An Broc (The Badger) is the newsletter of Badgerwatch (Ireland)
State moves away from killing badgers and will vaccinate them instead but is it too little, too late?
Badgers to be vaccinated to stamp out TB in cattle
Badgers are to be vaccinated as part of the State’s effort to eradicate tuberculosis (TB) in cattle, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has confirmed. Describing it as a “major shift”, Mr. Creed said the decision was “not a silver bullet” but was backed up by “years of scientific research” funded by his department. Over 100,000 badgers have been snared and shot unnecessarily over several decades, without reducing the spread of bovine TB. Mr. Creed stopped short of ending culling of badgers, but said that vaccination of badgers would become an “integral part” of the plan to eradicate TB in cattle, from this month. It said that while badgers are nominally a protected species, Department of Agriculture figures show that in some 6,161 badgers were “slaughtered” in 2016, including nursing mothers, and this left young to starve in their underground setts. To date, more than 100,00 badgers have been culled by DAFM. These are the validates figures from the Minister’s own Department, obtained by Badgerwatch over the years.
Mr. Creed said that vaccination of badgers would be carried out by staff from his department, beginning in the areas where field trials had demonstrated “the effectiveness of badger vaccination”. The vaccination programme will apply the Bacillus Calmette Guérin (BCG) vaccine, similar to that used in humans. “It will roll out incrementally to other parts of the country over time, with vaccination gradually replacing the need to remove badgers,” Mr. Creed said.
Bovine TB is caused by Mycobacterium bovis, which can also infect badgers and there has been ongoing debate over the level of transmission back to cattle by the animals. Mr. Creed’s department noted that Ireland is a signatory of the Berne Convention on the Conservation of Wildlife, and is committed to protecting Irish wildlife, and the long-term removal of badgers is “not a sustainable or desirable strategy”.
The Minister is almost certainly unaware of depositions from Badgerwatch, to the same Bern Convention regarding the use of the multi-strand wire snare and the unceasing of trapping for the duration of the animals’ breeding season which culminated in dependent cubs abandoned underground when nursing sows were trapped and killed. We understand that trapping procedures are required to retain 20% of populations in order to avoid total wipe-out of badgers in any locality. This has been ignored. Trappers continue snaring until full clearance of all setts has been achieved.Badger numbers are now at a critical level. Our once healthy population of circa 200,000 has been reduced to no more than 75,000 to 80,ooo. The future looks bleak. Snaring is set to continue along side the vaccine. In the coming years, the animal will have to cope with thousands killed annually on our roads, possibly the usual 6,000 taken out every year by DAFM and the numbers killed illegally in badger –baiting sessions we can but guess but is said to be high. It will be an up-hill struggle for the animal.
Monaghan sees an upsurge in BTB levels. Irish Indo. 14-8- 2018
"Action has to be taken to get to the root of the spread of infection and all identified reactors must be removed as quickly as possible to restrict further spread," said ICMSA beef chair Des Morrison. The ICSA's Hugh Farrell described the TB situation in Monaghan as a real concern, and he claimed that matters in the county could "get worse before they get better".
Pope’s Message points to our Irish hare
At the World Meeting of Families concert singer Rita Connolly gave a beautiful rendition of The Deer’s Cry, a time-honoured Prayer of Protection attributed to Saint Patrick.
Name and address c/o editor.
Sulky racing on public roads.
Driving young horses and ponies flat out at excessive speed on Ireland’s busy roads, often by young children, is seriously risking lives - their own, other innocent road users and horses.
In another incident the horse smashed into an oncoming car. The family of a young boy killed in an accident involving a sulky on a public road say they hope new regulations can prevent further loss of life. The twelve year old sustained catastrophic injuries after he was thrown from a sulky and caught under the axles of an oncoming truck.
Are horse owners not required by law to have their horses and ponies passported/chipped? Is it not an offence to have children under the age of 16 years in charge of a horse/pony on a public road?
It also brings into question, in the case of an accident, who pays for the damage and personal injuries that may be incurred by a third party? It’s past time for clarification. It’s also past time to call stop. No road user or unfortunate animal should have to suffer the consequences arising out of any mishap wished upon them in an encounter with this lately acquired activity.
Yours,Name and address c/o editor
The book reviewed below is due for Publication shortly:
TIME TO STOP RUNNING
Author: John fitzgerald.
If Watership Down was a PR boost for rabbits, here’s an equally deserved accolade to the gentle hare, an animal fêted in song and folklore. Tipsy the Hare takes on the deadliest foe of his species. A terrifying challenge awaits him... in a land where enemies abound and cruelty is worshipped like a minor god. For Tipsy, a hare living on an off-shore island, life is good, if not always wonderful: The winter months are tough...hares squabble among themselves as all creatures do ...over food, love, ruffled egos. And there’s the falcon that hovers high above and occasionally swoops to snatch a leveret (baby hare) from the world of the living.
Despite its drawbacks, Tipsy loves the familiar terrain: The soft sandy beach; the undulating fields and steep hills, rich in plant life; the lake with its calm pale blue surface that reflects the changing patterns of the sky; the bird colony where storm petrels co-exist peacefully with the hares; and the cave on the far side of the island where dwells the Golden Hare, spiritual leader of all the hares who rarely ventures out of his abode.
Tipsy is no ordinary hare. From birth he has been gifted with psychic powers, including the ability to converse with other species and out-run all other hares. The seasons come and go, and the hares get on with their lives. But danger looms across the ocean, on the Big Island known as Ireland.
From that fearful land boats arrive at dawn in the season of the fallen leaves. From the moment the Humaniks splash ashore nothing is the same again. The invaders are members of Ballycrossways Coursing Club, who aim to capture as many hares as they can for their live baiting fixture back on Broc Peninsula.
The invasion leaves the island hares devastated and terrified. The Golden Hare, having listened to their pleas, summons Tipsy to his cave. He has a mission for him that, if successful, will deliver from persecution the hares of both his own island home and the ones who dwell on the Big Island across the sea. And Tipsy is told by the Great One that a Humanik female will assist him in his mission.Other animals also feature in the novel. Tipsy comes to the aid of a badger and a fox, creatures unknown to his island home that he meets on the mainland.The Adventures of Tipsy is an impassioned plea on behalf of an animal that threatens no-one and yet must bear the brunt of man’s inhumanity.
Views expressed in An Broc may not necessarily be those of Badgerwatch (Ireland)
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