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Badgers and Bovine TB

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Badgers and Bovine Tuberculosis

There is no doubt that Badgers can be infected with Bovine Tuberculosis (TB). Badgers can also infect cattle and be infected by cattle. Are badgers a primary source of TB in cattle? A report was published in 1961 The Eradication of Bovine Tuberculosis in Great Britain 

The report author: W.D.Macrae, MRCVS, DVSM (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) April 1961 (full publication details in the pdf) does not mention badgers as a cause of infection of bovine TB in cattle. He does not mention badgers at all! So why one may ask has the policy changed to one of culling badgers? Has there been any changes in animal husbandry since the 1960s? Yes there has, the industrialisation of agriculture. Industrial Farm Animal Production in the USA  (20 MB PDF ) There is plenty to worry about in this report.

Has the badger become a scapegoat, for a government that does not know what to advise to eradicate Bovine TB?  For authoritive information about the issues visit: Bovine TB Looking for the reform of a costly and misguided system

 

Badger and Shared Spaces

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We have had two badgers killed in the last few weeks. One on the upper reaches of Staples Hill on the long stretch of road which is bounded by the Iford estate and the other on the Upper Westwood road. Sometimes the vehicle driver will move the animal off the road or more often they leave it for someone else to move.  The local authority should remove dead animals from the road but was in no hurry in the case of the Upper Westwood death  The animal was left to decay for several days. This is what live badgers look like:

I decline to publish what a dead badger looks like after several days in the heat as this website is classified as General and may be accessed by young children.  No doubt there were mums with children travelling along this lane who had to avoid running over the dead animal and who were hoping their children would not see the dead animal.  Why are these animals killed so frequently on our roads? The answer is that motor vehicles kill these animals.

The solution to reduced deaths is for drivers to drive a lot slower where badgers live. It might even be advisable to use the vehicle's horn and sound a warning. However if its late at night or early in the morning when this would disturb residents then surely the vehicles could go a lot  slower. Or even stop, extinguish lights and then restart their vehicle. Over a distance of two miles a car travelling at 20mph will take 2 minutes longer than a car travelling at 30mph. Is a couple of minutes too much to ask for safeguarding the life of one of our most beautiful animals? I have encountered a group of four deer just by the place where I park my car, it was very strange as they almost appeared as alien creatures in the moonlight in the road. When one encounters a horse and rider one slows if necessary to a standstill and then proceeds with caution (well one should unless one is ignorant Ed). so why not proceed with similar caution when one encounters a badger and other animals? It's because we don't know they are there -until we encounter them -by which time it is too late they have paniced!

Perhaps these deaths are the result of snaring, or a deliberate hit and run, but I hope that they are the result of an accident.  But even so, can't drivers think of other animals apart from themselves (correction a human being is not an animal!) point taken, but don't we have thus  a responsibility to protect all wildlife, as we have consciousness and the perception to realise that animals don't understand what a vehicle is!  My opinion is that drivers should go particularly slowly when they are on  country roads,  rather than possibly shorten their own life (increased stress) by speeding around to no good purpose.

Television adverts (excellent in my opinion) sponsered by the government have stressed how the speed limit if exceeded results in more serious injury and death to children hit by a vehicle.  Similarly, a reduced speed will reduce the accidental injury and death of the badger. The problem with the badger is that it tends to panic and rushes across the road right in front of the vehicle, or if it can't get off the road because of dense hedging or walls it will desperately, run up the road with its slippery claws impeding its get away.

Legally, a motorists can travel at 60mph along these country roads and I am sorry to say that a few do!

 

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