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Thread: Badger Cull Petition

  1. #1
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    Default Badger Cull Petition

    I am not going to get on my soapbox on this.

    But if you are against the culling of 70% of badgers (in some areas)

    A link to Team Badger and Gov e-petition

    http://www.teambadger.org/

    Team badger is a coalition of organisations that are fighting the cull as one.

    130,165 have signed already.
    Ratty (Russ)

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    already done my friend

    R
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    Before I sign - why are they culling them? I don't know anything about badgers, I assume there is a reason they want to cull them rather than because they are there?
    Hang onto your paddle. And if you hit any rocks, don't hit 'em with your head.

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    They spread tb to cattle.

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    TB, it's thought that cattle get TB from badgers, go figure.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlesurfer View Post
    Before I sign - why are they culling them? I don't know anything about badgers, I assume there is a reason they want to cull them rather than because they are there?
    You must've been our paddling too much recently. It's all about the cows - Bovine TB. I'm not sure if it's proven or not. I'm clueless and staying out of the whole debate.

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    It's now proven.I dont want to get involved in the fors and againsts but,the farmer that I rent my workshop from never ever had an infected cow,Badgers moved onto his ground and suddenly he's having cattle destroyed because they have TB.I love seeing Badgers around always have.

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    When I was a kid in the 70's you never saw badgers, I remember a teacher bringing a road kill badger into the Junior school so we could have a look at one, the whole school lined up and filed past to have a look such was their rariety (werid I know). These days on the 200 mile trip to Devon I regularly make down the A303 there are numerous road kill badgers all along the route, I suspect that their numbers have escalated considerably in the last thirty years, which makes me think their TB infecting potential has increased as well

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    The Team Badger link will explain it far better than I can.

    But basically badgers have been repeatedly culled and have had no benificeal effect on TB in catttle infact it made it worse in unculled areas.
    Badgers do carry bovine TB so do deer sheep pigs cats and dogs
    70 % of the badgers in any trial area must be slaughtered.
    Each trial area must be at least 150 sq.km

    Browse the link it will give you a better info than I can give.
    Ratty (Russ)

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    Signed...... just a pity the government are not willing to spend the money to vacinate the cattle, much cheaper to kill the badgers.......
    Last edited by TheOldHobbit; 27th-September-2012 at 08:50 PM.

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    Signed, thanks for the link

    Elaine

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    Like politics and religion I suspect this is a subject that can only devide us, however, I'll leave it open for the moment but keep an eye on it.

    that said I am curious about this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ratty View Post
    But basically badgers have been repeatedly culled and have had no benificeal effect on TB in catttle infact it made it worse in unculled areas.
    i have never heard of a previous badger cull. Certainly not in recent times. My understanding is this was the trial areas now?

    Also are badger numbers in any way dangerously low? Will the cull threaten their chances of survival and if not what is the difference between this and controlling foxes, crows, pigeons etc.

    And a question for the meat eaters. You have a choice of two burgers one from a badger friendly farm which may have TB but we are assured it cannot be transferred to humans or one from a farm where the badgers are controlled and the cattle are TB free. Which would you choose?
    John

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    And to think, all this for a product (milk) that is totally un-natural for humans (human milk is natural for infant humans, no milk is natural for adult humans).
    Guess the milk marketing board has done a good job conning us all over the years.

    I'd rather have the badgers........

    signed.

    TB
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    Where is the petition to hunt badgers to extinction? If they were hunted to extinction, we could prove this once and for all one way or the other.

    Then we can start a reintroduction petition...
    Lloyd

    Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug...


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    Nature as usual has to pay the price for human needs.

    The areas that culling will be allowed.

    Area 1
    Near Tiverton
    Taunton
    Bridgewater
    Up to near Weston super Mare

    Area 2
    Chepstow
    Gloucester
    Cheltenham
    Worcester
    Wye Valley
    Reditch
    Stratford on Avon

    A map is here
    http://www.teambadger.org/the_cull.html
    Ratty (Russ)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiKelly View Post
    ...............................................
    i have never heard of a previous badger cull. Certainly not in recent times. My understanding is this was the trial areas now?

    Also are badger numbers in any way dangerously low? Will the cull threaten their chances of survival and if not what is the difference between this and controlling foxes, crows, pigeons etc.
    ....................................(edited quote)
    ?
    There have been a few trials recently to test the theory that culling badgers decreases TB in cattle.

    There does seem to be a genuine disagreement from the scientists about the effectiveness of culling.

    The "pilot" areas are going to be fairly big, indicating the cull is more than just the "pilot" it is being called.

    The "pilot" schemes will not use the same culling methods as those used in the trials, which further complicates the chances of them being successful.

    The cull is not an attempt to eradicate badgers, and there may be grounds for a cull just on the grounds of over population.

    I am not totally against the cull in principle, but there does seem to be a lack of clarity about the reasons for it and the scientific evidence. Also none of the scientific evidence suggests the cull will eradicate TB, so it seems that vaccination would be a better idea.

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    The problem being is that all the test culls that have gone before have been done over such small areas that the results were obviously going to be inconclusive, one farmer doing it, his neighbor not, just a load of dead badgers for no reason.
    I believe theres a problem with the EU in using vaccinations, I'd have to check though so do't take it a gospel.
    I know what unk tantor's saying, the last trip down the A303 was bizarre, the sheer volume of black and white beer mats on the road probably tripled the amount of badgers I've seen in the past 10 years.

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    Signed.

    Sometime around the 17th century -

    Part of a recipe for a common cold remedy advises: 'Take your Sallet (a type of small onion) Oyle and a pinte of faire water.
    'Boyle it with an earthen pott in your wax then shred the herbs very small and the rosemary and planting water into the pott.
    'Let it boyle a little then bruise the Dragons blood very small and putt them in letting them boyle a little.
    'Then take the turpentine and wash it three times in faire water and the last time in rose water then put it into the pott.'

    and

    A radical cure for 'The Paine of Piles' involving an onion and hot embers.
    'Take a great onion core it and fill it with butter or oyle and roll it in embers until it is soft. Then binde it to the place.'


    Meanwhile, in the 21st century -
    A multitude of the roaming beasties of the shire do harbour the sickness called Bovine TB and never succumb. Yet most assuredly do we put to death a goodly seven tenths of the badger population, certain of the knowledge we do eradicate this most insidious disease from the shire.

    The centuries turn and science moves on.
    ----------------------



    I suspect I may be a figment of my own imagination.

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    "Man" always breeds domestic animals that can't spot predators or wild competitors, can't run from them, can't defend themselves from them, and that have no resistance to diseases for which wild species are often immune. Then "Man" complains when his precious domestic species don't survive without constant shepherding and medicines.

    We have similar issues in the States with culling of bison and wolves. The bison are a wonderfully adapted species, and are being ranched successfully, but some have brucilosis (sp?) and so if they stray close to domestic cattle, they get shot.

    Re-introducing wolves to Yellowstone has corrected some distorted ecology caused by too many browsing elk. But wolves move out of the park, and kill stupid cattle and sheep. Why not ranch bison? Maybe llama and vicuna could be ranched. They could give wolves a run for their money.

    Our cattle industry has been the ruination of the West. Yet ranchers feel they have a right in Natural Law to dominate public lands.

    Now, on the UK badgers, what do they normally eat? If they are culled way down, will there be an explosion of some more troublesome species? In the States, if badgers were culled, prairie dog burrows would be a much bigger problem for cattle.

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    As I see it, if you kill all the badgers in an area all your doing is encouraging badgers from other areas to wanders around among more cattle as they fill the void.
    I could be wrong, but then I usually am!

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    The trouble with trying to cull 70% of the badgers in the test area is that an accurate census of current badger population does not exist. So how many badgers are there? Once you have that, you can calculate 70%. My view: The science of wildlife management is largely smoke and mirrors and suffers from poor funding and political interference.

    How do you stop badgers outside the trial area migrating into the now vacant habitat?
    What is the birthrate of badgers?
    I understand that wolves have bigger or smaller litters depending on the quality of the habitat and the competition from other wolves. Could killing some badgers just raise the birthrate of the remaining badgers?

    How is TB spread between the badger and cattle populations? Are there other techniques that can prevent the spread of TB?

    Too many questions, Not enough answers.

    The good news is that the test areas are relatively small. Badgers will be safe outside the test area, and then re-populate the test areas. Ultimately, the cull will be ineffective.

    Now if they wanted to cull skunks in Ontario, I'd vote for that! Anything to reduce the roadkill.

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    when will we stop simply exterminating everything that doesn't suit us?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ratty View Post
    Nature as usual has to pay the price for human needs.
    This is true but just how things are. The question is why badgers should not pay and cows should

    Crows, pigeons, rabbits, rats, foxes etc are all controlled to protect crops and farm animals why is there no petition to save them? Even in towns feral pigeons and rats are controlled to try and stop the spread of desease yet there is no petition. Would I be cynical to suggest that badgers are cute?
    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiKelly View Post
    This is true but just how things are. The question is why badgers should not pay and cows should

    Crows, pigeons, rabbits, rats, foxes etc are all controlled to protect crops and farm animals why is there no petition to save them? Even in towns feral pigeons and rats are controlled to try and stop the spread of desease yet there is no petition. Would I be cynical to suggest that badgers are cute?
    There are people who object to the way in which crows, pigeons, rabbits, rats, foxes etc are controlled, or to the fact that they are controlled at all. But the campaign to prevent the cull of badgers has more support, and there are of a variety of reasons for this, and yes one of them is that badgers are cute. So no your not being cynical, just honest.

    It's interesting that in your list of animals that need to be controlled you include rabbits and foxes, foxes are a natural predator of rabbits, if we didn't try to reduce the fox population, we wouldn't have an excess of rabbits to deal with. There does seem to be a lack of "joined up thinking" in this area.

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    Like many things it will depend on the area. Round here there are almost no rabbits but lots of foxes. In some areas it may be deer that need controlled as well. Wolves would be a solution to that

    I don't know if the badger cull is needed or not. i just find it strange that some people have such an innocent view of nature in the UK. One way or another almost all of the UK is an industrial estate. Towns and farms for sure and most of what we would call wilderness for that matter too. Most nature reserves are wildlife "farms" and species that are a problem are either discouraged or controlled. Large scale work is done it is not just a case of letting nature get on with it. Almost all wildlife is managed. The way the landscape is now, and the species that are missing, it has to be.

    We ruined the balance by taking up too much room, killing off predators, introducing foreign species and taking land for food. Now if we want a range of wildlife we need to manage it or we will end up with half a dozen efficient animals and nothing else. Think Red Squirrel verses Grey for the sort of thing I mean.
    John

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    The problem we have is that any natural balance that this little island once had has now gone, where once the fox and rabbit numbers would keep themselves in check this would not happen now, huge booms and busts meaning more suffering for all, the same goes for wild deer in various locations, they breed so quickly and have no natural predators that they all end up starving and becoming more prone to illness. This isn't just about cattle rearing, but the whole ecology, urban areas, agriculture, peoples gardens, it all plays a part.
    Hence, on occasion, as we are the ones that have screwed it up, we have to step in and try and keep some sort of equilibrium.

    update..
    Looks like someone beat me to this post

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    So, there's no doubt then that badgers give TB to cattle?

    Why is it then that bovine TB has been increasing on Anglesey at the same rate as on the mainland, yet there's no badgers on Anglesey!!!!

    Blame the farmers not the badgers!

    In the past, farmers blamed bog asphodel Narthecium ossifragum for brittle bones in livestock and lousewort Pedicularis sp. for lice in sheep. Nothing changes in farming attitudes!!!


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    Of course there are badgers on Anglesey

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    It has been mentioned quite a few times on this thread that badger numbers have risen in the last decade or two, I agree it has.
    Why are badgers numbers able to rise to such numbers if they are so infected as thought ?
    Why are the badger sets not devestated by this desease ?
    Do they have a little immunity , if so how ?

    They are going to just sit out at nite and shoot badgers, i guess this would be at random.
    Why not just cull the individual badgers that show the higher levels of TB.
    It has been shown that badgers wander into different areas once a neighbouring set has been totally destroyed. Let the healthier badgers keep there territory and they will keep any other badgers which may be less healthy from the area.
    Tag badgers and test them.

    Cellarman just read your post. I'll admit, I didnt know that!!
    Makes you wonder. I'll see what I can come up with on that.

    But for now baby sitting duties.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sickboy View Post
    The problem we have is that any natural balance that this little island once had has now gone, where once the fox and rabbit numbers would keep themselves in check this would not happen now, huge booms and busts meaning more suffering for all, the same goes for wild deer in various locations, they breed so quickly and have no natural predators that they all end up starving and becoming more prone to illness. This isn't just about cattle rearing, but the whole ecology, urban areas, agriculture, peoples gardens, it all plays a part.
    Hence, on occasion, as we are the ones that have screwed it up, we have to step in and try and keep some sort of equilibrium.

    update..
    Looks like someone beat me to this post

    Let's not forget that rabbits were introduced by the Normans. They are not indigenous to the UK.

    The majority of people in the UK have no feeling for wildlife or nature, which is why there are so many obsessive gardeners - we must keep it tidy!!!

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    According to the RSPCA
    'Badgers are widespread throughout mainland Britain, and a recent survey estimated that there are 42,000 social groups of badgers in Britain. There are probably slightly more in Ireland (around 50,000). In Britain this means that there are about 250,000 adult badgers, and 175,000 cubs are born each year. However, these badgers are not uniformly distributed, and they are less common in upland areas, East Anglia and parts of northern England. They are also found on three of the larger off-shore islands: the Isle of Wight, parts of Anglesey and the island of Arran'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus2 View Post
    Of course there are badgers on Anglesey
    Sorry, typing error, should have read there WERE no badgers on Anglesey.

    They were reintroduced in the 1970s.

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    Signed.
    A vet we had, did a lot of work on badgers, cows and Bovine TB. He said that one of the reasons for the spread of Bovine TB was the lack of hedges. Fences do not stop cows snuffling each other, whereas wide hedges do. TB is spread by water droplets in the expired air.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cellarman View Post
    Sorry, typing error, should have read there WERE no badgers on Anglesey.

    They were reintroduced in the 1970s.
    I must admit until I checked I did'nt realise that.I visited Anglesey a couple of weeks ago just after the sotp big meet.Very dissapointed to be honest.I think I'd built up some romantic vision of the place and it really was'nt like that at all.

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    Kharga have you seen a Cornish hedge ? They cant be seen over and are 3 feet thick but we still have it.I wonder if anyone really knows the absolute truth about how it's spread ? Not to say that your vet friend is wrong,I suppose windy drizzly days would help the spread ?

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    What's the canoeing angle here? Why is this not in the 'off topic' sub topic?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus2 View Post
    Kharga have you seen a Cornish hedge ? They cant be seen over and are 3 feet thick but we still have it.I wonder if anyone really knows the absolute truth about how it's spread ? Not to say that your vet friend is wrong,I suppose windy drizzly days would help the spread ?
    Like most things, the answer is education: to stop Badger - Cattle transfer of TB, badgers must be taught that it is wrong to snuffle near cows, and inter-species kissing must be made illegal!

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    Quote Originally Posted by samB View Post
    inter-species kissing must be made illegal!
    What are we supposed to do in the evenings down here then ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus2 View Post
    What are we supposed to do in the evenings down here then ?
    Does that explain why you keep cornish hedges so thick??

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    no,
    thats just to narrow the roads, so the tourist go home needing new wing mirrors !!

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    Quote Originally Posted by treetop View Post
    no,
    thats just to narrow the roads, so the tourist go home needing new wing mirrors !!
    Ha ha ha !! The tourists drive in the middle of the road

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    Magikelly said, "Crows, pigeons, rabbits, rats, foxes etc are all controlled to protect crops and farm animals why is there no petition to save them? Even in towns feral pigeons and rats are controlled to try and stop the spread of desease yet there is no petition. Would I be cynical to suggest that badgers are cute?"

    Your badgers are not cute. Our badgers are cute.




    Your badgers are culled. Our badgers cull.



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    Quote Originally Posted by unk tantor View Post
    These days on the 200 mile trip to Devon I regularly make down the A303 there are numerous road kill badgers all along the route
    Some people speculate that at least some of the badgers spotted alongside the edges of roads are [unlawfully] killed elsewhere, then left by the side of the road - allowing people to (quite naturally) draw the conclusion that the dead badgers are as a result of being hit and killed by passing traffic ... perhaps implying a greater population exists (by virtue of the number apparently killed on the road) than actually does exist in reality. Who knows what the truth of that is - I am not aware of any data to support it, nor of any to refute it, so I merely mention it as part of the wider discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by MagiKelly View Post

    i have never heard of a previous badger cull. Certainly not in recent times.
    DEFRA have a useful summary of trials on their site here.
    I'd imagine it to have been the Randomised Badger Culling Trial or the 'Krebs' report.

    There are a range of views about the trials of course, about the RBCT DEFRA state: "Results showed positive and negative changes in the incidence of bovine TB in cattle as a result of badger culling." ... which leads me to:

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus2 View Post
    .I wonder if anyone really knows the absolute truth about how it's spread ?
    No, in a word.
    Badgers (live and killed), deer, and a somewhat 'variable' approach to stock control have been shown by the trials to contribute to spreading / not controlling the disease.

    The act of actually killing badgers is implicated in some geographical areas as the cause of an increase in the numbers of bTB incubators - the conclusion was that as 'new' badgers move in to occupy the space left by those that have been killed as part of the trial, they bring back [more instances of] the bacteria. That's not a direct quote of course, but it's summarised from the ISG's final report.

    By the time you consider the Politics (big 'P' politics too), a range of 'vested' interests (including those in bed with Political views (again big 'P' politics)), the management of public relations / perceptions, the best way to maintain animal welfare (both farmed and wild), the lack of any hard, conclusive data (there's lots out there, but lots of contradictions and exceptions within it), and the fact that actual cross-species transmission risk appears to be very low to the end-consumer ... err, given that pasteurisation has been successfully limiting the effects of bacteria from milk for 150 years maybe , and not significant in the aerosol form in those in direct contact with infected animals either ... I can't see anyone being able to say they have the absolute truth.

    What's really sad about this is that so many badgers and so many cattle will end up slaughtered whilst this issue is revisited over and over ... especially if you consider the views expressed in 'Public health and bovine tuberculosis: what's all the fuss about?' - (the abstract of which is here) as valid.

    There are too many variables. Too many conflicting interests.

    Granted I know next to nothing about it, so it's just a view, but vaccination strikes me as the only sensible way forward (vaccination of badgers, deer and cattle) ... but there are plenty of reasons what that's not popular either (see above paragraph, and repeat as necessary (or more properly as entirely unnecessary)).

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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiKelly View Post
    Would I be cynical to suggest that badgers are cute?
    It all Harry Hill's fault. Him and his badger parade.






    So, which is better, cull or no cull? There's only one way to find out.....


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    Quote Originally Posted by monkey_pork View Post
    Some people speculate that at least some of the badgers spotted alongside the edges of roads are [unlawfully] killed elsewhere, then left by the side of the road - allowing people to (quite naturally) draw the conclusion that the dead badgers are as a result of being hit and killed by passing traffic ... perhaps implying a greater population exists (by virtue of the number apparently killed on the road) than actually does exist in reality. Who knows what the truth of that is - I am not aware of any data to support it, nor of any to refute it, so I merely mention it as part of the wider discussion.


    Theres more than one around here that does it Mark,seen them do it.

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    As I've said I don't know enough about the science to comment whether the cull is scientifically justifiable. My comments are more in response the the knee jerk opposition you get to almost any form of cull.

    What I am sure of is that farmers would not want the cull if they did not think badgers had a link. Farmers may be many things but they are not as a group out for the slaughter of animals for no reason.
    John

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    I've signed it anyway.. not convinced either way but don't agree with killing them unless it's proven.
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    I wonder what badger tastes like?


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    Ham

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus2 View Post
    Ham
    Really? I would have thought it'd be a dark meat and taste somewhere between rabbit and venison, but then i've never tried badger but i'd give it a go.


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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiKelly View Post
    Crows, pigeons, rabbits, rats, foxes etc are all controlled to protect crops and farm animals why is there no petition to save them? Even in towns feral pigeons and rats are controlled to try and stop the spread of desease yet there is no petition. Would I be cynical to suggest that badgers are cute?
    <political capital>
    To my mind the reason couldn't be clearer - it's because the significant majority of the British public are wholly unconvinced of the need to kill badgers.
    It's as simple as that.
    </political capital>

    Actually, I said that to make a point, but thinking about it, I think that's actually close to the truth of this. Look at this thread for example.
    Q - Why are badgers being culled?
    A - It's a trial to see if it helps control bTB.

    Q - Hang on tho' - haven't you already tried this and had sufficiently mixed results to make the whole thing impossible to interpret in any meaningful way?
    A - Err, yeah ...

    Q- So, why are badgers being culled?

    (et cetera).


    It's also going to be played out as a town-vs-countryside issue.

    Pretty much everyone has (if nothing more, at least '3rd hand') experience of rats and pigeons, and most people 'know' that they spread disease (even if they don't know which disease 'they' spread).

    Foxes are known to get into peoples houses and /or attack pets (it's been in the paper / seen on television so it must be true) - even in the city, so there is a partial appreciation for the 'danger' presented by foxes. Oh, and they eat of out bins too, and they are wild-animals so they must be 'dirty'.

    Likewise, crows are known to kill baby songbirds, and to peck out the eyes of little baa-lambs et cetera, so as with foxes, they are sinister feral creatures in the minds of some people. Rabbits just steal food of course, so they need to be dealt with.

    My instinct is that badgers are generally perceived as just that bit more remote, more a creature of the wild (despite the numbers in town). That they come out at night so are less often seen, and that they are of a decent enough size, all contribute to this slightly elevated sense of them being more exotic than other wildlife. Hence the petition.

    I'm interested in how the sample areas were drawn up.
    Options would seem to be:
    Badger population / bTB incubators / frequency of infection (or reinfection) / having a discrete topography / population numbers of other carriers / being in safe or unsafe political seats or in the backyards of party donors ? (*cough cough*, goodness me, I dunno how that last one slipped in there ... but that applies equally to parties of all political stripes, there's no party politics in it).


    Actually, whilst I'm on this line of thought, how will anyone know when 70% of badgers in the trial area have been killed, given that nobody knows the population numbers to start with ?

    Hmm, further methodology questions emerge:

    Clearly, some badgers killed will be infected, and some won't be - some might even be inclined to a degree of resistance to it, and as a consequence have benefited from that mutation to produce stronger / more resilient (more resistant) breed lines. Are they all being tested after execution?

    I guess all this was in the most recent appeal by the Badger Trust ?
    Last edited by monkey_pork; 29th-September-2012 at 02:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jondavy View Post
    Really? I would have thought it'd be a dark meat and taste somewhere between rabbit and venison, but then i've never tried badger but i'd give it a go.


    Jon.
    According to that Clarrisa dickson wright it's like young wild boar

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    F it, kill them, I'll try them! Love boar.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus2 View Post
    According to that Clarrisa dickson wright it's like young wild boar
    Now that is damn tasty, if she's right then i'm up for a cull, just as long as I get too eat a few of them .


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    Can you get mad badger disease?
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    Came across one a few months back on the morning dog walk 6 am,obviously hit by a car.He was mad as hell !!!Dropped back 1 hour later and it was gone so just knocked daft for a minute or two.They really are hard as hell those things.

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    Or JonDavy had been past!

    Badger burgers: Slow roasted over a fire box........ this is not just camp cooking ....... this is SOTP camp cooking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiKelly View Post

    Also are badger numbers in any way dangerously low? Will the cull threaten their chances of survival and if not what is the difference between this and controlling foxes, crows, pigeons etc.
    Control as a euphemism for extermination?

    None! Crows cannot be controlled. You should know that by now. Crows will inherit the earth.Solidarity with the badgers!




    Quote Originally Posted by MagiKelly View Post


    And a question for the meat eaters. You have a choice of two burgers one from a badger friendly farm which may have TB but we are assured it cannot be transferred to humans or one from a farm where the badgers are controlled and the cattle are TB free. Which would you choose?
    Neither. I would not eat a badger burger, even a Tesco Value one.

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    There is not one jot of proof that cattle get BTB from badgers. It is equally possible that badgers get BTB from cattle. The only thing the MAFF folk know is it can be spread by badgers and equally cattle.

    Yet very year at the onset of either wet weather or cold almost every farmer in the UK and Eire bring their cattle into sheds, and these lack good ventilation, and from experience often cold, wet and always damp,(just the condititons TB loves) Here, the animals are kept in close confinement for months until the weather picks up in spring. Like us they breath, cough, splutter, lick each other - perfect conditions for an infection to be spread. (Its spread through water droplets via lungs).

    Yet, I'm pretty sure there's many of us who have drunk TB infected milk and stuffed our mouths with TB infected cattle meat. HOw? Simple, the test for TB in cattle is rather primitive to say the least.

    Every six months every farm has their cattle tested for TB ("the reactor test"). The vet injects the cattle with what is, in effect a small dose of TB. Several days later the vet comes back and measures any lumps at the injection site. Any lump over a certain size is seen to be an indication that the cattle has TB, and off it goes for slaughter. How accurate is this test? Even according to the MAFF, not very. The size of the lump is difficult to measure. Is it 59 mm or 60 mm? One means death for the cattle the other may mean life. It's all done on statistical probabilities. So not every cow or bull with a lump smaller than the standard can be guaranteed not to have TB. And the ones which go off to slaughter? The same can be said of them.

    But don't forget even if the reactor test is 100% accurate there's been nothing to prevent TB infected cattle entering the food chain in the previous six months undetected. (The butcher can't check and nor can the abattoir ) Nor can you get it from eating the meat or drinking the milk.

    So why all the bother in the first place?
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    Badgers have been killed for years. I remember it from my school days when they used to pump gas down the sets. As far as I am aware it is entirely ineffective. Notwithstanding this, I would be aginst it anyway for the same reason I object to killing cormorants and goosander, foxes, pheasants, grouse, they lot. Meaningless slaughter.

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