A date for your diary
This year our AGM is on Thursday 14th April at The Wroxeter Hotel, Shrewsbury SY5 6PH, arriving 6.45 pm for 7pm.
We are excited to have as our guest speaker a young Canadian ecologist, Michael Noonan from Oxford University’s Wildlife Research Conservation Unit (WildCRU). Mike will be giving an illustrated talk entitled “The Underground Lives of Badgers – New Insights from Technological Advancements” about his latest research into badger society and movement patterns both above and below ground.
Also, there will be badger merchandise available, plus some fantastic raffle prizes. It should be a lively and stimulating evening and we look forward to seeing many old and new faces.
Badger Trust welcomes renewed focus on cattle measures to lower bovine TB
The Badger Trust has welcomed new cattle measures introduced by the Government aimed at reducing the spread of bovine TB.
From the 6th April 2016 onwards, new legislation will require farmers in the Low TB Risk Area of England to arrange for post-movement testing of cattle coming from the rest of England and Wales.
All herds in the High Risk Area of England affected by a new TB breakdown, will now need to pass two strict tests before movement restrictions are lifted. This will increase the chances of finding all TB infected cattle and reduce recurrent breakdowns.
The Government is also funding free pre-sale TB tests to any herd owner in the Low Risk Areas, selling twenty or more cattle in a single purchase. This is aimed at providing additional assurance for buyers and to mitigate the risk of undetected TB cattle spreading the disease to new herds.
The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) will also start offering farmers the option of private Interferon Gamma blood tests, to diagnose TB under certain conditions subject to prior approval from the APHA.
Commenting on the new cattle measures the CEO of the Badger Trust, Dominic Dyer said:
"For the past 5 years we have been telling the Government to stop playing the badger blame game and focus on the real cause of the spread of bovine TB, which is cattle. We therefore welcome these new cattle measures aimed at reducing the risk of moving diseased cattle around the country, but they do not go far enough. So far the Government has wasted over £25 million of public money killing mostly TB free badgers, in a culling policy which is failing on both scientific and humaneness grounds. This figure could rapidly rise to over £100 million over the next 5 years, if badger culling is extended to new areas of the country.
The money being wasted on badger culling should be diverted to providing farmers with free access to Interferon Gamma blood tests. As well as funding more effective gates and fences on farms to prevent interaction between wildlife and cattle, also to introduce an annual TB testing system across all of England, as is currently in place in Wales.
Unlike badger culling, these cattle measures have been proven to significantly reduce bovine TB and offer a far better return on the use of public funds, for both the tax payer and the farmer."
Commenting on the response from the farming industry to the new cattle measures, the Chair of the Badger Trust, Peter Martin said:
"We are very disappointed to see the farming lobby is calling into question the need for such control measures, in view of their impact on cattle trading. If they are serious about tackling the social and economic burden of bovine TB, the farming industry must accept that killing badgers is a dangerous distraction from dealing with the spread of the disease in cattle. The vast body of scientific research has yet to identify a clear badger-to cattle infection path and other peer reviewed studies have shown that badgers avoid pasture and farm buildings containing cattle. In the absence of proper scientific information and perhaps an inherent unwillingness to blame themselves or their cattle, farmers are blaming badgers instead."
Sadly badgers are usually in the news for all the wrong reasons; persecution, cruelty, illlness.
It's a nice change therefore to have a fun story about badgers...
The BBC reported last week that a badger spotted on the runway at Newquay airport in Cornwall delayed a plane landing. A happy ending both for the plane and its passengers, and for the badger!
Here is their story:
A badger on an airport runway forced a passenger plane to abort its landing.
The flight from Gatwick to Newquay was an estimated 300ft (90m) off the ground when the wild animal was spotted.
Passenger Pete Atkinson said there was a tense five-minute gap between the aircraft climbing sharply away from the runway and the pilot announcing the badger's presence.
The airport said it was a case of being "cautious in the interest of safety".
Mr Atkinson, a freelance cameraman, said: "We were on the final approach when all of a sudden the under-carriage was lifted back up and the engines revved up.
"People went quiet and started to look out of the window as we headed out over the sea."
About five minutes later, the pilot announced the diversion of the aircraft carrying about 60 people was due to a badger being seen on the runway.
Mr Atkinson said passengers then laughed and made jokes about roadkill.
FlyBe flight 806 was due to land at 21:15 GMT on Sunday was delayed by around 15 minutes.
A spokesman for Cornwall Airport Newquay said there was "a suspected badger sighted on the runway by the bird control unit".
The spokesman said the aircraft landed safely following a full check of the runway.
There is to be a public meeting in Hereford to discuss opposing any roll-out of the badger cull to Herefordshire.
The meeting will take place on Friday 19th February at 7pm at the Friends (Quaker) Meeting House, 21 King Street, Hereford HR4 9BX.
It would be great for people in Shropshire to support our neighbours in Herefordshire. We have to keep hoping Shropshire won't be targeted next.
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