The Isle of Wight NFU has criticised a Christmas single released in aid of The Badger Trust.
Isle of Wight NFU chair Caroline Knox says: “This festive pop song and video, released by eco clothing brand Rapanui, may at first seem humorous on the surface but, actually it trivialises the whole issue of bovine tuberculosis (bTB). bTB is the biggest issue facing the cattle industry, causing misery to hundreds of farming families and resulting in the slaughter of 34,000 cattle across England and Wales this year alone. It also affects a growing number of species of animals in the countryside.”
The video accompanying the tune, The Present of Life, features reindeer cuddling toy badgers and footage of wild badgers in a farm setting. It also shows wildlife broadcasters Sir David Attenborough (with a speaking role), Chris Packham and former weather man Michael Fish.
Caroline Knox adds that all the scientific reports published to date state that no single measure alone can combat bTB .
She explains: “We do not have a workable cattle vaccine to combat bTB. The BCG cattle vaccine, which isn’t licensed, is only around 60 per cent effective in trials – so it’s not the magic solution we’d like. Badger vaccination by injection won’t be enough to stop bTB. It is not practical on a large scale as you need to catch and innoculate more than 70% of a badger population every year. Scientists are working to produce an oral vaccine, but the disease is spreading so fast that waiting is not an option.”
She continues: “Vaccination doesn’t work in diseased badgers and will not cure a badger that already has bTB – the badger will continue to spread disease. Ideally action should have been taken decades ago to curb the spread of bTB on the mainland – fortunately, here on the Isle of Wight, we are bTB free as the Solent is a barrier to badger movement.
“This proves how effective the cattle movement and testing regime is in preventing the spread of the disease as we bring in a lot of cattle to the Island. It is a tragedy that bTB has taken such a hold and we all need to work together to trial every available tool to achieve healthy badgers, healthy cattle and a healthy countryside,”
The NFU is the voice of British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members. Read more on www.nfuonline.com website.
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