Brian talks Badger Cull with Owen Paterson & Peter Kendall



Brian talks about the badger cull with Owen Paterson and Peter Kendall

Brian comments on the badger cull 28th August 2013


It’s a beautiful day today our here in the countryside.  It’s sunny  – beautiful August day but today is a day of tragedy because tonight, it’s rumoured, that the first shots will be fired against those badgers in Somerset and Gloucestershire, and our Government Ministers and the heads of the National Farmer’s Union have been out there on TV facing the camera, trying to persuade you that this is the thing we should be doing.

I’d like you to look at what Peter Kendall said – an attempt to justify killing thousand and thousands of innocent and mostly healthy badgers.  Here he is.  This is Peter Kendall.

“I’ve sat round countless kitchen tables of farming families, who have lost not just their life time’s work, but their previous generation’s life time’s work, and they can see what’s happened.  Where Government’s have been prepared to grasp the nettle, whether it’s Australia, New Zealand, The Republic of Ireland.  They’ve see in New Zealand almost TB eradicated in cattle, in Ireland a dramatic decline in TB in cattle because their Governments have been prepared to tackle all the potential elements of TB spread and not just put restrictions on cattle.  Not one bit of panic about this.  This is a very carefully thought out policy that is being tested in these two pilots, to give a glimmer of hope to those desperate families who are seeing cattle slaughtered.  38,000, and I make no apology for reappearing that, 38,000 cattle were killed last year because we failed to look at the reservoir in wildlife. “

It’s quite an incredible claim to make and absolutely untrue, even if we believe the claims of the NFU and the Government that this can make a 16% difference over ten years.  That’s nothing compared to the whole problem – the other 84% is untouched.  And to suggest that badgers are responsible for 34,000 cattle being killed last year is absolutely mendacious and outrageous.  This is NOT a choice between killing cows and killing badgers.  Cows should never have been killed in the first place.  This thing should never have been allowed to get out of control.  Farming allowed it to get out of control.  Farming allowed the infection to leak into wildlife, and instead of trying to cure the wildlife, they now want to kill the wildlife.  It’s quite incredible and it’s shameful and disgusting.

Let’s have a look now at what Owen Paterson said today.  He’s the Minister of the Environment:

“What’s absolutely clear to me is – I’ve been to America, seen what they’ve done there – Australia, New Zealand, as I’ve just said, Ireland.  We are the only country with a significant problem of disease in cattle and in wildlife that has only addressed the disease in cattle.  So, like all those other countries, we have very tough cattle movement controls, we’ve slaughtered huge numbers of cattle – we’ve slaughtered over 305,000 cattle in the last ten years, but we haven’t touched the wildlife.  As a result, this disease is rapidly getting out of control.  Currently there’s no effective or legal cattle vaccine.  We’ve agreed a programme with the European Commission – that’s going to take at least ten years – and they’ve praised us for being further ahead than most countries.”

BRIAN:  This is unfortunately a red herring.  You know, Paterson is obviously reading from more or less the same hymn book as Peter Kendall, talking about other countries, which is not true, and the fact that, you know, the European Commission is congratulating us kind of makes all of us smile, I think, because you know the view of England in Europe is very bad.  We have a TB problem unlike any place in Europe because successive governments and successive NFU leaders have failed to approach the problem as has been advised by Europe.

… animals… because they continue to spread the disease.  There is a role for badger vaccine once we’ve got the reservoir of disease down, and that’s what we intend.”

He actually says there is a role for vaccination once we get the reservoir down.  It’s utter rubbish.  This is not the way to go it.  You do not cull and then vaccinate.  It’s a nonsense, and it;s quite incredible what these people can get away with saying it.  Ask Lord Krebbs what the truth is, who spent 11 years researching this topic, and the conclusion of Lord Krebbs and the RBCT was culling badgers CAN NOT meaningfully contribute to the control of bovine TB in cattle.  But the Government is not listening.

There is a badger vaccine but is pointless vaccinating existing, diseased animals.

This kind of argument, if it were valid, could be used against using BCG in humans.  You know, if people had said this at the time, then we would have never vaccinated and presumably TB in humans would be rife right now.  It’s a fallacious argument and what it means is, yes, actually you can vaccinate diseased animals, but basically you try to vaccinate across the board and what happens is it doesn’t matter if some of them are diseased.  What happens is you get a herd immunity if you persist in vaccinating a certain proportion of them, and that is exactly what we did with humans.  That’s what we did with our children and that’s what we should be doing with our badgers.  Even if you killed every badger in the UK, or even if you managed to vaccinate them all and get rid of TB in badgers, you would still have the problem in farming and, contrary to what these people are saying, you cannot mix these tools in the box.  You cannot mix culling badgers with vaccination.  It doesn’t work.  It’s been shown time and time again that this is not true.  Vaccination works on a stable population.  You are destabilising the population by culling.  This is a wild goose chase.  This is plan of action which cannot possibly work.