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back to article Badger bloodbath brouhaha brings 'bodge' bumpkin bank burgle bluster

Activists enraged by Blighty's badger cull claim they have hacked a financial biz used by UK farmers and swiped sensitive personal data. The animal-rights protesters bragged they infiltrated the computer systems of the National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society - an investment and insurance company closely linked to said …

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FAIL

As ocassionally happens.....

your efforts to appear clever have resulted in a headline that is completely incomprehensible.

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Re: As ocassionally happens.....

But isn't that half the fun? Trying to guess what the article is about without reading the subtitle or the article.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: As ocassionally happens.....

Bodger and Badger, Bodger and Badger

Lala lalala, Lala lalala!

Everybody knows

Badger loves MASHED POTATOES!

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jai
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Re: As ocassionally happens.....

Absolutely astounding and amazing alliteration application always appreciated anytime.

there's an art and a skill to alliteration which i evidently do not have, but i thourghly enjoy it when El Reg exercises it's literary muscles and applied it to the headlines.

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Re: As ocassionally happens.....

Eh? It's clearly comprehensible comrade.

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Re: As ocassionally happens.....

"But isn't that half the fun? Trying to guess what the article is about without reading the subtitle or the article."

I like to read the Daily Mash and reverse engineer in my head what the actual news story was from the parody.

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Re: As ocassionally happens.....

Came to the comments for the Bodger and Badger reference...

...was not disappointed.

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Anonymous Coward

This fucking dickheads seriously piss me off...

Awwww poor cudly wuddly badgers (hint they are NOT cudly, if you think so, go find one and give it a hug),it's cruel to kill them off humanely, much better they pass TB onto cattle, who in turn get seriously ill and have to be killed instead. BTW for those that don't know, we tend not to eat dairy cattle in this country.

I rank them along with the pricks that released mink into the wild that went on to kill thousands of native animals.

Still at least the foxes were harmless and don't cause any problems, not like any kids have been attacked by those oh so cute, furry little animals.

Cue the down votes from the townies and city kids.

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Ru
Meh

If only the problem were so clear cut.

I draw your attention to bits of work like this one: http://archive.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanimal/diseases/atoz/tb/isg/report/final_report.pdf, and specifically lines like this:

First, while badgers are clearly a source of cattle TB, careful evaluation of our own and others’ data indicates that badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain

and then have a think about why some people might not be entirely happy about the way things are proceding.

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Anonymous Coward

Not all Farmers agree Badgers should be culled. Some of us aspire to keep our designer jeans and minds clean of the muddy realities of country living and promote the urban / social agenda.

Adam Macy

The Archers

BBC Broadcasting House

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Hmmmm

You seem to be outraged by actions resulting in the killing of thousands of native animals, and call the people responsible, 'pricks'. Just saying.

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g e
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Meh

Can we all agree perhaps

That these Animal Rights Super Elite Sysops (ARSES) need to get out and cuddle some badgers then report back how fluffywuffy they are tooth face to face?

Assuming they ever really did what they claim which, given that Anonymous do this kind of thing on a daily basis and still never claim this depth of access (that I remember recently at least), seems like bullshit.

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The problem is there remains a lack of good research either way - the Krebs study which so many papers draw on is pretty much junk. The basic methodology fails, and even if it didn't, hunt saboteurs and badger lovers have spent a lot of time vandalising the traps that were laid, which means the "culls" in those studies often represented very few badgers actually caught. Plus there were problems with land access, performing a cull across the entire study area, etc.

The shooting-based cull should actually remove a decent number of animals, so the effect of a genuine cull can be established (because as I say, the reports that protesters are quoting are ones which were compromised in the first place by protesters vandalising the traps amongst other things!).

Even if it doesn't work on the TB front, heck, it reduces the population of Badgers from their unnaturally high levels on account of the top-level predator is banned from preying on them...

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Meh

Aye, and I wonder how many of these bearies will be thinking the same when their ankles are caught in their jaws?

The trouble is that badgers have had years of good PR in the media which perpetuate the myth that they are sweet little creatures. They appear, for example, in children's books as the kindly village copper when really they should be depicted as the then SPG beating suspects in the police cells for the fun of it.

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Jesus, can we stop with the strawman that all animal activists think cute ikkle badgers are all cuddly-wuddly? Or indeed that we're city folk? I grew up in the countryside, I'm well familiar with badgers. They're fucking bad-asses, which is the reason I like 'em.

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I'm on the fence on this one

It's not nice to see any species being culled but it's sometimes necessary for the ecosystem as a whole. Deer immediately spring to mind as an example.

It might just have been where I was in St John's Ambulance as a kid and therefore read up more on badgers but I'm under no illusions that they are adorable fuzzy wuzzy creatures. They can be vicious little sods - the American badger for example can disembowel a coyote and is capable of even seeing off freaking *bears*. It's European equivalent shouldn't be any less capable, given it's half as large again as its American counterpart.

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"townie" here

Regardless of cuddliness, if it's a choice between shooting native wildlife, or making commercial livestock farming uneconomical, I'd go for the former every time, even if it put an extra £0.50/l on the price of milk.

If this keeps going, maybe we'll see the red tractor becoming something people avoid? Next time I'm in the supermarket I'll be checking whether it's actually possible to buy imported milk, and trying it out if so.

(It doesn't justify hacking organisations which may or may not have a connection to the cull though.)

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Anonymous Coward

Cue the down votes from the townies and city kids.

Preposterous, there is no way you are from the country as if you were you wouldn't have an internet connection

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IT Angle

Bas-asses

Try the Honey Badgers in South Africa - that is serious bad-assery! They are the Chuck Norris of the animal kingdom.

http://www.honeybadger.com/

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Anonymous Coward

Cull is pointless

Animal rights activists often seem to prioritise animals welfare above human welfare but in this case there is scientific consensus that badgers are very small part of the spread of bovine TB. The Krebs report reached exactly this conclusion and the fact that areas with no badgers have TB is a very strong argument.

The most likely explanation for the spread of TB in cattle is modern farming practices especially large scale cattle movements and the keeping of cattle in crowded conditions.

Farmers do not want to change farming practices and are a very powerful loby group so have persuaded the givernment to follow an at best marginal policy. It is difficult not to be opposed to a policy that will result in a lot of money being spent on killing a lot of animals without making a significant difference to the problem.

If we really want to reduce TB we either have to use vacines (hits farmers profits) or change farming practices (hits farmers profits). This is never going to happen paticularily as farmers are compensated by the government for every case of TB found.

None of this means the alleged hackers were entitled to attack the NFU (if indeed they did).

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@Ru. Yes this report is a very interesting piece of political theatre in its own terms.

The report is commissioned by Ed Milliband and was contradicted by other reports, but we don't even need to look at the other reports to understand why it reached a "the jury's out" conclusion.

1. From the very report you have quoted, "As expected, proactive culling reduced TB incidence in cattle in culled areas."

In other words culling works where it is done.

2. The next sentence "this beneficial effect on cattle breakdowns was offset by an increased incidence of the disease in surrounding un-culled areas."

In other words badgers wanting a bit if hanky-panky, relocated to where the opposite sex were less likely to have been shot resulting in an increase in the disease in areas where badger culling wasn't done.

3. Then here is the "reveal" as to Ed Milliband's influence on this report. In the report, when explaining why they had drawn *a different conclusion to the report commissioned by the Republic of Ireland* (also based on scientific study and which concluded culling works) the report states:

"while the medium term culling strategy in the Republic is to eliminate, or virtually eliminate, badgers from 30% of the land mass, the ISG was directed by Ministers [read Ed Milliband] at the outset of the RBCT that the elimination of badgers from large tracts of the countryside was politically unacceptable, and that badger welfare issues must be taken into account."

In other words this report does in fact prove Badger culling works, but as Farmers themselves (who really do know a thing or two about animal husbandry) have said all along, it has to be done comprehensively as a nationwide program.

Ed Milliband's terms imposed on the report production were akin to the request "what is the conclusion if we don't let you have a nationwide program?"

The scientist, confronted by a government minister holding the keys to his funding chest, wrote the above conclusion, but - not quite able to wholly abandon his profession - left in the detail to show he is after all a scientist. And so we see the conclusion of this report was rendered political bollocks by the very terms if its production on behalf of the party that banned fox hunting and whose voter constituency is urban. We can re-write the conclusion thusly:

"Since I am being leant on to show Badger Culling doesn't work, and it really doesn't work if there are political constraints in place such that it can't be done comprehensively and I'm being told those political constraints ARE in place, I can maintain a thread like link to scientific credibility if I simply agree if Farmers aren't allowed to do the job properly we can't conclude that it works."

This sort of thing really does depress me. But i nevertheless find it fascinating. So though this post is long enough, for those still interested in the minutiae of political spin read on.

It's so there in our faces for those who bother to look read and think for themselves.

Here is some more detail which really shows spin in full flow:

"The results of the RBCT are consistent with those from similar studies carried out elsewhere, notably in the Republic of Ireland. While the ‘Four Areas Trial’ in the Republic has received particular attention for having reported greater reductions in cattle TB incidence than were apparent in the RBCT, we have advised Ministers that the claim that these findings could be replicated in GB are unsubstantiated and must be treated with considerable caution. The Four Areas Trial differed from the RBCT in a multitude of ways, including trial objectives, trial design, farming practice, environmental conditions, badger ecology, capture methods, and social attitudes (particularly towards badger welfare); these differences help to explain the differing conclusions drawn from the two studies and mean that conclusions drawn from the Four Areas Trial cannot be extrapolated to Britain."

E.g. They provide a list of reasons the conclusions from the Northern Ireland trial cannot be extrapolated to the UK all of which, really, any sane scientifically aware person will know are going going to make virtually no difference to the basic mechanic and effect of the policy "see Badger, shoot it" but include last in the list the real differentiating factor.

"social attitudes (particularly towards badger welfare)"

But before talking about this last factor. Stop. Stand back. Engage brain - especially scientific brain. Are "farming practice, environmental conditions, badger ecology" really going to encompass significant differences in the face of the raw mechanic of "see Badger, shoot it" which justify a different conclusion to the trial from the conclusions reached in the Republic if Ireland? Do badger's over here meet and have TB spreading Samba parties on a Friday night? Does water on our farms flow uphill? Are there differences that list that will make a real substantive difference. Really?

Or is this obfuscation and pseudo science babble designed to distract attention from the real significant factor on the list "social attitudes (particularly towards badger welfare)"

We have already seen is what really let the DEFRA scientist off the hook and allowed him to include (then current) government policy where the fact they had already made it clear they would not allow a nationwide cull, as one of the factors in the study!!!

Good boy, here are the keys to that funding chest.

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Re: "townie" here

Woops - I meant "go for the latter", in the first paragraph.

"Edit Post" function plz?

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Re: I'm on the fence on this one

"Deer immediately spring to mind as an example."

Bring back wolves, problem solved.

Sometimes people go off one because the animal is "cute" or because of an ideological stance (take the culling of hedgehogs on the islands where they are not native - that got turned into a rescue operation :-S).

Agriculture has screwed the natural order of things (because agriculture is a unnatural) and this means that we (humans) sometimes have to do things that nature would normally do for itself (like wolves reducing deer numbers,but we killed all the wolves to protect our agriculture).

Will killing badgers help TB in cattle? I'm not so sure. Will it be a massive cost? Yes. Will it be a total bugger? Yes. Would I trust DEFRA to find its own arse with both hands and a copy of Gray's Anatomy? No*.

But if the (unbiased, peer-reviewed, publicly available) science says a cull is the answer, then a cull is the answer (in a test area at least).

* I think we can all remember the cluster-fuck that was the cull when dealing with BSE.

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Re: Bas-asses

> They are the Chuck Norris of the animal kingdom.

There is no chin under Chuck Norris' beard, just a honey badger.

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Re: "townie" here

> "Edit Post" function plz?

There is one, but it's only available for a short time. I'm also not sure id Bronze badge holders get it.

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Anonymous Coward

but Fun !

Hedgerow vermin - where I live we're knee deep in the stripey little buggers - they keep you awake at night, coughing and wheezing. That's when they aren't tunneling under crops or killing headgehogs, or eating skylarks' eggs.

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Anonymous Coward

Only genocide is sufficient

So what you are saying is: It works as long as we kill all the badgers?

I don't see why wiping out a native species as far as possible in order to reduce incidence of a livestock disease is considered remotely acceptable by anyone. But of course DEFRA is the boggle-eyed mooncalf of the state, so it's plausible that this idea makes perfect sense to them.

The smart money is on the companies who sell badger-friendly milk or milk alternatives labelled as such. They are the ones who stand to profit. Much as I want farmers to be able to make a living, they have chosen to make a bed that they will have to lie in with regards to this issue.

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Anonymous Coward

spot on!

at last someone else who knows a bit about the Krebs trial and speaks some sense! Krebs was my old boss when he was at NERC. The Krebs trial was so messed about with by animal right loonies that it is as you say junk. The whole point of that TRIAL and the current TRIAL is that THEY ARE TRIALS! Let them get on with the TRIALS and then evaluate and peer review the outcomes when complete, then base the policy on that. Badgers aren't the only issue but they are a large part of the problem and do need addressing. Trouble is they are sooooo cuddley, a lot more so than those nasty ugly smelly cows that have to be culled.

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Facepalm

Re: I'm on the fence on this one

"Will killing badgers help TB in cattle? I'm not so sure. Will it be a massive cost? Yes. Will it be a total bugger? Yes. "

Not really. Farmers and pest control types already spend plenty of time hunting foxes, rabbits, deer and various bird species to protect livestock and crops. If licensing for badgers is rolled out, then anyone with fox calibre or better can just knock off badgers at the same time. This cull will cost money because it's a targeted event, but integrated into normal pest control activities it will cost next to nothing.

I have to say I have found it amusing how many people have been shocked at the idea of people being out in the countryside shooting "How long till they shoot someone!?!?" They ask, apparently unaware that each and every week tens of thousands of farmers and pest controllers go shooting, but they have to hold fire on badgers and can only take what's on the relevant Natural England General Licence.

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Re: I'm on the fence on this one

"I have found it amusing how many people have been shocked at the idea of people being out in the countryside shooting"

And they'll complain about it as they tuck into venison, pheasant or rabbit!

I'm just not convinced nuking the badgers will solve the issue. I think (and I am prepared to be wrong) the main issue is a human one - dodgy farming practises.

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Re: I'm on the fence on this one

I'd get off the fence, and hide behind it. You might get shot.

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Facepalm

And what about the down-votes from us country folk, got a poorly thought out argument for us too?

Not everyone in the countryside agrees with everything the Countryside Alliance spouts.

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Devil

Re: I'm on the fence on this one

> Bring back wolves, problem solved.

This from the same class of people that would not tolerate packs of pet dogs wandering around by themselves.

Wolves are a lot bigger and more vicious.

They're villains in fairy tales. There's a good reason they aren't lurking around cities anymore.

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Mushroom

Re: Only genocide is sufficient

> I don't see why wiping out a native species as far as possible in order to reduce incidence of a livestock disease is considered remotely acceptable by anyone.

What? You've got nowhere over there where wild animals can roam without running into livestock?

No wonder you people think that populations should be systematically disarmed. You have no nature left.

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Growing up in a town or city does not mean you have no clue about the countryside or wildlife either, after all I'm not congratulating the country folk on working out this newfangled internet thing.

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Re: Bas-asses

Very much so, tough little bastards and not to be crossed! The SA Army's toughest armoured troop carrier is named after them - Ratel (local name).

Forget the name of the American author and the book but the phrase "the honey badger like the American female always goes for the groin..." stuck in my mind.

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Unhappy

Nicey Nicey Farmer Giles!

"we tend not to eat dairy cattle in this country."

How humane! Except, farmers tend to cut the throats of the male dairy cattle calves and dump them outside the the premises of the local pack. Hence the signs and cameras outside their premises threatening people who dump carcases with prosecution. And hence the reason farmers support the hunt.

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Re: "townie" here

""Edit Post" function plz?

It may be a pain in the arse, but: "withdraw post" / "copy/paste/repost"

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Re: "townie" here

"> "Edit Post" function plz?

There is one, but it's only available for a short time. I'm also not sure id Bronze badge holders get it."

silver and above only :(

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Bearded activists?

Badgers are used to make shaving brushes, so I'm just guessing.

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Re: Bearded activists?

I have one of those shaving brushes, but I bought it from the Body Shop so I'm sure that it (and most) are made from artificial fibres that have been coloured to look like badger hair. Besides that, consider the difficulties involved in combing a badger and gathering the hairs, etc.

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Anonymous Coward

You think that's an overreaction?

You should see the international outcry that we cop when we even suggest culling some of our sex crazed, starving koalas.

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Re: You think that's an overreaction?

If they're starving do they need a cull? Won't Darwin take care of that?

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Well done dickheads

National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society insures more than just farmers. In fact anyone can join and receive the benefits of some of the most incredibly cheap insurance that you will ever encounter.

I am against the cull of badgers and would prefer that farmers sort out their biosecurity. I am not against businesses carrying out legitimate business.

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Re: Well done dickheads

I used the NFU to insure my Land Rover Defender for 6 years (IT worker, 15 years no claims and clean license for 22 years) until they increased my premium by 100% at renewal time.

Reason: everybody drives 4x4s these days...bye bye NFailU.

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Re: Well done dickheads

I had my car insured with NFUMIS for many years. One clause in the policy I did think was fun was they would compensate me for loss of earnings if a road user blocked the entrance/exit to my land making me unable to do my work. I have a bus stop right outside the house and the back end of the bus frequently caused me to have to wait to access my little driveway or get onto the road. It could have been claims galore.

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Brilliant but boring

Brilliant but boring bullshit bordering banality.

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There is little evidence that I have seen to link badgers with cattle issues only circumstantial presumptions acting like seal cullers.Rather than mediacte the Badgers farmers seem hell bent on taking the easy path of removing what is ASSUMED to be the problem.

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Have you ever tried to catch and vaccinate a badger? Not really a fun evening...

Now multiply that over the vastly over-crowded Badger population in the UK. As a taxpayer I don't see it as good value at £600 a go...

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Ru

There is little evidence that I have seen to link badgers with cattle issues

The balance of evidence suggests that badgers can and do carry Bovine TB, and would appear to be a vector in its distribution between herds. Research also suggests that killing 70% of the badgers in the UK would only result in a 16% drop in bovine TB incidence... this is why culling isn't the best idea, not because badgers are unrelated to the problem

farmers seem hell bent on taking the easy path of removing what is ASSUMED to be the problem

They have sound financial reasons for wanting to do something, and a really cynical observer might suspect that the government might allow culling trials to go ahead in areas filled with the farmers who are complaining loudest about TB, if only to keep them quiet for a bit whilst a more practical solution is worked on.

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