Saturday, 6 August 2011

latest info from PAC

BBC Report Illegal Badger Killing on Farms
Welsh Review Panel Named
Latest TB Statistics
38 Degrees Campaign Update - please keep spreading the word

BBC Report Illegal Badger Killing on Farms
A Radio 4 programme yesterday on bovine tb and badgers - The Report - said they had 'found some farmers are taking draconian action, killing badgers illegally'. A shocking interview with a Devon farmer, who they said they have agreed not to name, in the vicinity of an inactive badger sett began with the reporter stating "It's one of dozens of setts where he says the animals have been killed." The farmer described the killing technique - "You have an old petrol engine. You put a pipe down the hole there. You have the engine running. Once all the holes are completely blocked up, you run the engine and that puts the badger to sleep underground....." and more. The farmer said he was present when it was done but "I actually didn't take part in it". His claims that this was supposedly a 'sick sett', that 'the whole family group is put to sleep humanely' and that farmers are being driven to take this action through lack of action and lack of help from governments -cannot excuse such illegal activity. And this nasty disclosure followed a clear summary of why localised killing of badgers in response to TB outbreaks - reactive culling - is, in the words of Professor Bourne, ' a no no' which makes TB worse. PAC is not anti farmer - many are working hard for effective solutions to controlling bovine TB - some as part of PAC. But farmers like this are their own worst enemies.
Please listen to the programme yourself.
You can tell the BBC what you think about airing details of what is clearly illegal activity, giving the farmer involved so much time to 'justify' this illegal activity, and allowing anonymity.

Welsh Review Panel Named
The panel of experts that will undertake Wales’ review of the scientific evidence base regarding the eradication of bovine TB has now been named. Wales’ Chief Scientific Adviser Professor John Harries and the recently appointed Chair of the panel, Professor Christopher Gaskell, have announced the panel will be:

Professor Sir Mansel Aylward CB, the Chair of Public Health Wales and Director of the Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research at Cardiff University
Professor Malcolm Bennett FRCPath FHEA, Co-Director of the UK National Centre for Zoonosis Research and Professor of Veterinary Pathology at the University of Liverpool
Professor Bridget Emmett, Deputy Director of the Biogeochemistry Programme, Section Head and Head of Site at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) in Bangor
Professor Charles Godfray CBE FRS, a Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford and Hope Professor at the Department of Zoology of the University of Oxford
Professor Dirk Pfeiffer is a Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology, and Head of the Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health Group in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at the Royal Veterinary College (University of London).

Professor Gaskell is Principal of the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. Some people have voiced misgivings to PAC about his independence. He is a member of the Science Advisory Council for Wales - and was one of the panel of experts convened by Defra whose 'key conclusions' on the science re bovine tb were published shortly before Caroline Spelman announced plans to trial free shooting of badgers. The 'key conclusions' are claimed by some to provide a case for culling badgers, but others, notably Lord Krebs (himself a member of the panel), say they do not support culling as a way forward. Speaking about the newly named panel, Professor Gaskell said: “I am very pleased with the make up of the panel. It brings together a range of experience and perspectives which will allow us to make a full and proper assessment of the evidence base that informed the programme for the eradication of bovine TB. I very much look forward to working with the panel in taking forward this important work on what is undoubtedly a difficult area.The panel will invite and take evidence from experts in the area as appropriate. Their report is expected to be completed by the autumn.”

Latest TB Statistics
Defra have published statistics for the period January to the end of April 2011. They show the number of cattle slaughtered in Wales due to TB is continuing to decline. Figures for West Wales now show a reduction of 54% over the same period in 2009, with a 12% reduction compared to the same period in 2010. The number of new herd TB incidents is also lower. West Wales had 40% fewer new herd incidents compared with the same period in 2009, and 5% fewer compared with the same period in 2010. PAC has been told that Defra are looking very closely at the encouraging data from Wales. Good to hear.

38 Degrees Campaign Against Badger Culling - Update
The 38 Degrees campaign petition has now got more than 20,000 people signed up - but even more mass momentum is needed. Please do everything you can to get the message out and ask others to sign up. There have been ongoing difficulties with campaign links not working sometimes and the campaign disappearing off the 38 Degrees home page.
Here is the link to the petition again.
Take a look at what is being said
- and leave your own comments.

Email PAC at: - telephone: 01239 805020
Take a look at the PAC BLOG and PAC Website. Donate to help save welsh badgers.

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