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Bovine TB issue is putting dairy and beef farms at risk, says National Farmers' Union

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: April 17, 2014

By Richard Howe, North Devon Journal farming correspondent

Bovine TB: Badgers and TB in cattle message from the Government is putting dairy and beef farms at risk.

Badgers and TB in cattle message from the Government could be putting dairy and beef farms at risk.

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FEARS for the beef and dairy farms of North Devon and the South West have been rekindled by the Government's latest message on badgers and TB in cattle.

And there are concerns the decision to abandon any extension of the badger cull was made purely to avoid losing votes in next year's election.

The farming minister, George Eustice, admitted to the Journal that the Government knows only too well that killing badgers is unpopular. The pro-badger lobby has gathered many thousands of signatures to try to stop any further cull. It's a lobby which is bound to raise alarm for the coalition as it estimates its chances of getting back into government.

North Devon's farmers feel it's time the Government supported their efforts to produce food for the nation.

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The National Farmers' Union president, Meurig Raymond, said: "I want to thank those that helped manage and deliver these important badger cull pilots. They were the first time controlled shooting of badgers was used as a culling method and they were to test the humaneness, safety and effectiveness of this method.

"As pilots, there was always going to be the potential to make improvements as a result of knowledge gained. They have helped to gain a greater understanding of how we can tackle the wildlife element of this terrible disease cycle.

"Importantly, the Independent Expert Panel has found this method of culling badgers by controlled shooting can be safe with best practice followed."

Braunton NFU member and beef and sheep farmer, Richard Dyer, put the thoughts of many livestock farmers into words: "The pro-badger lobby has a loud voice and it's a disaster.

"Would people rather have local food, farm assured, or something imported that includes horsemeat?

"We're talking about food security here.

"The food we produce isn't full of steroids and antibiotics, but you've no idea what is coming in with imported stuff.

"If the issue with badgers isn't sorted out it will put into question the whole beef and dairy industry."

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6 comments

  • NicoleWarren  |  April 18 2014, 9:04AM

    The Tory Government only gave farmers 'a carrot' in the form of a badger cull to secure their votes. Ironic, isn't it?

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  • barney2  |  April 17 2014, 9:56PM

    It must have been a big disappointment for the pro cullers to find that the British public are more intelligent than they would like them to be and not taken in by their propaganda. Now the BVA are not happy, they have said will no longer support the cull unless it is more humane. Those of us with fully functional brains knew before it started that it would not be humane but some do not care they just want badgers wiped out and don't care how it is done. You have to wonder if there is another reason Paterson and the NFU want badgers wiped out because all the scientific experts tell us that it will not help reduce TB numbers in cattle.

    Rate   12
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  • EJANDODIN  |  April 17 2014, 2:32PM

    NFU, it really is simple. Stop blaming badgers and follow the Welsh example and Bovine TB will be vastly reduced. Badgers have friends and those friends have votes.

    Rate   16
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  • groundnut  |  April 17 2014, 1:33PM

    It really is time that the Politics of Paterson and the NFU was stopped. By bypassing evidence as irrelevant, the regular statements by George Eustace and the almost Mandatory NFU spokesperson are preventing progress. Some 0.3% of Cattle are slaughtered as BOVINE TB positive, but the present test is ineffective, missing 1 in 5 infected Cattle. All of this is well known to Owen Paterson, who continues to point to other Countries using the same test methods. And pointing out "what is good for them, should be god enough for the UK " The Politics needs to stop—everyone without exception is now aware of its depth. And its damaging effect on a comprehensive Humane Science based programme. Do any of those on the Killing Badgers route, actually have any up to date evidence of how many Badgers killed were TB infected? If not why NOT? Or is this programme about killing Badgers, not the eradication of BOVINE TB. The president of the NFU recently visited a Dorset Farmer who had recently had some 31 of his Cattle test positive. But this same Farmer had also had a series of TB failures over recent years. The Press pictures seemed to indicate NO bio security in place around his cattle pens. I attach another recent news article from an MP who asked Paterson in the HOC a question on testing, the reply says it all. -------- Science is needed to be funded and Fast tracked. The Politics of unanswered questions sums up the present approach. But to continue down the same road in Glos.and Somerset identifies politics and incompetence, as well as a bypass of Scientific understanding. http://tinyurl.com/po6cwzd

    Rate   18
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  • newactivist  |  April 17 2014, 12:06PM

    The Bovine TB Eradication Strategy shows that Defra admit that up to 21% of herds may still be carrying infection when movement restrictions are lifted and that up to 50% of recurrent breakdowns could be due to infection missed by the current testing regime... But they're only "considering" to fund research into new tests... If up to half the herd breakdowns are due to infected cattle missed by the current test, why isn't research into a more efficient test the priority? PCR is available now, IFN-gamma has been around for ages (but not routinely used)... It'll take more than 25 years to become TB Free if they don't sort this out now... Farmers have been conned by the NFU and a Government that has vested interests in killing badgers rather than tackling the real issues.

    Rate   21
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  • dianebartlet  |  April 17 2014, 11:38AM

    What a total load of rubbish, the reason for BOVINE TB is totally down to the farmer and how he farms take a look at this farmer http://tinyurl.com/nj2rkzl He wouldn't agree with your scare mongering, farmers have fail on Biosecurity and cattle movement and they are trying to push the blame onto wildlife. I have always eaten meat and dairy but have learnt a lot due to this Badger Cull, I for one will lobby against eating meat and dairy as long as the NFU kept telling lies about wildlife! So many tests have been done on badgers that have been found the side of the road knock down by a car, recently 29 badgers tested by scientists put in place by NFU to find only one Badger showed signs of carrying the disease and that was debatable! Only recently diseased cattle from Cumbria were transported all over the country, NFU and this government needs to wake up to what they already know, people are turning against eating meat as TB infected meat is being sent through the food chain, who knows what this will bring! One thing I do know is if people get TB it will because of poor farming procedures!

    Rate   20
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