In his excellent blog, Countryman's comment, Steve Jones systematically tackles each of the points that the NFU tends to make about the issue of bovine TB, badgers and cows.
He says the cattle industry is long overdue for reform, and that the intensification of the system is causing untold stress on the animals, leading to increased illness, of which bTB is just one small part - a tiny part, in fact, at 0.5% of the herd slaughtered.
The blog is littered with other interesting figures, and debunks for the general public many of the myths about badgers and bTB infection that are constantly peddled.
To read the full comment, go to his blog on tumblr.
There are many further articles in the series, too, covering the history of bTB, the issue of biosecurity, the gamma test, other theories about transmission, and suggestions for a more holistic approach. Read them via this link.
It is with a sinking heart that lovers of wildlife everywhere will have heard the news yesterday morning (Tuesday 27th August) that the government's ill-advised cull had actually begun, against scientific evidence and a huge groundswell of opposition among the general public.
Since Defra is refusing to say how many badgers are shot until the six-week "pilot" cull is over, we can only guess at the suffering being inflicted.
Our hearts go out to the badgers in the cull zones in Somerset and Gloucestershire and to the people there who are trying to continue to protect them against this fruitless slaughter.
We hope that we will not be faced with the same horror in Shropshire, but badger groups all over the country will no doubt stand together until we have won the battle to protect our beloved wildlife.
In the cull zones where marksmen may start shooting from tonight (Monday 26th August), peaceful protesters are claiming some success already with removing bait and disrupting traps, John Vidal writes on the Guardian website. Teams of people are preparing to patrol the cull areas to check for injured badgers, which they will remove to rescues or vets.
For the full story, see the Guardian's environment website.
Labour's shadow environment secretary, Mary Creagh, has today (Monday 26 August) criticised the government's cull of badgers in west Somerset and west Gloucestershire, due to begin today, as unscientific. She said the move would prove bad for farmers, taxpayers and wildlife.
Writing on the Guardian's Comment is Free website, Creagh says: "The government's own analysis says that it will cost more than it saves, put a huge strain on police given the expected protests, and will spread bovine TB in the short term as badgers are disrupted by the shooting."
See the full story on Comment is Free.
A recent Shropshire Star article suggested that a Shropshire farmer, Mervin Mullard of Middle Knuck Farm, near Bishop's Castle, was being forced out of farming by bTB.
The truth of the matter is somewhat different, as Jim Ashley, chairman of the Shropshire Badger Group, discovered when he spoke to Mr Mullard after the article appeared.
Mr Ashley knows Mr Mullard already, as the farmer has participated in a badger vaccination programme carried out by Shropshire Wildlife Trust over the past two years.
The article, in which Mr Mullard spoke to Owen Paterson MP, who is very much in favour of the cull, suggested that Mr Mullard was being forced out because his herd has been so badly hit by bTB. In fact, his herd has been free of bTB since the start of this year, he intends to continue with the vaccination programme and he has simply come to the decision to wind down his herd over the next six or seven years, by which time he will be nearly 75.
As Mr Ashley writes:
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