Tory MP attacks Labour's links to anti-badger cull lobby group

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By Western Morning News | Thursday, January 31, 2013, 07:30

A Westcountry MP has branded as "disgraceful" the revelation that the Labour Party accepted tens of thousands of pounds from a group with links to animal rights campaigners fighting the badger cull.

Neil Parish, who represents Tiverton and Honiton for the Conservatives, spoke out after Electoral Commission records emerged showing that Political Animal Lobby Limited had given nearly £140,000 to the party since 2001.

The company has strong links to Network for Animals, a pressure group which campaigned against British farmers who supported the badger cull.

The revelation instantly led to accusations that Labour was involved in a "cash for policies" relationship, although the party insists it has done nothing wrong and no donor exerts influence over their policies.

Mr Parish however was not convinced.

He said: "Labour Party policy has always been dictated by its Trade Union donors and now it seems Animal Rights organisations are doing the same.

"Under the last Labour government the number of cattle slaughtered because of Bovine TB rose six-fold from 4,102 in 1998 to 24,000 in 2010.

"During their years in government they refused to follow scientific evidence and carry out a controlled cull of badgers.

"That in opposition the Labour Party is taking funds from animal rights organisations in exchange for policy is utterly disgraceful instead of taking a scientific position on the badger cull."

According to the Electoral Commission, the most recent donation made by the Political Animal Lobby Limited was £50,000 in May last year.

In August, Mary Creagh, the shadow environment secretary, unveiled a campaign which aimed "to demonstrate the huge opposition to the Tory-led Government's plans to allow farmers to shoot badgers as part of measures to control the spread of bovine tuberculosis in cattle."

The following month she wrote: "Bovine TB is a terrible disease that needs to be controlled. This cull is not the way to do it."

In October the Government announced that it was suspending its plans for a badger cull, including one pilot zone in West Somerset, until later this year.

The Labour Party rejected the accusations and said they had opposed the cull since 2008.

A spokesman said: "We are grateful for the support of all our donors, however no donors have undue influence on our policymaking which is done in a transparent way. All donations are declared in line with Electoral Commission rules."



  • Profile image for fischadler

    Cattle is 100% from other cows Lesions almost entirely in lungs and pulmonary lymph nodes (bronchials and mediastinals ; Liebana; 6 a,b; 8, 15, 16, 19). Prolonged contact needed, one school study required 130 hours of shared classes to achieve transmission. Badgers popping into a barn for a drink and snack of cattle nuts wont "cut it"; besides, most badger barn visitations in summer when cattle out at pasture anyway !
    Afraid that the widely held belief that cows catch TB from badger urine with 300,000 bacilli/cc is wildly improbable. Some 99% drains straight into soil; rest disinfected by UV in sunlight within 3 days, so a cow most unlikely to ingest the minimum dose of c. 1 million bacilli, ie. 3 cc of fresh urine .. amusing anyway, that special pleading of conversion of ingested bacilli to aerosol by eructation ie. burping of rumen gases is also implausible(8). Francis (6) was very clear, cattle do not usually catch TB from contaminated pasture, unless via un-composted/bio-degraded manure/slurry spread direct ; indeed dont catch TB until they enter the cowshed when first calving . Slurry risk, Maddock/Schellner, in 8,20.
    NB. a huge difference from respiratory TB which CAN be via a single bacillus direct to thin walled alveoli. Ironically all this was clearly understood from a classic study a century ago :-Svensson 1904 , 13 calves caught airborne TB in a barn, separated by 6 metres from the main TB herd, 5 reacted by 6 m, other 8 after 1 year ..Contrast, badgers in a very artificial close confined yard experiment, DID give calves TB :-But, 4 exposed under 1 m didnt get TB, the other 5 reacted after 6 m (16).
    Cattle ARE major self-maintaing "HIDDEN" RESERVOIR OF TB (see cases "below "c" =Sea, Confirmed level in Two pyramids" figure ). Badgers are merely a spillover host, like dirty feeding pigs, wild boar, and locally commonest deer ; Sika Purbecks, Scotland; Red Exmoor; Roe Glos, Wilts even 1 Hants recently ;Fallow Chilterns, Hereford; 1 Muntjac Glos., and TB dies out when not topped up from cattle . SEE Section 2 (3) below :- Cattle pose a risk to badgers.
    Cattle Crisis is NOT mostly due to badgers since Despite UNBelievably , according to farmers/vets cattle-to-cattle spread is UNimportant.. it is simply an explosion amongst cattle (Surely they must realise this in bad herd breakdowns with 1/2 to 3/4 herd affected ! ?); It was just about plausible that at the low point Map 2, with 100 breakdowns/a, and similar numbers of TB badgers ; badgers might be the hidden self-sustaining reservoir ; BUT SINCE spread way beyond the supposed tiny badger TB hotspots in the southwest (maps 2 to 3-4 ) .. badgers are not moving outwards by 10 km a year, 99 % die in their natal clan territory.

    By fischadler at 11:59 on 05/02/13

  • Profile image for fischadler

    "New Science "Shock .. BADGERS INNOCENT .. ANY CULL/VACCINE HENCE UTTERLY POINTLESS (WHY shoot the messenger , miner's canary to cattle problem).
    Rather depressing that the 25th October debate whilst very well-intentioned, was badly misinformed, both on Perturbation and vaccines, Irish already well advanced on an ORAL badger one; the 3 year Kilkenny field trial of a badger one just ended, but 500 or so badgers in 755 ( 1/ 1 1/2 vaccinated wont have made any difference to cattle TB (10 , 5 Dec. 2012 first results in Plosone e 50807 online ).
    ABSOLUTE KEYSTONE/CORNERSTONE TO WHOLE GREAT BADGERS AND TB DEBATE :-Gallagher in Zuckerman 1980 p.86, 94 ... Cattle "Open lesion" infECTIOUS cases ; only 21 in 1000 reactors, 2 % SO ""In the context of the total bovine population, the number of cattle excreting bovine tubercle bacilli appears of no consequence in the maintenance of tuberculosis in badgers, and of very little consequence in its maintenance in cattle ".

    By fischadler at 11:55 on 05/02/13

  • Profile image for fischadler

    A . CATTLE
    1. VACCINATION. TB is like "Consumption or phthisis" in man, entirely a (broncho-) PNEUMONIA, acquired via droplet infection (think swine flu !) by prolonged contact with other cattle over-wintering in enclosed barns/yards,or in milking parlours; exactly like other Pneumonias especially of calves, be they viral :-IBR, PI3, RSN, BVD; bacterial: Pasteurella, Mannheimia, Haemophilus; or Mycoplasma..the pleuropneumonias. Vaccination of calves at birth with rearing isolated from main herd is commonsense. The VLA trials abroad of BCG show up to 75 % effectiveness, and the DIVA test distinguishing vaccinated from infected cattle has been available a decade :- depressing that an application to the EU for approved use not made long ago.. already clear EU would regard such favourably (G.Watson MEP procrastination just like " novel" IFN testing; or FMD pen-side test 2001; Why not get on with it !?
    2. CHRONIC HERDS/ANERGY. These are the pivotal problem underlying recalcitrant local hotspots : - 3 elderly cows non-reactor to skin tests ie. "anergic" caused 18 herd breakdowns or 10 % of breakdowns in the West Penwith (Lands end) study (20), so not surprising even this problem area went clear in 1985, with depopulation of a few key chronic herds (maps 2, 5, 6).
    Gopal's restocking study in northeast England found c. a third of breakdowns came from one Cheshire herd. With some 2000 herds currently been under restriction 10-16 years its disgracefully incompetent of DEFRA not to be tacking the matter urgently with different tests .. depopulation of very large herds, an uneconomic last resort. The active spreader anergic culprits could be found within DAYS using either and Antibody test or PCR :- Ireland routinely use the Enfer Chemiluminescent Multiplex ELISA ; the OIE have recently approved the IDEXX M .bovis Ab test. Cows with advanced TB may shed 38 Million bacilli/ day in 30 lbs of faeces (6a), so PCR on faecal swabs would provide a rapid resolution.

    By fischadler at 11:53 on 05/02/13

  • Profile image for Kindanimal

    Such outright hypocrisy - the Countryside Alliance not only supports the Tory party but also work to get pro-hunting candidates into government. At the last General Election the Countryside Alliance organised a group of pro hunting Tories - Vote-OK - to lobby in all the marginal seats in order to get Cameron, a hunter, in power and get the Hunting Act repealed. They were instructed not to mention the fact that they were pro-hunting. This in spite of the fact that up to 82% of the country do not want a repeal. Jake Blake is right - we have a corrupt political system.

    By Kindanimal at 09:22 on 05/02/13

  • Profile image for Charlespk

    Please read this and familiarise yourself with the subject. . Let me assure you I have lived in Somerset for the majority of my 68 years and have been studying the subject far longer than most. . If you really care about deer, badgers or our national beef herd you will support this cull.


    "1.Tuberculosis has a different manifestation in most species . In the badger it is fundamentally different from TB in cattle essentially due to the lack of development of a hypersensitivity response which is a prime feature of infection in cattle. Thus small numbers of organisms infecting cattle produce a vigorous cellular response which results in extensive cell death and the development of large cold abscesses in the affected tissues usually the lung and respiratory lymph nodes . This is in fact the host immune reaction to TB. Whilst causing disease and disruption to the affected organs the changes inside these abscesses strongly inhibit the TB bacteria and kill many of them.

    The badger does not show such a vigorous destructive reaction but rather a slowly progressive proliferative reaction which eventually results in cell death as numbers of bacteria increase markedly. TB lesions are thus relatively much smaller but contain relatively vastly more bacteria than those of cattle. TB bacteria do not produce toxins but rather cause lesions as a result of their highly antigenic cell walls to which different hosts may respond with greater or lesser aggression.


    2. Once a badger develops disease all the members of that social group are likely to become infected due to the confined living space in their underground tunnel systems, their highly gregarious nature and constant mutual grooming. But that seed of infection (the primary focus ) will usually only progress to produce disease and eventually death in a minority of cases. Latency is a feature of TB in many species and this is so in badgers and cattle. The bulk of infections in badgers, usually 70% or more will become latent or dormant. A small number of badgers may resolve the infection completely and self cure. But the latent infections remain fully viable and may breakdown under stress which may be of nutritional origin, intercurrent disease, senile deterioration or social disturbance and disruption. Some badgers may develop fulminating disease (Gallagher et al 1998).

    Badgers with terminal generalised tuberculosis can excrete vast numbers of bacteria particularly when the kidneys are infected. Counts of several million bacteria in a full urination have been recorded (Gallagher and Clifton-Hadley, 2000).

    When infection is acquired by a bite wound from the contaminated mouth of another badger, the bacteria are Inoculated either deeply subcutaneously or intramuscularly and rapid generalisation of infection usually occurs, causing progression to severe and often fatal tuberculosis which may develop in a matter of several months (Gallagher and Nelson, 1979). Respiratory origin infections have a longer duration and cases in an endemically infected population (Woodchester) have been monitored showing intermittent excretion of infection for a year, with the longest recorded case excreting for almost three years before death.

    The above ground mortality due to TB is estimated as about 2% of the population per annum. Thus in the South West alone with its now extensive endemically infected areas the annual deaths due to TB will be of the order of at least 1000 to 2000.

    Tuberculosis has an unfettered progress in the badger population and the cycle of infection and disease in the badger has long been known to be self sustaining (Zuckerman 1980). Over time the badger has become well adapted as a
    primary reservoir host of bovine TB infection."

    By Dr John Gallagher, a veterinary pathologist since 1972

    By Charlespk at 16:48 on 04/02/13


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