Nicola Davies wrote:

Hi Brian,

I read an article in Country Living magazine (April ‘12) by Dick Roper who manages a 3,500 acre organic beef farm in the TB hotspot of the Cotswolds. He asks “Why are badgers so sick?” His research suggests that badgers began getting sick when ‘nutritionally deficient’ maize was introduced in the south west as cattle fodder in the 80’s. Farmers feed supplements to their cattle, but believe the badgers suffered weakened immune systems by eating large quantities this maize.

Since 2000 Dick Roper cleared his fields of maize and started placing fortified molasses blocks around the estate, which in effect gave the badgers a mineral supplement. His estate became TB free, apart from the odd case when his cattle returned from summer grazing at a farm seven miles away. It seems logical, if you keep healthy badgers on your land, they will keep other possibly infected badgers out.

I believe vaccination is the only way forward to protect the interests of wildlife, cattle and farmers, but meanwhile if all farmers could take the approach of supplemental feeding of their badgers, who knows what positive results could be achieved at relatively little cost.

Keep up the good work.

Best Wishes,
Nicola Davies

Brian replied:

Many thanks for writing, Nicola. You’re not alone in believing that nutrition is a major factor which is being ignored in this debate.

The NFU leaders poo-poo all this, of course, with a dismissive smile. So it’s not going to affect the agenda of the Government.

I think there is a lot of truth in these theories, and so do the experts. Both nutrition and stress can hugely affect the immune system of any animal, and therefore its vulnerability to diseases like bTB.

But those who are pushing the cull are not remotely interested. Both the Government and the NFU are deaf to any solution that stops them killing badgers.

They just want ‘revenge’ on Mr Brock.

And Mr Brock did not start this.