TB advice was based on fake science
I WAS saddened to see the lengthy letter from your regular correspondent John Tuck ( Western Daily Press, November 26). He repeats the oft-repeated claim that the Thornbury cull worked, as allegedly endorsed by Ben Bradshaw and frequently by George Eustice in Parliamentary debates.
Well, sorry, the actual truth about Thornbury was that cattle controls got TB down to just one farm in 1971 in this 103sq km area. A flare-up to 16 herds, but cleared by cattle testing to zero. So gassing some 500 to 1,000 badgers in this big area was unnecessary and meaningless. One sett had to be gassed 19 times to remove those pesky brocks.
And, in fact, whilst bad, confirmed breakdowns did not reappear for a decade, with restocking after mad cows. There were in fact one to two unconfirmed breakdowns every year afterwards, clearly by bought-in cattle.
With a skin test under 50 per cent accurate, and 20 million local cattle movements per annum, that is what spreads cattle TB.
The belated Godfray Report, on November 13, is a disgraceful, incompetent recycling endorsement of the perturbation cull policy, launched by a group of experts in 2011.
The first ‘result’ of the RBCT/Krebs cull in 2002 was that there was an unexpected rise in cattle TB in both reactive cull areas, and in the 2km buffer ring outside proactive areas. That is where the current policy came from, with the mistaken idea that a cull over a big enough area would halve cattle TB, despite an initial perturbation rise.
Unbelievable – no-one has noticed that there was no cull in that outside ring, so no perturbed badgers, and the dramatic rise in all 30 trial areas, and 30 buffer rings, was actually simply due to lack of testing during foot and mouth in 2001, 42 per cent of breakdowns had accumulated six-plus reactors. And the reactive rise happened before the cull, so it