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Discussion over badger vaccinations

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: April 04, 2013

Comments (14)

AN ARMY of volunteers to administer TB vaccines to badgers has begun to take shape.

The group emerged from a meeting called by west Cornwall and Isles of Scilly MP Andrew George as part of a bid to tackle TB in cattle without resorting to a cull.

He said it was a very encouraging start: "I am delighted that so many are prepared to offer to become trained and licensed volunteers to assist in a vaccination project.

"It certainly won't be easy and could not proceed without the co-operation and support of local farmers."

The meeting in Penzance attracted about 40 people and in a show of hands most supported proceeding with the project, with many saying they wished to become more involved.

Professor Rosie Woodroffe, a senior fellow at the Institute of Zoology and one of the Government's independent scientific advisers, said she was delighted but warned that farmers must be brought on board.

"We can be as keen as we like but it's not going to work if we can't get on to farmers' land, and we won't get to do that if farmers see us as anti and against them," she said.

Professor Woodroffe said she was convinced a cull would lead to perturbation, a phenomenon where normally sedentary badgers are disturbed and flee their setts, spreading infection. However, she said vaccination was also problematic as there were many unknowns, such as how quickly the benefits would emerge.

The meeting also heard from Alex Raeder, from the National Trust, about a current project to vaccinate badgers on the Killerton estate near Exeter. He said that two and a half years in, the results were quite positive.

However, he warned: "If you want to have an impact on the disease you have to look at both (badger and cattle) together."

Cheryl Marriott of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust told the meeting vaccinating badgers on the Penwith peninsula could, by her "very rough estimates", cost more than £4 million.

At one point Mr George was heckled by a farmer, who accused the coalition Government of being uninterested in the industry and caring more about internal wrangling, referring to the resignation of Andrew Mitchell. "You're more interested in Plebgate," he said.

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  • Charlespk  |  April 08 2013, 7:48PM

    @IMSofPZ Monday, April 08 2013, 12:01AM My friend, if you actually understood what you were referring to, tuberculosis wouldn't be the problem it is. http://tinyurl.com/83xps4g (open in a new window)

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  • Charlespk  |  April 08 2013, 12:03PM

    An open letter from the Swiss Vet, Dr. Ueli Zellweger, sent to warmwell.com July 21 2009. DEFRA and its TB Vaccine for Badgers and Cattle. "The vaccine is called BCG which stands for Bacille CalmetteGuérin. This strain of bovine TB bacteria was found 88 years ago and has been the main one reproduced for vaccination ever since. It is common practice to cultivate virus and bacteria for a long time for after some 10 to 20 generations they tend to lose their power to infect but still may produce specific antibodies. BCG is rather an uncommon type of vaccine. In most infections the infected body copes with production of a large amount of specific antibodies within a few days which protect against an infection becoming serious trouble and these antibodies can be traced for diagnosis. This is not so with Tuberculosis for 2 reasons: 1. TB bacteria need 12 to 18 hours to multiply ( E. Coli takes 20 minutes only). 2. TB bacteria have a waxy coat - quite unusual in microbes - to which antibodies cannot attach themselves. Therefore the body' s defence against TB has to work by making an allergic type of reaction instead of antibodies, a reaction which is made use of when humans and cattle are skin tested for TB. In the past BCG was used for millions of doses for healthy young babies and in some countries it is still administered to a certain extent. It does not prevent an infection but minimizes the risk of it turning into a serious generalised form. BCG' s efficiency was never over 80% and new scientific papers say it is dubious to rely on it. The way BCG should work in already diseased badgers (and cattle) is highly questionable, meaning it is much more likely to produce adverse reactions such as awaking existing "silent" or low scale Tuberculosis. The Merck Veterinary Manual covering all aspects of Vet Medicine worldwide comments: "The BCG vaccine, sometimes used to control TB in man, has proved to be poor at protecting most animal species, and inoculation often provokes a severe local granulomatous reaction." This is likely to be a quite hurtful process and the vaccination site itself might well end up as an abscess. As seen in trials, one cannot trap more than 60% of all badgers roaming around. Therefore if 60 out of 100 badgers are vaccinated with a vaccine which is only efficient to a maximum of 50 - 80% ( in healthy animals! ) you end up with far less than 50 badgers with a rather dubious protection. It is well known and common practice that if you do not succeed to vaccinate up to 95% of all animals of a target species, the long term positive effects in an area are likely to be pretty close to zero. If BCG is used as planned by DEFRA there will be huge perturbation and stress for all badgers, high costs and risk that the whole project will backfire. In the hot spots some 50 % or more of all badgers might carry the TB infection already increasing the risk of TB spreading when being vaccinated and according DEFRAs plans all badgers should get a booster vaccination every 12 months making things even worse. Who will be liable when it all goes wrong?" Dr Ueli Zellweger MRCVS GST TVL Somerset - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Failure of the Mycobacterium bovis BCG Vaccine: Some Species of Environmental Mycobacteria Block Multiplication of BCG and Induction of Protective Immunity to Tuberculosis. http://tinyurl.com/cnkyoqd (open in a new window)

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  • IMSofPZ  |  April 08 2013, 12:05AM

    With regard to the 'waxy cuticle' of M. tuberculosis preventing antibody attachment see http://tinyurl.com/cpe9wvs giving a pictorial overview of the numerous studies showing mAb, including IgG, binding to this bacterium.

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  • IMSofPZ  |  April 08 2013, 12:01AM

    With regard to the waxy coat of M. tuberculosis preventing antibody binding see http://tinyurl.com/cpe9wvs giving a pictorial overview of the very numerous studies showing mAb, including IgG, attachment to this bacterium.

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  • Charlespk  |  April 07 2013, 10:49AM

    And this. http://tinyurl.com/8a7bwy9 (open in a new window)

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  • Charlespk  |  April 07 2013, 10:46AM

    No but they can cause this. http://tinyurl.com/d8lt2rj (open in a new window)

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  • newactivist  |  April 07 2013, 9:52AM

    I hear they caused the banking crisis too

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  • Charlespk  |  April 06 2013, 9:11AM
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  • Charlespk  |  April 06 2013, 9:08AM

    Try this. https://http://tinyurl.com/casw94o

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  • Charlespk  |  April 06 2013, 9:00AM

    Overview of Scrofula. Reference MEDSCAPE. "Tuberculosis (TB) is the oldest documented infectious disease. In the United States, pulmonary tuberculosis accounts for most tuberculosis cases. Scrofula is the Latin word for brood sow, and it is the term applied to tuberculosis of the neck. Cervical tuberculosis is usually a result of an infection in the lymph nodes, known as lymphadenitis. Extrapulmonary tuberculosis, such as scrofula, is observed most often in individuals who are immunocompromised, accounting for up to 50% of these cervical infections. Scrofula has been known to afflict people since antiquity, and during the Middle Ages, the king's touch was thought to be curative. In modern times, surgery has played a pivotal role in the diagnosis and treatment of scrofula. Over the past several decades, however, surgical intervention has played a decreasing role because it has been fraught with persistent disease and complications. As in pulmonary tuberculosis, antituberculous chemotherapy has become the standard of care for scrofula, and newer diagnostic techniques (eg, fine-needle aspiration) have replaced more invasive methods of tissue harvesting. Today, approximately 95% of mycobacterial cervical infections in adults are caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and the remainder are caused by atypical mycobacterium, or nontuberculous mycobacterium (NTM). In children, this trend is reversed, with 92% of cases due to atypical mycobacterium. NTM was first recognized as a cause of cervical adenitis in 1956. More than 50 species have now been identified, of which one half are recognized as pathogenic. Statistics indicate an increase in the prevalence and isolation of cervical lymphadenitis caused by NTM, far outnumbering tuberculosis as the cause of chronic cervical adenitis in children. The distinction has both diagnostic as well as therapeutic implications. Historically, scrofula was a term used to describe tuberculosis adenitis; however, NTM adenitis is included in the following text for completeness."

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