Friday, 30 May 2014

Mr Brock the Badger

Big issue with TB and Badgers here in the UK especially in the south of the country.  On the one hand are the farmers who have to deal with the loss of their cattle when TB is found in their animals and on the other the wildlife protectors who feel that slaughtering Badgers is no way to prevent the disease from spreading.  What we do know is that Badgers carry TB and so do cattle.  What we don't know is the best way to control the disease.  A badger cull, organised by the government, aims to control the number of badgers in an area so reducing the chances of cattle being infected.  These animals have been a protected species and their numbers have increased.  The argument from the wildlife protectors is that we should vaccinate cattle and/or badgers against the disease. Great idea except at the moment we don't have a viable vaccine. But wait, what is this about vaccination being the solution.  How on earth can you vaccinate badgers that are already infected with the disease? You can't. Vaccines don't work that way.  You have to be healthy so the vaccine can enable the body to make antibodies against the disease.  So I'm afraid that you have to kill badgers to get a healthy enough population for you to vaccinate.  In the meantime while vaccines are being developed surely it's a good idea to start doing this in preparation for the vaccine when it arrives. Sorry Mr Brock (Badger)