As you try to make sense of all the hysterical outpourings, here are a few simple facts to keep in mind:
- There is no such thing as "badger baiting." People do not catch badgers and set up organised fights, in the manner of cockfighting or dogfighting (which do exist). It's a fiction put about by animal rights groups to smear anyone in favour of culling.
- 'Perturbation' is what happens when you make a half-hearted, incompetent effort to cull badgers. That is what was proved by the RBCT, nothing more or less. It tells us nothing about what might happen if a cull is planned and executed properly.
- The ISG report is fundamentally flawed, because it is based on a false assumption: that the source of TB infection in cattle is split precisely into thirds: 1/3 from cattle movement, 1/3 from cattle-to-cattle within the herd, and 1/3 from badgers. This is demonstrably false, and contradicts studies carried out before, during and after the ISG's work.
- An infected badger becomes a 'super excreter', spewing millions of bacteria everywhere it goes, particularly in its urine. The disease works very differently in cattle, which do not produce infective material in anything like the same way - in fact it is virtually impossible to detect the disease in the urine, snot, etc of infected cattle (otherwise we wouldn't need to use such unsatisfactory tests to detect it).
- Vaccination of badgers is not a viable solution, for many reasons - in particular, it's pointless vaccinating already infected badgers, which in TB hotspots are the majority.
We almost beat bovine TB back in the 80s, with a robust policy of cattle testing and gassing badgers. Even the 'clean ring' policy held things in check. But as the political climate turned, badger protectionism grew - and bTB spiralled out of control.
This is not rocket science. We could wipe out bTB in a few years if government had the cojones to go back to gassing setts of infected badgers, together with a strict and effective policy of cattle testing and movement control. Sadly, thanks to the efforts of May, Monbiot, RSPCA and the rest, that will be politically impossible - we will end up with a half-arsed policy, condemning thousands of cattle, and badgers, to an unpleasant death for years to come. And they claim to be the ones who care about animal welfare!
Interesting video here...