Monday 20 September 2010

Badger badger badger

Hark at the wailing and teeth gnashing and hand wringing as the animal welfare industry rattles its collecting tins at fluffy-minded idiots.

The proposed badger cull provides the perfect case study of how this industry operates, deploying the full range of emotional blackmail, trickery, misuse of science, fake concern and downright lying. Douglas Batchelor of the League Against Cruel Sports excels himself with a blog post that manages to combine all these, and even suggests it's a plot to boost foxhunting.

My favourite bit is the deliciously sarcastic comment at the foot by Mo Young: "As always Douglas I highly commend you on your lucidity and clarity in explaining this matter." This at the end of 1,250 rambling words with a FOG index of 15.5.

Ex Queen guitarist Brian May, who appears to be regressing back through his childhood, has written a load of soppy nonsense in the Guardian, accusing farmers and Defra officials alike of an "insatiable lust" to "take revenge" on badgers. Someone at the Guardian should be prosecuted for cruelty for allowing May to make such an arse of himself in public.

Trust a Devon farmer to come up with some good oldfashioned common sense:

"I'm writing ahead of what will be the usual barrage by the pro-badger lobby. I am a dairy farmer from Devon that operates a closed herd (that is for those that don't know - we don't introduce any animals on to the farm) We also have excellent boundary fences and high hedges which very much limits interaction between our stock and that of our neighbours.

In the past we suffered badly with TB and had multiple breakdowns over a period of time. This was during a period when MAFF were trapping and culling badgers on infected farms. 80 percent of the badgers trapped on our farm where diagnosed with TB at post mortem, once they had been removed - big surprise, so was our TB problem.

We currently have badgers on the farm and they have been there for a number of years now. I have no doubt that they are free from TB and therefore would have no plans to cull them.

Those that live and work in the countryside know that wildlife along with all the other factors has an important role to play in the spread of this terrible disease, and whilst succesive ministers have passed rules and regulations that address cattle to cattle transfer, at last we have one with the balls to address the wildlife problem. Congratulations to Jim Paice for a bit of common sense, it's a rare quality in a politician."

Hat-tip to the Bovine TB blog for that one - an excellent blog and well worth a read if you want facts not histrionics.

And if you're reading up around the subject, Geoffrey Lean posted a good summary of the situation here on his Telegraph blog.


Sooty said...

Thank goodness someone has the balls to tackle this disease as vaccine would be a very good way in the future but could be a decade away.What a very good blog James especially providing links.Thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That had it all. Straw man, Ad hominem attacks, loaded language, non sequiturs. I'm one call away from full house in my game of logical-fallacy/rhetoric bingo. If only you'd made a reference to "common sense" somewhere... oh wait you did! Bingo!

Congratulations. Your even-handed tone, unhysterical delivery and unswerving dedication to serving up the "facts" rural-style will be a positive boon to whatever far right organisation is recruiting in your neck of the woods.

Best of luck to your in your future animal-maiming endeavours!

p.s. When I read your post, it helped to imagine it being read by Captain Mainwaring from Dad's Army. It made the whole thing seem rather jolly in gently unhinged kind of way, rather than the harrowing mental disentegration of an aged ODESSA member it most resembles. Don't worry though, I'll not say a squeak to Simon Wiesenthal's people. Your secrets safe with me ;-)

James Marchington said...

Yes very clever anon, but how exactly does that align me with the far right? There's this odd assumption that anyone in favour of wildlife management and/or shooting is some sort of fascist. Or is that just a general insult that you throw at anyone you don't like?

Sooty said...

Think Anon is a bit over the top James.I had to guess at what he/she meant.Think if you disagree with someone Anon ought to manage to do it without being so rude.Sadly it seems to make him/her look a bit silly.

vicky said...

Badger culling is complicated and emotive. Culling diseased badgers and keeping populations at healthy numbers can help stop the spread of disease BUT culling healthy setts will increase the spread of disease. I fail to see why farmers and land owners can be trusted to control foxes, but not badgers.
Culling badgers is not a miracle cure for BTb; there are important changes farmers can make in husbandry, farm boundary issues, issues of shared water courses, food storgae and general hrd health but Anon, why should culling not be part of a managed approach? Vaccination of vectors (badgers) would help a lot, it helps control rabies abroad, but as Sooty says, the technology is years off and BTb is a problem now. Vaccinating the cattle would be even better, but again technology to cheaply/easily detect animals affected by or carrying BTb from vaccinated animals is not yet possible, or is blocked by governemnt.

James Marchington said...

The anti-cull lobby have repeated the 'peturbation' argument so many times that it's taken as accepted. But: "The Krebs trial was badly designed, poorly implemented and hugely disrupted by animal rights groups; unsurprisingly it demonstrated very little." (See comments section here).

Anonymous said...

Oh, you silly sausage! You misunderstand me. I don't assume that being a wildlife/shooting enthusiast makes you a fascist. No right thinking person would ever make that connection. I was referring instead to the general tone of mocking demagoguery in your blog post which put me in mind of a Nazi orator. (The Nazi's were the main 'baddies' in the sequel to World War One). In fact, if you're a fan of Adolf Hitler's speeches you'll notice you've really nailed his structure, tone and content. Start off down-key and faux-maudlin, lamenting the mewling of the liberal press and subversive organisations that strangle the vigour of our great nation. Then introduce some villains, pointing out their mawkish sentimentality or subtle trickery in the dark arts of rhetoric (which stand of course in stark contrast to your own good old fashioned plain speaking), remembering to sprinkle in some wantonly technical term like FOG Index to demonstrate that you're on the side of rationality and science. Finally, sensing your audience shifting uneasily in their seats, introduce the hero of the piece, the redeeming figure of the farmer, the "volkish" horny handed son of the soil, whose instinctive intuition for rightness will save us all from the excesses of the decadent liberal untermensch. Tell us of his travails and hardships and let his own words relate what we already know in our hearts know is the truth: those badgers must be shipped off in rolling stock to death camps or all of Europe will be consumed! Epic stuff sir. Bravo! Almost like the fuhrer himself was channelling his spirit via A.A. Gill.

Oh and please don't let my gentle ribbing give you the impression I dislike you sir. I think eccentric muckraking of your sort really adds colour to the vibrant tapestry of our land. Our country would be a duller place without lone wingnuts shaking their fists at progress and railing at political correctness gone mad. The venerable tradition of a senescent country gent muttering darkly about the forces of modernity is a long and treasured one, I and shall not be one to cast aspersions upon it.

All the best with the Jim Paice badger genocide thingy. I'm sure it'll be an absolute hoot.



p.s. I've really come a cropper with my repeated infractions of Godwin's Law in this communique. I'll be banned from the interwebs at this rate

James Marchington said...

Ah, ok, so in brief, cull = genocide, shooter = nazi.

Nice writing though. You should have a go at a rabbiting story for the magazine.

Sooty said...

Would like to bet if Anon had a herd slaughtered because Badgers had infected it with T B he would change his mind.Don't know anything about him but those with nothing to lose always have all the answers.A serious designed cull with good boundaries like rivers will always work.If Anon is so serious about what he says why doesn't he campaign against vehicles as they cull far more than farmers ever want to.Has he taken the trouble to read the Bovine T B blog and how does he think letting infected Badgers infect more Badgers is good for Badgers.Think for all his educational intellectual ramblings he needs a dose of common sense and some respect for you would not be amiss either.

Meconopsis said...

Lets forget the TB side of the Badger argument just now. There are far to many in most areas. Noticeable drops in Hedgehogs, Bumble bees and all ground nesting birds are all down to this seriously out of control pest.

Anonymous said...

Hello Sooty,

Thanks for playing. I'm not sure I'm possessed of the mental faculties to climb the sheer edifice of irrefutable logic you've set me here, but I'm a game chap so I'm willing to give it a go.

1. If I had a herd slaughtered because Badgers had infected it with TB I would change my mind. You were willing to bet on this outcome.

Crikey. This will be quite a complicated bet to set up, requiring me as it does to acquire a herd of cattle and wait around till they get infected. I suppose I could deliberately infect them with some infected badgers I collected beforehand, but I'm guessing that would be illegal and would (in my eyes) get the badgers off the hook given that I'd caused the whole kerfuffle in the first place. In fact, if you think about it, me purchasing and owning a large herd of cattle would normally place a large incentive on me keeping my cattle alive at all costs, but since I get a jackpot if I let them all die and win the bet, it rather comes down to the cost of the cattle versus the size of the bet. You have to admit, this is a quite unedifyingly venal cost-benefit analysis. For a start, unless we assigned some monetary value to the badgers they're always going to find it difficult to represent their vested interests in wagers of this kind. Besides, I've been in touch with William Hill and they're just not interested.

2. You don't know anything about me but those with nothing to lose always have all the answers.

Leaving aside the intriguing mysteries of who we both might be, are people more ready to offer solutions to problems they have no personal stake in? I don't have any specific hard data on this Sooty, but once we've set up the double blind, randomised study to find the answer to this challenging socio-psychological hypothesis, I'd like to suggest a pair of follow-up studies namely : "Are those with a vested financial interest more likely to choose the easiest option to protect their investment?" and "When badgers are shot, does anyone lose anything, including the badgers"?

3. A serious designed cull with good boundaries like rivers will always work.

Crivens. That's the most concise summarised interpretation of Krebs RBCT I've ever read, if that's your intention here. A few questions though. What do you mean by work? Eliminate all bovine TB forever, or just make some decrease in cases? How "serious" does this design have to be to achieve it's stated goals? More importantly, how much will it cost and what will the secondary effects of such a cull be, especially for those who do not directly benefit from it? Also, are there any alternatives to the cull which might achieve the same ends. How much might they cost and how effective are they? These are all complicated questions and deserve some serious thought. I'd hate for example, to make a statement as sweeping, unqualified and dogmatic as "a serious designed cull can never work". I might come across as someone who is little bit out of their depth who hopes that pure strength of unearned conviction can get them by.


Anonymous said...

4. If I'm serious about what I'm saying why don't I campaign against vehicles as they cull far more than farmers ever want to?

Well, first of all you'll notice that I made no positive statements in my previous posts regarding my personal stance on badger preservation policy and instead just indulged in some rather juvenile satire of James's original post (which, to his credit, he seemed to take quite in his stride).

If I was being particularly mischievous though, I might venture that cattle are killed by more than a single cause too and you might also want to campaign equally robustly for solutions to mastitis, lameness and the like before reaching for the shotgun. However, if you think I have overstepped the mark with respect to mischievousness, then please ignore my last remark and accept my sincere and heartfelt apologies.

5. Have I taken the trouble to read the Bovine T B blog and how does I think letting infected Badgers infect more Badgers is good for Badgers?

Ah, finally some easy ones. Firstly, yes I have read that blog. I do make a note to try and read blogs with view points I might normally oppose so as to get a more balanced view of the subject, or sometimes, as in this case, just to poke fun for the sheer devilment of it. Secondly I don't think letting infected badgers infect more badgers is good for badgers, just as I oppose the spread of TB in humans. I think a prescription of death by shotgun should not be the first resort for either species. At this point I think it's worth asking for some clarification on your peculiar and persistent capitalization of the word "Badger". I do hope we're both referring to the omnivorous sett-dwelling mammal of the species Meles meles. If in fact you've been describing some individual or a whole family of humans with the surname Badger, then I'm afraid we have been arguing at cross purposes. If this is indeed the case, your proposal to have these hapless people shot by licensed farmers is one that I also take an extremely dim view of.

6. You think that for all my educational intellectual ramblings I need a dose of common sense and some respect for would not be amiss either.

Let me thank you for classifying my ramblings in the category of "intellectual". My mother, who suspected I would never amount to anything, would be gladdened to hear that an adversary as erudite and subtle as yourself had accorded me such a lofty accolade. Furthermore, I have never been employed in any capacity as an educator, so I can only express my delight that you found some educational value in this edifying exchange of views. You are most kind.

As for my perceived deficit in common sense, I'm afraid I've always regarded this commodity as rather over-rated, seeming to me to equate to a slavish adherence to the prevailing consensus of the day without recourse to evidence or reason. (e.g. That witches flew on broomsticks and demons caused illness was common sense in medieval Europe). In any case, I suspect that your definition of "common sense "in this context is "believing the things that I believe in", so given our obvious disagreements on the topic under advisement, I must regard the recommendation for such a "dose" as warily as I might an ebola enema.

My respect for James and his crusading blog remains undiminished. He might turn out to be the greatest hero who ever lived. Or the eastern front might collapse, causing him to cede authority to Admiral Dönitz before the pesky communists get him. Only time will tell.

Wishing you a lovely evening.


Sooty said...

How interesting Anon,anything connected with clearing Bovine T B will be expensive,just look at the compensation cost each year and escalating.My own view is simple and is that in the long term a cull that worked and hidden away in several previous reports there is evidence from other country's as well as close to home that a well designed cull does work,the biggest winner would be a clean Badger population and while I do have a job to follow much of what you say I feel sure that you think that is something worth obtaining.Don't know if I have previously put on here but did have a clean herd with obviously a clean Badger Sett on the farm all my working life and because over the years culls have been stopped by well meaning but I think people who had very little knowledge of Badgers,the Badgers on this farm are increasingly at risk as the disease gets closer and closer which is upsetting for us and it seems only a short time before they become infected then infecting the cattle with the whole circle going round and round

Anonymous said...

Hi again Sooty,

Glad you found my reply interesting, containing as it did a point by point dissection of your previous post. Unless of course that was sarcasm, in which case I find myself saddened that you are unable to maintain interest in the minutiae which underpin a very tricky subject that would seem to directly affect you. In fact, if I'm honest, I'm a little bit disappointed that none of my points seemed to have registered at all with you and that you seem to allude to not being able to follow them. To me that would seem a good indication that you're not well equipped to continue the debate. Apologies if this comes across as uncharitable. I think this subject is a good deal more complicated than you give credit, and simply stating that you think it's simple does not make it so.

Despite an engulfing sense of futility I feel duty bound to address your points, although the evidence of last time is that you'll just ignore any valid points I make and launch anew with a fresh batch of unsupported assertions. With this in mind I'll try to directly address your points and waste less time with smart-arsed flippancy. I'm not sure you appreciated the jokes anyway.

1. Yes, addressing TB is expensive. Cost of cattle slaughter is not the only important figure though. Reports/studies on bovine TB attempt to weigh cost/effectiveness of a cull/vaccination/other against the cost of cattle slaughter. The devil is in the detail of these cost/effectiveness studies. If a candidate TB measure doesn't work well enough or will cost too much, then the proposal to carry it out must be questioned. Crucially, other non-monetary costs come into play (lives of badgers/cattle, concerns of wildlife organisations) and they have to be weighed, somehow, against the sums of money involved. This is the process by which a cull will be sanctioned or not. The arguments of DEFRA's recent cull proposal are couched in precisely these terms. I don't think any of this is controversial in the least. Do you?

2. You believe you know of a single study which definitively proves the case for an effective cull. Excellent. Start by citing it. (i.e. who wrote it, what journal/report it is in) Secondly, given that there are other studies whose results indicate the ineffectiveness of a cull, please state what about your favoured study (e.g. experimental methodology/execution/conclusions/peer review process) marks it out as the one to trust over all the others. In a subject area that contains conflicting studies, it's not good enough to simply pick the one that supports your favoured conclusion. We call that "cherry picking". I'm not trying to be mean here. If you really have such a study that has been ignored despite it's impeccable scientific credentials, then you'll have contributed by bringing it to light. I'm a scientist by training and care enough about the scientific method to see good research trump bad research, no matter what my position on badger preservation. I'm not *that* entrenched. Can you say the same?

3. You also know of other studies of similar culls conducted in other countries which would support the case for a cull here. Again, well done. Cite these studies, paying particular attention to how the situations in those studies are similar to or differ from the situation here (species culled, environment, farming methods, geography etc) This might all seem like a bit of fussy faff, but if you want to have a cast iron case, these are the boring steps you have to go through. These are precisely the steps I find myself going through in responding to the current DEFRA cull consultation, which as a direct stake holder in the situation, I presume you will be responding to in the same exacting manner.


Anonymous said...

4. I am sympathetic and receptive to your personal experience of having badgers and cattle colocated on your land. However, in the wider context of deciding a national response to bovine TB, scientists have traditionally been very reluctant to permit individual testimonials as valid data. So called "anecdotal evidence" is not totally without merit, but lacks the requisite scientific rigour and is too likely to contain biases to contribute in a formal way to a study. This is not to downplay your expertise and experience for one second, but if you want the formal stamp of a solid scientific case on your side you have to play by its uniformly strict rules. Please see here to see why I'm not just being a pedantic old so and so about this

Out of morbid curiosity, I have to try and ask again (it's like a mouth ulcer you just can't help prodding with your tongue): what's with the capitalization of "Badger"? Every time I read your posts I'm convinced you're talking about a poor family with the surname "Badger" you seem to think are infected with TB and are threatening your cattle. I don't want to be a spelling/grammar nazi (I'm no great shakes myself) but you must admit that capitalizing "Badger" in the middle of sentence makes it for all the world seem like a proper noun, thereby injecting a somewhat surreal air into your posts.

Apologies to all for the increasing pedantry and lack of good humour in my reponses. I am but human.


James Marchington said...

Anon, I suspect this is more about enjoying the sound of your own voice, but if you do want to review the scientific background it is well explained at - there's no need to repeat it all here.
I find this post, and the graph it contains, particularly compelling, and rather more apposite than any debate about the capitalisation of Badger.
Since you appear to have some knowledge of the subject, are you going to come clean about your identity and background?

Anonymous said...

Hullo again,

Sorry for the delay in replying. Had a long weekend in the Lake District. It was lovely thanks.

Where were we? Oh yeah. Me liking the sound of my own voice hinted James. Can't really argue with that I'm afraid. Guilty as charged. My own vanity leads me to constantly spout off with half-baked opinions and vacuous arguments all over the place. If my rampant narcissism continues unabated, I might even have to start writing my own blog. Lets hope it doesn't come to that eh?

As for the graph. Ooh! Sciencey! Let's see: bovine TB increasing, good correlation with ban on badger culling, therefore the lack of badger culling is causing the sharp increase in bovine TB cases. Compelling.

Is it as compelling as this graph though?

As you can see, the decrease in the number of pirates playing havoc in the south seas has a direct correlation with the global average temperature. Gasp! Is the vanishing number of pirates *causing* global warming? Should we conclude that unless more of us adopt a Robert Newton accent and set sail from Portsmouth to terrorise the Caribbean, an environmental catastrophe is imminent?

No. Let's not. Let's instead examine the logical fallacy that states "Correlation does not imply causation" ( Scientists and statisticians are very wary of jumping to the conclusion that if variable x has a correlation with variable y, then x *caused* y. In science, if you want to be prove that x is likely to cause y, then you have to go out of your way asking "is there anything else, apart from x, that could cause y". If you want to get things right in science, you have to spin multiple hypotheses to explain your observations, and not just plump for the first one that seems most "compelling" to you.

In the case of our "decrease in badger cullings causes a bovine TB increase" hypothesis, apart from the badger culling ban, has everything else in cattle farming stayed *exactly* the same since the early 1970's? I'd reckon not. Here's a few things of the top of my head I'd want to look at to put the graph into context:

a) Total number of cattle
b) Any changes in farming methods (herd size for example)
c) Any large fluctuations in cattle movement due to restocking
d) Changes in TB testing policy.
e) Changes in TB in testing execution (the number of overdue TB tests is an interesting indicator for example)

This page here offers some different hypotheses for the recent bovine TB increase. Just to be clear, I'm not saying I'm saying that these hypotheses are definitely true, or that the hypothesis that states the ban on badger culling is solely responsible is definitely untrue. I'm just not sufficiently convinced, given the multiple variables at play here, that a single correlation that holds for a specific timeframe (the graph you point to slyly omits the lack of correlation prior to 1970) is enough to prove the case definitely for a badger cull at the time of writing. Sorry.

Also, you're curious as to who I am. I was an academic with a background in computational statistics as applied to the medical domain. I now work in the private sector in a wholly unrelated area. I have a membership subscription to the Wildlife Trust but otherwise no facilitation with any bodies conducting research or deciding policy pertaining to bovine TB. In my spare time I enjoy wearing hats and the music of Charlie Parker. I hope none of this seems frightfully subversive to you. I dearly crave the soft, bosom-like embrace of your acceptance.



James Marchington said...

Well that's it then. Badgers have absolutely no connection with TB, which is caused by global warming and pirates. Better tell Defra quick before they waste any more taxpayers' money on this.

vicky said...

over 6000 pirates were recently sighted on the Hastings Coast. Is an ice age imminent?

True, you can link anything to anything and make up silly statistics (The Daily Mail has many excellent daily examples of this) and you could probably draw a graph showing BTb has increased with increasing herd size and intestification too.....and there is probably a real link here too which farmers should not ignore as they plan giant zero grazing enterprises (cow still at risk as grass covered in badger pee is cut and brought in to them). Like it or not 'Anon' it has been dediced to give badger culling another go as nothing else is helping us get on top of TB. I'm sure the government will collect data as it always does and come to some conclusion about if it helped or not. The badger won't die out, TB probably won't die out either But what else do you suggest the farming community try? Homoeopathy?

James Marchington said...

If a single graph suggesting a correlation was the only evidence, then Anon would have a point.

But he/she is very good at picking on a single statement, setting it up and then knocking it down again at tiresome length, never using one word where 10 will do - creating the illusion of having won an argument, or just boring everyone into submission.

No doubt he/she even has a fancy name for this tactic and can refer us to a wikipedia page.

Anon, since you clearly have a lot of time on your hands, I'd be interested to see your analysis of the ramblings of Douglas Batchelor on his LACS blog. At times he appears to be barking mad, but I wonder if it is really a carefully constructed logical argument, employing the sort of methods you seem familiar with?

Anonymous said...

I guess you're calling me a sophist (

If so, well done for knowing the term (or at least knowing someone who does).

Seriously James, if you're not interested in any more debate on this subject (or any of my brand of debate, which I concur errs on the pedantic, verbose side) I'll sling my hook and call it no hard feelings.

If you're really interested in my opinion on Douglas Batchelor (I'd not heard of him or until you mentioned him) I could have a go and get back to you. If you'd rather do that by private correspondence I'm amenable to that too. I might come across as a bit combative, but I really am willing to listen to your point of view.

My genuine warm regards


Sooty said...

Well at last something I can happily give my full backing to.Anon says he may have to start his own blog.Oh lord you answered my prayers.

James Marchington said...

Anon, well I've learnt a new word today - so thanks for that.
I've never been one to enjoy debate for its own sake; my job is mostly about cutting through hyperbole and smokescreens to get to the facts. That includes seeing past the use/misuse of science to support an argument or point of view.
Whether it's badgers, global warming or the effects of smoking, different groups come at it with their own agendas, all invoking science to support their cause - when really they're all about manipulating perception.
Here's an interesting post on cognitive dissonance.
We all do it - pro and anti alike. The big difference, to my mind, is that shooters just want to be left alone to do what they believe is right; the antis want to impose their beliefs on everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Hi James,

Funnily enough, debunking pseudoscience is my number one interest too and the cause I do the most active campaigning for (I'm what is commonly called a "skeptic"). Public understanding of science and the scientific method is at a very low ebb, with all wings so the media doing a terrible job of correctly understanding and conveying science news (See here for an excellent parody of the average mainstream science story).

You're correct in stating that cognitive dissonance is a very powerful psychological effect in these kind of partisan, heavily entrenched debates. It takes a special leap of open-mindedness to cast aside cherished beliefs if the evidence clearly points the other way. The late Carl Sagan described science, at it's very best, as the essential tension between open-mindedness and critical thinking. You need an open mind to take on new, unfamiliar ideas, but also critical thinking to allow you to sort the wheat from the chaff. I've heard it also paraphrased: if you're *too* open-minded, your brain falls out ;-)

Quite often, the mental toolkit required for critical thinking and the scientific method can seem very fussy, pedantic and in some cases counter-intuitive. I hope you can entertain that in my case, rather than out and out win-at-all costs sophistry, some of my more infuriating behaviours are just a manifestation of my commitment to the tenets of critical thinking and calling people out when I think an error of logic or an abuse of rhetoric has been committed. If you can see where I'm coming from, you might be interested in this:

Of course, the other problem with debunking scientific claims is that sometimes, apart from pointing out obvious experimental error and false conclusions, you actually have to do some *more* science to prove a counterclaim. This is obviously quite difficult for the average member of the public, and probably not what the farming community want to here with the TB incidence rates being what they are.

Anyway, thanks for continuing to publish my responses, unabridged and unedited as they are too. You're not obliged to do so, so despite our differences in opinion, this speaks to your desire for an honest and open debate.

Best regards


vicky said... to draw any conclusions about anything outside of the lab with all variables controlled?

If the cull goes ahead and if BTb levels drops with no other major changes in farming practice can we presume some correlation? And I'm sure even ardent badger haters will have to hink again if the cull reduced numbers, reduces andering, increases badger health but does not drop BTb levels