Cat­tle statis­tics have to be ques­tioned

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - Wdp 2 / Opinion - John Tuck Woot­ton Bas­sett, Wilt­shire

ONCE again, We­ston Daily Press read­ers are treated to the con­vo­luted logic and ques­tion­able statis­tics of Martin Han­cox (let­ters, De­cem­ber

6).

From where did Mr Han­cox ob­tain the fig­ure of 20 mil­lion lo­cal cat­tle move­ments per an­num? What is the def­i­ni­tion of lo­cal and who records it? Even peo­ple with an im­per­fect un­der­stand­ing of the way BCMS statis­tics are com­piled don’t claim any more than 13 mil­lion, and

that with no in­for­ma­tion as to the dis­tance trav­elled. Mr Han­cox claims the skin test for TB is un­der 50 per cent ac­cu­rate, yet he is con­fi­dent this same test com­pletely cleared TB from the Thorn­bury area, and that badger culling had noth­ing to do with the decade of free­dom from TB that fol­lowed the cull. This re­quires an ex­pla­na­tion.

Pre­ced­ing these ques­tion­able claims Mr Han­cox uses the word “al­legedly” to im­ply there may be some doubt about the re­ported state­ment of a Gov­ern­ment minister in re­sponse to a par­lia­men­tary ques­tion, as recorded in Hansard.

The po­si­tion of Mr Han­cox on the Gov­ern­ment TB panel, long since dis­banded, was as the nom­i­nee of the Badger Trusts, and he there­fore can­not be re­garded as an un­bi­ased observer.

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