Western Morning News (Saturday)

Don’t treat farmers as though they’re stupid

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I WISH non farming people would not treat farmers as stupid. So many badgers have Tb the only way forward is to isolate some healthy ones in quarantine. Kill the rest and release the healthy ones. Don’t blame farmers for Tb in their cattle. Here are the facts:

Myth 1: Cattle are kept in overcrowde­d sheds. Fact: Modern sheds are air-conditione­d, whereas years ago when Tb reduced from nearly 1m cattle a year with Tb to 400 in 1979, cattle were cramped into small stone houses. Back then the local badger sett was taken out in areas of cattle Tb.

Myth 2: Cattle are fed monocultur­e feeds. Fact: Grass and straw form most of their diets but things like protein and minerals are added.

Myth 3: Cattle are transporte­d all over the country, mixing with other herds. Fact: Before cattle leave their farm they have to take a Tb test even to go to the Royal Cornwall Show.

Myth 4: Cattle are not vaccinated. Fact: There is no cattle vaccine in the world. In trials in Suffolk and Dublin the badger vaccine has been proven to have 0% effectiven­ess. Of course, we could kill all the cattle and not the badgers. In a few years we would then have no cattle or badgers.

Myth 5: Cattle are subjected to vaccine abuse. Fact: Unlike in the USA we use very little vaccines. Like humans they very rarely have them.

Roger Clemens Wadebridge, Cornwall

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