutely no evidence to substantiate that view whatsoever.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds) (Con)
I simply say to the hon. Gentleman, who is an intelligent chap, that every bit of logic points to the fact that there must be a link. If badgers have TB and cattle have TB—I do not think this island is alone; this takes place in the rest of the world —any scientific hypothesis would assume there is a link. It is not credible for him to suggest otherwise.” https://goo.gl/QNjbae

Assumption, the watchword of logicians.

From the Badger culling debate at UK parliament on 27 March.
Transcript at https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-03-27/debates/7EE168FA-D5CD-41B5-9563-E801D4777EE3/BadgerCulling.
Video at http://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/94880530-c845-4ce1-99df-b464223f225e

Advertisements

Bogged down in Badgers

“Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds) (Con)
I commend my hon. Friend for putting some of the facts about wildlife on the record. He is right about the reduction in some of our bird and mammal species, such as the hedgehog.

Dr Paul Monaghan (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross) (SNP)
Will the hon. Gentleman be kind enough to cite the source of the evidence he just supported?

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown
Well, the source is evident to any countryman out there. There has been a rapid decline in hedgehogs, and we know perfectly well that badgers eat hedgehogs’ young, wild birds and birds’ nests. That, however, is not the subject of the debate, and I do not want to get drawn on that red herring.” https://goo.gl/LYqGfR

Herring and hedgehogs should not be confused, although both are threatened most from the actions of…humans. However herring are considered the most sustainable fish to eat.

Rather than spell out the evident source of these wildlife facts, the sort of ‘countrymen out there’ referred to by Mr Clifton-Brown seem rather busy damming, diverting or dredging all evident sources.

From the Badger culling debate at UK parliament on 27 March.
Transcript at https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-03-27/debates/7EE168FA-D5CD-41B5-9563-E801D4777EE3/BadgerCulling.
Video at http://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/94880530-c845-4ce1-99df-b464223f225e

Bagging Badgers

“Does he agree that those who oppose the cull look at the badger as a friendly, lovable animal, which in effect it is not? Factually, the badger is responsible for destroying bee hives, hedgehogs and ground-nesting birds such as skylarks, grey partridges ​and meadow pipits. [Interruption.] That is true. It is also responsible for the loss of wood warblers, nightingales and stone curlews. Those are facts. The badger is a danger, and like all wild animals that have no natural predator—just like deer and foxes—it should be culled, so that numbers are maintained.” Richard Drax (South Dorset) (Con) https://goo.gl/N7Uwim

A compelling argument for culling humans.

From the Badger culling debate at UK parliament on 27 March.
Transcript at https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-03-27/debates/7EE168FA-D5CD-41B5-9563-E801D4777EE3/BadgerCulling.
Video at http://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/94880530-c845-4ce1-99df-b464223f225e

CanineTB

“Defra says that bTB in dogs is not a notifiable disease, but an outbreak of this size in [hunting] dogs that work across farmland must surely now be taken seriously. Just how many other packs are infected?
And of course hound-to-cattle bTB transmission, perhaps via hound excrement left in fields pastured by cattle, is entirely plausible – a fact that concerned farmers are waking up to. Hound excrement may even be infecting badgers with bTB.” http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2988743/bovine_tb_found_in_foxhounds_and_nothing_to_do_with_badgers_now_what.html

Defra reminded the public that the purpose of the badger culling programme is to eradicate badgers. Reports of bovine TB infecting others species are just a distraction.

Badge of Success

“Almost 1,500 badgers were killed during last year’s badger cull, according to Defra. The government described the effort as a success.” (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/23/badger-cull-protesters-change-tactics-in-response-to-expansion)

Ah, the answer to my question “what is the motivation for culling badgers?” – ‘Success’ is not measured as fewer cows with bovine TB, it’s a great big pile of uninfected, inhumanely killed, badger carcasses.

Five ways to take action against the cull, from dairy boycotts to non-violent protests.

Badgers of Mass Destruction

“The assumptions about badgers and bTB, like those fabled and non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction that led us to invade Iraq, have become an accepted ‘truth’ on which to build government policies.” (http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2987993/why_are_badgers_always_at_the_head_of_the_blame_queue.html)

So, instead of asking “how are badgers infecting cattle?”, if we ask “what is infecting cattle with bovine TB?” or “how might cattle be infecting badgers?” now that would be heresy.

Badger Cattle Battle

“Bovine TB is probably not passed by direct contact between species, but rather indirectly through contaminated pasture … badgers like to hang around earthworm-rich cattle pasture, but not the cattle themselves. Badger faeces and sputum — and cow pats from infected cattle — might be the carriers of M. bovis in farms.” (http://www.nature.com/news/scientists-track-badger-cow-encounters-to-understand-cattle-tb-1.20378)

Just out of curiosity, what is the motivation for culling badgers? Obviously scientific and economic justifications are long since debunked, so is it simply to mollify the ‘shoot the scapegoat’ brigade? Is it time to wean them off the infected badger sputum?