Search This Blog

Friday, July 04, 2008

Badgers Cull background information.

For information here is the summary of the press release issued 18th June 2007 and the report covered seems to be the subject of current press speculation about the UK Government policy on culling Badgers. The policy may be announced on Monday 7th July 2008


Chairman: Professor John Bourne CBE MRCVS
18 June 2007
The Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (ISG) today published its Final Report,
Bovine TB: The Scientific Evidence.
The Report describes the outcome of nearly ten years’ work which has provided a broad
understanding of the complex issues involved in the epidemiology of TB in both cattle
and badgers. The potential of badger culling for cattle TB control and the likely
effectiveness of enhanced cattle based control measures have been evaluated.
The ISG has concluded that, although badgers contribute significantly to the cattle
disease in some parts of the country, no practicable method of badger culling can reduce
the incidence of cattle TB to any meaningful extent, and several culling approaches may
make matters worse. The ISG also conclude that rigidly applied control measures
targeted at cattle can reverse the rising incidence of disease, and halt its geographical
Publishing the Report, ISG Chairman Professor John Bourne said:
“The objective of our work, outlined in this scientific report, has been to seek
scientific truth and to provide clarity on the major issues that need to be considered
for gaining control of cattle TB.”
“We believe that in this Report Ministers now have sufficiently robust and extensive
evidence to enable informed policy decisions to be made. They now have the sound
science they require.”
Concluding, Professor Bourne said:
“After nearly a decade of work we believe that we have fulfilled our original aims
and are now able to provide a comprehensive appreciation of the overall problem.
Our findings will surprise some, and be unwelcome to others.”
“Having shown that the main approach to cattle TB control should be rigorously
targeted to cattle, we hope that the overwhelming scientific evidence we have
provided to support this view, and the policy options we present, will enable the
farming industry and Government to work together in a constructive and cooperative
manner to tackle this very serious disease of cattle which causes so much economic
loss and hardship to cattle farmers”.
Cattle tuberculosis (TB) was almost cleared from Britain in the 1970s but has since reemerged
as a major problem for British farmers. Badgers (Meles meles) were implicated
in spreading the infectious agent (the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis) to cattle and
between 1973 and 1998 cattle-based TB controls were supplemented by various forms of
badger culling.
A scientific review of the issue, chaired by Professor John Krebs (now Lord Krebs) and
completed in 1997, concluded that there was “compelling” evidence that badgers were
involved in transmitting infection to cattle. However, it noted that the development of
TB policy was hampered because the effectiveness of badger culling as a control measure
could not be quantified with data then available. Professor Krebs’ team therefore
recommended the establishment of a large-scale field trial of the effects of badger culling
on cattle TB incidence, to be overseen by a group of independent experts.
The Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (ISG) was formed in 1998. In addition to
designing and overseeing the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT), the ISG
identified and initiated a broad array of research related to the diagnosis, pathogenesis,
dynamics and control of TB in cattle and badgers. This report – the ISG’s 6th and final,
formal, report – describes the outcome of this research, which provides a previously
unavailable scientific basis for the design of future TB control policy.

Badger cull - News - Wildlife Trusts Somerset

Badger cull - News - Wildlife Trusts Somerset

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Orchids, wild, Pyramidal, rare white specimen

I tried using a piece of card painted brown to assist getting a clear picture!

You may be interested to know that on a visit to our local meadow two days ago I was surprised to find a pure white orchid which is probably a white version of the Pyramidal Orchid. It is said to be a rare occurrence. There is a photograph in the book which can be seen from the web site linked here

Britain's Orchids

A guide to the identification and ecology of the wild orchids of Britain and Ireland

David Lang
(interactive version)

This website is a fully interactive, searchable version of the book; Britain's Orchids, published jointly by English Nature and WILDGuides

Web site link:

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Bats in Somerset

I've noticed from the visit counter that people regularly view this Blog searching for information about bats. As I have posted very little on the subject it may help if I put some contact details and web links in this post. Hope this is useful.

Somerset Bat Group

Contact Name:
David Cottle

01749 674257
The Somerset Bat Group provides an advisory service on Bat problems and conducts roost visits on behalf of Natural England. It carries out systematic recording and regular monitoring of a large number of summer and winter roost sites. It has close links with the Bat Conservation Trust and is a branch of the Somerset Wildlife Trust.
David can also be contacted via the Wildlife Trust on telephone: 01823 652400

Here is a web site link to The Bat Conservation Trust:
Here is an extract from their site:

What are bats doing now: July

Young bats will start to fly at three weeks old, although their mothers will still be feeding them with milk. Young bats are very small (less than an inch) with thin, slightly grey fur, and are sometimes found on the ground as they learn to fly.

The Trust runs a forum which you can use , after registration, to raise any questions about bats.

Here is a link to a web site, "First Nature Guide" giving photos and details of UK bats.