Owen Paterson’s vow on badger cull

The controversial badger cull in England has not been called off and will be rolled out across the country, including Shropshire, according to Environment Secretary Owen Paterson.

The north Shropshire MP pledged to act to bring the spread of bovine TB under control once a second round of pilot culls have been carried out.

He spoke of his frustration at the delay to the roll out of the cull, which he said was necessary to combat the “devastating” impact of TB. Mr Paterson also said badger control had worked in places such as the Republic of Ireland.

He said the number of new cases of TB was doubling every nine years and said more than 32,000 cows were slaughtered across Britain last year.

It comes after the Government was accused of a U-turn earlier this year, when it decided not to extend the pilots in west Somerset and west Gloucestershire which started last autumn to the rest of England.

But Mr Paterson said: “This is not a postponement, it is a delay.

“I feel bitterly disappointed that we can not go any faster with this. We are delaying so that we can learn from the lessons of the pilots and move forward.

“I know the farmers in the TB affected areas of Market Drayton and Ellesmere and all down the Shropshire Marches are upset the culls have been delayed and I understand this.The importance of the situation for our cattle farmers, their families and their communities cannot be overstated.

“Only if we use every tool at our disposal, including culling, will we begin to check the progress of this devastating disease. We want to see healthy cattle living alongside healthy badgers.”

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Comments for: "Owen Paterson’s vow on badger cull"


Owen Paterson typifies the worst excesses of current UK politics. As he once again bypasses science and its experts, to dole out miss information. While continuing to provide no facts or evidence, on a Cull which has been labelled by his own appointed Independent Panel of experts as “ineffective and inhumane”

The Western Morning News of 19 April 2014 quoted “The prospect of a full-blown badger cull across England took another nose dive yesterday after the British Veterinary Association said it had decided the cull was not humane and therefore could no longer support it.

However Owen Paterson said to The Oxford Farming Conference on JAN. 8 th 2014 “But he was adamant the policy was working. “Contrary to many reports, significant numbers of diseased badgers have been removed. And farmers in those areas are confident that they will see a reduction in the disease,” he said.

Some 1800 Badgers were killed in the recent Cull; none were tested for BOVINE TB. No reports of any visible signs of BTB were reported. Some 180 of those killed were Post mortem tested and again no reports of BTB were reported.

In Wales the Welsh Government is now on its third year of a Science based humane comprehensive programme towards the eradication of BOVINE TB including Badger Vaccination. Some 2500 badgers have been Vaccinated to date and no visible signs of infection have been found.

AND the present Cattle TEST misses 1 in 5 infected cattle (at best 80% sensitive at herd level if the test is performed correctly) so infected Cattle remain in the herd, are sold for slaughter or sold to other farms. Taking the infection with them. The ATTACHED News LINK sums up the very real need to tackle BOVINE TB in Cattle by an EFFECTIVE test and Vaccination. It needs Owen Paterson and the NFU to understand HUMANE Science and apply it. STOP THE POLITICS it is not progressing ANY solution. Time and money is being wasted, and an increasing number of the Public and I might suggest the Farming community now know that.



How about carrying out some scientific research before wasting more money on another cull.


Paterson is lying when he says incidences of btb are growing - they are declining. Wales and Northern Ireland have seen decreases without culling badgers. Improved animal husbandry, bio security and tighter cattle movement controls are the answer. It's bovine TB - spread by cattle. Badgers and other mammals are it's victims.


I cannot believe that Owen Paterson is still trying to push for killing more Badgers when the Welsh have shown that vaccinating Badgers has been successful and will be sustainable. Their trial working on tighter cattle control, effective biosecurity and vaccinating Badgers has brought a 48% decrease in Bovine TB in 4 years, results the Welsh are very proud of, England too could be in this position if only Owen Paterson would stop delaying.

The work he needs to move forward with is to look at the testing currently being used as so many cattle have had false testings, so many cattle being sent to slaughter only to find they were clear and didn't have the disease.

He also needs to push forward with vaccinating cattle, we do have the vaccinine available now but haven't been allowed to use this due to EU restrictions. Let's be clear about this, the 32,000 cattle slaughtered is scaremongering, these cattle are slaughtered anyway with 4 years, farmers are being compensated and the meat is still being sold to consumers and also used for pet foods so compensation amounts are returned.

Recent testing of Badgers found dead on the road in Cheshire organised by Vets and the NFU has shown that only of the 29 Badgers showed any sign of carrying the disease after robust testing.

Another trial cull will now go ahead this year in June in Somerset and Gloucestershire after the terrible floods which killed so many Badgers, this years young only born in February will be shot, these are healthy Badgers. None of the killed Badgers are tested and the reason for this is that Owen Paterson knows that very few if any will have the disease.

Owen Paterson has failed farmers and refuses to learn from last years failed cull, he has so far wasted over 60 Million pounds of taxpayers money plus compensation paid out to farmers for cattle sent to slaughter with false testing.

Owen Paterson has failed in so many ways as a Minister, he failed Somerset with the floods and had to be bailed out by David Camerson after Prince Charles stepped in when things had reached disaster point. This is a Minister that denies Global Warming when even Joe public can see the evidence of that, he pushing now for Fracking in the County too.......Unbelievable!!!

We have asked and been denied a meeting with Owen Paterson, anyone that hides behind closed door obviously doesn't believe the total nonsense and scaremongering he's putting out there.

I have ever faith in the public for them to realise what a failed Minister Owen Paterson has been and to remember this come May 2015


Only 1 of the 29 roadkill Badgers tested tested to date by Cheshire vets supported by the National farmers Union showed any sign of carrying the Cattle disease Bovine TB


Clear about this ?

Closed herds do not just kill cows after 4 years most live longer than the national average a local closed herd for 45yrs has been shut with tb can you explain that ( 12 month testing). Compensation at £1000 for a cow that costs £2200 in an auction , 32000 cows slaughtered because they either have tb or REACT to the test so any badger that has tb will still reinfect other animals regardless of cattle measures.

Vaccination will not cure an infected badger and this animal will infect others and cattle why do you want them to suffer slow horrible deaths or is it you know no better or just don't understand tb.


Hedgehog-- no one is saying that Badgers as well as Rodents, Deer and Cows carry/ suffer from Bovine Tb. But even in a closed herd, infection can spread. Particularly if Bio Security is not adequate. Once the herd is infected then the Cattle test will miss 1 in 5 of infected Bovines.

A closed herd in Dorset recently had 31 infected cows, but it not only turns out that the Farm had several infection outbreaks over recent years. But also the Press photographs of the Farm clearly indicated poor Bio security..

The figures for cattle test failures of 1 in 5 missed, are significant in this equation. And from the comparabnle roadkill Badger testing of 0.3% suggest that an effective Cattle test is a priority . Vaccination of both Cattle and Badgers whether infected or not, gives significant Herd/ social group immunity.In the case of Badgers Vaccination is already deemed to be over 74% effective, and offers an improved immunity to Badger Cubs still below ground.

If you read the Herefordshire Newslink I posted to my original article, it clearly indicates from a Farmer and an MP a need for an effective cattle test and Vaccination. It also indicates the view from Owen Paterson Mp" most other Countries with Bovine TB seemed to have managed with the current ineffective Cattle test". Well that is his Politics and lack of Science talking again.


Dairy cows hardly make 4 year of life and regarding compensation, farmers tell me that the get more than the market value more often than not.

You need to listen to farmers that are against culling Badgers when the money could be used for a sustainable outcome.


It's obvious to all that the numbers of Badgers carrying the disease that Owen Paterson puts out is total fabrication. No tests were done to give numbers carrying the disease and the test being done now show only I in 29 and even that was debatable.

Instead of turning the public against farmers with lies about wildlife Owen Paterson should be following other countries who are vaccinating against bTB.

No country has stopped Bovine TB by culling wildlife. Owen Paterson refuses to debate this because he knows he wrong on his facts.

Give us a debate Owen Paterson, stop hiding away whilst misleading farmers.



Standard payment tables paid across Engaland is £1000 for an adult unless you have private insurance aswell to top up , mostly pedigree breeders say that the insurance is unlikely as it covers the what if not the odds on you will get tb.

Again you miss the big point on cattle only measures and fortress defences wont stop an infected badger from passing on tb unless you get rid of tb in them the cycle of tb wont be broken. You will not admit the badger population is out of control nor will you match fund farmers on fighting the disease. The debate you long for will just be a shouting match if the BBC interview with the cheshire vet and farmer are to go by .Both were being shouted down by mr may who would not let them talk and refused to answer any of their questions to him the same is true of mr dyer his speeches have too many holes in his logic to be taken seriously. I don't believe the spin from politicians either . The cull seems to be about population reduction nothing else.


But we are not testing Badgers hedgehog we are just killing all Badgers, this years young will be slaughtered in the cull zone, so don't expect any sympathy from wildlife protectors.

We are never going to agree to the killing of healthy Badgers just to keep farmers happy.

Vaccinating badgers that may possible have bTB makes them less infectious and less likely to infect cattle that originally infected them.

A small amount of Badger may possibly have been infected with bTB from cattle, that doesn't mean we should kill all Badgers, how about just cleaning up the problem at the source.....the farm yard!

Ask yourself the question, Why is it that a farm can be in the middle of a hotspot and yet hasn't had any outbreaks? Might it be that his biosecurity is greater than the farm that continually infects wildlife?


About time you did test badgers then isn't it .

Regardless of who gave who what ( bit coy to say may possibly have tb ) cattle have testing etc and your precious badgers have nothing to prove their guilt or innocence . Same ole same ole over bio security how is it possible to keep out an animal equivalent of a tank , are you going to accept bovines kept indoors 365 days a year doubt it. Also if wildlife didn't come into farmyards how could they be infected when your mantra has always been that badgers dont come into yards to eat an easy food source . The AR speech about badger extermination is pure pr or hysteria or just plain ill informed . Farmers are just fed up with armchair critics like you with no idea what you talk about but expect us to pay for your little ideas but you wont match fund or even admit that the pets are a disease risk ie if/but/possibly/maybe badgers have tb and all those who do deal with tb know badgers have got and spread tb . The closed herd of 45 years annualy test cattle and pre move test animals off the farm and culled cows are visually inspected so a 60% faulty test is better than no test at all (Also the setts have quadrupled in 10yearson that farm ) . Why don't you id chip the vaccinated badgers is it that you are worried that they then become traceable and everyone will know that the "protectors" are moving them around the country to save them ! Await more pr delude science from Team Badger.


Yes, I can explain how a closed herd can have bTB.

1. 12 month testing - it's easily possible for a cow to pick up bTB from any number of sources (see 3.), and either develop its own immunity or pass it on to other cattle in the herd before it is detected 12 months later.

2. The test is only 70-80% accurate so it's possible to have bTB in the herd and not know it for more than one test cycle.

3. bTB is carried by most mammals but in a farm context foxes, deer and rats are far more significant vectors than badgers. Deer, in particular have a wider range than badgers or rats and will drink even from raised troughs. Equally, salt-licks attract them and many other mammals so should at least be high enough to prevent contact with badgers, foxes and rats.

4. Bio-security - not just on the closed herd farm but between the farm and its neighbours. bTB in cattle is predominantly a respiratory disease, passed nose to nose in droplets of moisture within the cow's exhaled breath. If a neighbouring farm has bTB then the closed herd farm can pick up the infection when cows come into contact at the farm boundaries. Here in bTB infected Gloucestershire, the smart farmers are double-fencing to prevent this happening - expensive, I know, but cheaper than losing one's TB-free status.

5. Human to cattle transmission. This is rare but eminently possible. In the recent 'cat with bTB' scare story it was found that the vet doing the research had a bTB positive cat and, given that vets are on and off farms all the time, it's a possible transmission route.

6. Badger culling - during the RBCT it was discovered that 'reactive culling' (unilateral localised culling of badgers in response to discovering bTB in cattle) spread bTB so fast that the experiment was stopped after two years. If your closed herd farm has a neighbouring farm with bTB and they start (illegally) culling badgers on a sporadic, localised basis then the disease can easily be pushed on to the closed herd farm. Settled badgers are creatures of habit and use 'latrines' (regular places to defecate and urinate) and also maintain rigorous social boundaries preventing mixing of individuals from other clans. But when disturbed by culling or sett interference they start urinating and defecating in random locations, and then move around outside their normal range. If they are of the 1% of badgers that are sufficiently diseased to be able to leave it on the ground then it is possible to spread it to a closed herd. However, we should remember that cows are choosy feeders and don't, if given the choice, feed on soiled grass.

7. Hunting - diseased cows excrete up to 60ltrs a day of highly infective slurry. They tend to congregate around field entrances and around troughs. Allowing up to 60 horses, 40 dogs and endless other followers to pass from farm to farm through such entrances is bound to spread the disease to a closed herd at some point.

Closed herds aren't isolated from the rest of the human or animal kingdom, they are not 'magic'. However, closed herds are often better looked after and therefore more likely to develop immunity from bTB. Herds that have to import cattle are often more stressed (production) or less well looked after, so bTB becomes a problem.


Closed herd ,

Surrounded by arable farms , no deer or rats(professional bait traps are untouched) the hunt are banned for all the reasons stated plus neospora risks. Cows are housed 365 days a year so grazing infection limited , most farmers do know all you quote but no-one on the badger side will admit that they enter farms and can spread tb. Until this happens all the blogs written are very political or AR or veggie motivated none deal with the realities of tb.


Sure, they CAN spread bTB but realistically, how often? The answer to that can be found in Wales. 48% reduction in cattle infections in four years while they vaccinate badgers instead of culling them. But - we know that whilst culling badgers is highly inefficient at reducing the disease (best case 16% reduction of spread in NINE years of killing) and in most instances has no effect or makes it worse, vaccinating badgers is 40-70% effective per year and is much cheaper. But get this (if you think you're an expert) the vaccination programme in Wales only covers 1.5% of the national herd (source Owen Patterson - Hansard) so what is accounting for 99% of the reduction in Wales? That's it, Einstein - improved cattle controls! Of course, no-one on the 'farming side' of this debate wants to admit that because then the public would realise that bTB is just another mess (BSE + F&M) that farmers have caused and are expecting the public to pay up to solve it - AGAIN!

It doesn't matter if you are surrounded by arable farms, you can still get the infection via humans. Anyway, I don't believe you keep your cows 100% hermetically sealed in sheds, why would you refer to 'grazing' and couch your reply in less than absolute terms (something you accused someone else of on this thread). But if your claim was true then it's impossible that badgers (or any other vector) are to blame, so why do you want to kill them? If your cows are infected under the conditions you claim with bTB then the only possible source is you yourself - get to a doctor and have yourself checked, mate. And if you are free of it then it can only be coming in with the feed, either directly or from the people handling it.

As for 'the badger side' you are underestimating where the opposition to this cull comes from. Many are scientists, many, like me are new to this kind of thing. We are rational, professional people who understand the epidemiology of this disease and many, like me, have lived in the countryside most of our lives. I have worked on farms, know many farmers and fully understand the rural politics that are really behind this cull.

Here in the Gloucestershire bTB hotspot 40% of our farms don't have bTB and never have had. You need to talk to them first before you have a go at badgers or any other species. I'm not anti-farmer or pro-badger, I just want a bit of honesty from the likes of you when it comes to the real origin of this epidemic and a bit of backbone when it comes to the solution. Farming is an industry like any other these days yet it gets more taxpayer support than any other - why? Why should other businesses be forced to clear up any infectious diseases on their premises a) at their own expense and b) face shut down, bankruptcy and prosecution if negligence is proved, but not farming? We're all working our backsides off and farmers are not a special case. Clearing the UK herd of bTB is going to be a long, hard struggle but it's a problem created by farmers and they should bear the brunt of the costs and actions required to rid themselves of it.

The problem farming now faces as a result of this cull is that the public are on to you 'big time'. You claim to be experts in what happens on farms but we've discovered you don't know the basics when it comes to keeping your stock free of disease. You claim to be 'guardians of the countryside' and we've now found that an alarming number of you are not up to the job. It's our tax money you're spending and we want it spent on solutions that work, not old wive's tales and rural superstitions about badgers.

It's not about badgers so stop wasting your time and our money pretending that it is.


What a load of bull !!

You claim to show no bias and new to this debate by your comments do you mean born yesterday ? Some of your statistics and claims at best are misleading or just fanciful/lies. The tired arguments on F+M and BSE are just beneath contempt and as for the taxpayers money do you mean the money paid into Europe or benefits ?

Of course tb is to do with badgers or do you believe thats Rudolph is the black and white animal walking through feed stores at night (Even you must have seen the video's). You try to blame anything and everything but the badger for tb and that is the truly incredible bit when everyone(even the badger trust)agrees that even a small percentage carry/suffer from tb. How many business's do you think would take notice of your concerns, try to interfere and they would tell you where to get off so why should farmers have to . Cheap food policies have led to the situation of today where economies of scale are sought but people like you dont want "mega" dairies either . The measures we take are to reduce the risk of tb not for idiots to suggest that we are the ones giving cows tb .

Stop wasting your money , mine is the one being wasted paying for testing, vets and labour costs doing tests you pay for nothing yet shout the odds. What other business's clean up my mess this is yet more nonesense . TB will never end by cattle measures alone when an infected animal is entering farmyards and reinfecting you the expert know this but wont hear of the facts just claim it's a farming problem . Pfft to you and all your ridiculous claims come back when you actually make a useful comment that makes sense not smokescreens and denial .


DB How many of the roadkill showed any sign of BTB ?


Sorry only one of the fist 29 tested.


Diane can you tell us how you know that. Thanks

Port Hill Boy

So Paterson continues to ignore evidence from vets and scientists, ignore financial effective considerations, and ignore public opinion.

He is a dangerous blinkered zealot. An embarrassment to his party and to Shropshire


Owen Patterson is just trying to save his face. He knows the badger cull pilots failed miserably on everything they were supposed to achieve!

We should not be following Ireland who do not have a brilliant background in animal welfare. The use of snares us appalling.

Wales would be a much better example to follow. They have improved bio security on farms and are reaping the benefits. On top of that they are vaccinating badgers, which should have a further positive impact on bTB.

Could Mr Patterson tell us please how many badgers remain in Gloucester and Somerset. Considering also the floods in Somerset? How does he know how many to kill without causing localised extinction?

Please stop putting the blame on badgers. Stop using badgers as a political tool and let's get to the real cause if bTB! Improve bio security on farms and go forward with vaccination of badgers and cattle! My own opinion is intense farming leaves a lot to be desired! Profit!

Stop persecuting our wildlife Mr Patterson!!!


Owen Paterson is able to read, write and talk, so I assume he has a functioning brain. If that's the case, it's hard to understand why he continues to insist on this idiotic cull in the face of so much informed opposition.

His stated aim is to eradicate bTB.

Well that's what everybody wants, but Paterson knows the pilot culls have not furthered that aim, and will not in the future further that aim. Indeed, due to perturbation the culls may well have made the situation worse.

He knows, from the report he sat on for so long, that the culls were neither efficient nor humane.

He knows that the weight of scientific evidence and opinion is very much against him, and that culling badgers will have at best a minimal effect on the incidence of bTB in cattle.

So why does he continue?

Is it really a sickening combination of face-saving, NFU appeasement and pressure from powerful individuals who want badgers off their land for reasons of their own?

If so, how does he sleep at night?

Badly, I hope.


The next election result should prove a good reflection of this man's efforts (not forgetting the £8k he had to pay back for expenses profiteering).


This man has been made to look foolish, he is now acting in an irrational way and has become blindly obsessive.


So far no evidence has been provided on up to date Badger BTB infection levels from this Cull. That must certainly be deliberate. On the contrary more evidence even quoting ISG and PLOS One indicates a low level.

“The RBCT coincided with the 2001 foot and mouth epidemic, which prompted almost a doubling of badger TB prevalence in 2002, followed by a fall once cattle testing resumed (Woodroffe et al. 2006). Three of the ten initial RBCT culls were conducted in 2002, during this period of elevated prevalence, so it could be argued that these three culls were not representative. Excluding them from the calculation gives an average prevalence of TB in proactively-culled badgers of just 5%.”

“Further analysis and modelling of data from the RBCT indicated that “...only 5.7% of the transmission [of bTB] to cattle herds is badger-to-cattle with the remainder of the average overall contribution from badgers being in the form of onward cattle-to-cattle transmission.”

Donnelly, C.A. & Nouvellet, P. (2013) The contribution of badgers to confirmed tuberculosis in cattle in high-incidence areas in England. PLOS Currents Outbreaks. 2013 Oct 10. Edition 1


Confirmation is required, but a recent quote on Badger Road kill post Mortem testing at Liverpool University for BTB indicated that of 29 so far tested only 1 Badger was found BTB positive.

A follow up letter from a Professor of Pathology states. “March 13, 2014 at 12:21 pm

I am pleased to see a continuation and extension of the veterinary school involvement in wildlife disease surveillance. For the past several decades pathologists in the former Department of Veterinary Pathology at Leahurst have carried out necropsies on badgers found dead on or near roads in Wirral (mostly with multiple injuries compatible with trauma from traffic accidents). During that long period there has not been any evidence of TB in those local badgers. Detailed post mortem reports and saved tissues are archived within the department and should be available for comparison with findings from the present survey to be based on a larger area in Cheshire.

Posted on behalf of Donald Kelly, Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Pathology


Road testing scheme,

Is this the scheme that the Cheshire vet, Cheshire farmer and the regional NFU are advocating farmers from that region take part in . If you find a dead badger ring the number (from the badger pack nfu sponsered in our case) and for the small fee the badger will be tested. The only resistance to this scheme was that when a farmer is photographed picking up the dead badger the likes of badgerists will presume that they are dumping the body not trying to find a solution by testing it.