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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  1. Mr Nobody 1
    FAIL

    As ocassionally happens.....

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

    1. Benjamin 4

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As ocassionally happens.....

        Bodger and Badger, Bodger and Badger

        Lala lalala, Lala lalala!

        Everybody knows

        Badger loves MASHED POTATOES!

        1. Mako
          Thumb Up

          Re: As ocassionally happens.....

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

          ...was not disappointed.

      2. auburnman
        Thumb Up

        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.

    2. jai

      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.

    3. The BigYin

      Re: As ocassionally happens.....

      Eh? It's clearly comprehensible comrade.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. 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.

      1. rh587 Silver badge

        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...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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.

      2. SuccessCase

        @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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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.

          1. JEDIDIAH
            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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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

      1. g e
        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.

    3. frank ly

      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.

    4. BongoJoe
      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.

      1. joeW Silver badge

        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.

        1. tony2heads
          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/

          1. The BigYin

            Re: Bas-asses

            > They are the Chuck Norris of the animal kingdom.

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

          2. Scroticus Canis
            Thumb Up

            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.

        2. Triggerfish

          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.

      2. Thomas 4

        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.

        1. The BigYin

          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.

          1. rh587 Silver badge
            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.

            1. The BigYin

              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.

          2. JEDIDIAH
            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.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'm on the fence on this one

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

    5. S4qFBxkFFg

      "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.)

      1. S4qFBxkFFg
        FAIL

        Re: "townie" here

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

        "Edit Post" function plz?

        1. The BigYin

          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.

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            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 :(

        2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: "townie" here

          ""Edit Post" function plz?

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

    6. Anonymous Coward
      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

    7. Anonymous Coward
      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).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

    8. phuzz Silver badge
      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.

    9. SteveB299
      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.

  3. Ole Juul

    Bearded activists?

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

    1. frank ly

      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.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You think that's an overreaction?

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

  5. ukgnome
    Thumb Down

    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.

    1. muttley
      FAIL

      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.

    2. lawndart

      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.

  6. Fearless

    Brilliant but boring

    Brilliant but boring bullshit bordering banality.

  7. Arachnoid
    Thumb Down

    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.

    1. rh587 Silver badge

      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...

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        As a taxpayer I don't see it as good value at £600 a go...

        even though that might actually help to eradicate TB - along with the tighter TB testing in cattle that appears to be working in other countries.

        So you'd rather pay for continual ineffectual culls which would be considerably more expensive per badger and save the farmers 0.3% of their stock? Any farmer who has TB on their farm suffers greatly - but the overall cost to the 'industry' is negligible in percentage terms. I'd have thought a better solution to the problem - the suffering of affected farmers - would be better solved by mutual insurance.

    2. 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.

      1. Miek
        Coat

        Can't we just eat Horses instead ?

  8. Norman Hartnell

    They have TB in cattle in New Zealand, but no badgers. If we killed off every badger in the country, TB would almost certainly find another transmission vector.

    It was discovered some time ago that the factor that has the highest correlation with the spread of TB is the movement of cattle around the country, but it seems there is little enthusiasm for rearing, slaughtering and selling meat within the same area...odd, that.

  9. Terry 6 Silver badge
    Devil

    Agnostic

    I'm not too happy about the idea of killing lots of wildlife on the grounds that this MIGHT protect cattle.

    I *do* object to protestors moving outside the realm of protest and disruption and into direct attacks on people, whether physical or virtual.

  10. Alain Moran
    Flame

    Wow ... what a bunch of incompetent fools ... don't they realise that NFU will insure anyone who lives in a rural area?

    I'm a coder, I've always been a coder ... and my house & car are insured through the NFU.

    A mate of mine (who is a builder - he lays flooring) put me onto them because they're often cheaper and more flexible to deal with - I switch back and forth between running a Morris Minor, and a modern car when the Minor is off the road, so it means my no-claims for the modern often goes 'out of date' - the NFU were the only company who would pick up my no-claims and give me a reasonable quote.

    1. The BigYin

      Not just rural either, NFU are expanding. I found them to be a bit pricey, but not by a heck of a lot.

      1. Yet Another Commentard

        NFU - also a mutual

        As in, no pesky shareholders ranting about dividends and increased profits.

  11. The BigYin

    Follow the science

    Is the science clear-cut? Or does it vary by region? i.e. in some badgers are the problem, in others not really.

    Are badgers actually the main issue though, or is their being infected a symptom of a deeper issue?

    I thought the biggest issue would have been framing practices like "cottaging" (e.g. move cattle to one area for a few nights in order to dupe the consumer).

    1. dogged

      Re: Follow the science

      It's relatively clear cut, where studies are not publicized in advance. If they are publicized, they tend to be wrecked by those who would like the outcome to "prove" that culling doesn't work.

      In non-compromised studies -

      1. TB incidence in cattle reduces sharply following a badger cull

      2. TB incidence in cattle rises sharply in areas directly adjacent to any badger cull

      3. TB incidence in badgers reduces sharply following a badger cull

      I find the third outcome interesting, as it seems to indicate that the sick badgers are the ones slow/ill enough to get culled. One could infer that a cull therefore substitutes for the influence of a natural predator in terms of species health.

      1. rh587 Silver badge

        Re: Follow the science

        Quite.

        In any normal ecosystem the old or ill animals are picked off by predators (why chase/fight/kill a strong animal when you can pick off another for far less effort?).

        We have removed any semblance of a natural predator for the Badger, and as a result those specimens remain as a a reservoir for disease in the population.

        bTB or not, the badger population is massively and artificially high, and an artificially high density of Badgers will of course increase transmission of bTB between badgers. So no, it's not the only vector, but keeping badger populations at a sensible level has been shown to reduce incidence of TB in both Badgers and Cattle - which can only be a good thing.

        Along a similar line, some of the Deer Sanctuaries run by the more happy-clappy members of our nation had some of the most mangy, sickly herds in the country until they finally accepted that leaving deer to die of old age is neither natural or good for the health of the herd as a whole.

        Additionally, in times where food becomes scarce, having sick animals in the herd reduces the food that can go around, malnourishing otherwise the healthy members of the herd, making them more susceptible to the diseases that those sickly animals are harbouring!

      2. The BigYin

        Re: Follow the science

        "I find the third outcome interesting, as it seems to indicate that the sick badgers are the ones slow/ill enough to get culled."

        I don't like where that could lead...TB-immune super-badgers. They'll take over!

        Are those three summary points from Krebs? I thought Krebs was meant to be bunk (comments above).

        1. dogged

          Re: Follow the science

          No, from the 2006 Republic of Ireland study.

          1. Tom 7 Silver badge

            Re: Follow the science

            As far as I can tell the number of animals killed rather than eaten is about 30,000 a year out of 10million - 0.3% - wiping out TB isn't going to change the price of your burger but older animals taste better so TB restrictions benefit the customer.

            The farmer will never benefit no matter what while we have the supermarkets controlling the market . I dont blame the farmer for being angry and wanting to kick bottom but badgers are the least of their problems.

    2. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Follow the science

      I think the case for badger cull is clear cut, there are simply too many of those since humans killed majority of predators which kept their population under control. For explanation see The Rise of the Mesopredator

      Flames since obviously cuddly ecologistas will loudly pretest against us, humans, taking the role of wolfes we killed first.

  12. Tanuki
    Thumb Down

    Forget the hacking issue: some of us want to know what is going to happen to all the culled Badgers!

    I checked over on the "River Cottage" website and there are no Badger recipes - yet.

    [I'd suggest Pâté as suitable for one's first exploratrions of the realm of Badger-cuisine].

    1. Anonymous Coward 15

      Badger, badger, badger, mushroom, mushroom.

    2. David_H
      Alert

      Taste and other thing

      What does badger taste like?

      Rank, and that's if you can get over the smell !

      They are a bloody menace on the roads - they wait in the hedge bottom until the last moment, apparently hypnotised by the lights, before running into your car. If you're not driving something with plenty of ground/bumper clearance it's always costly - and most of the time they shake their heads and run off to do it again later! Imagine hitting a medium sized pig, but with attitude!

      On the science front, all the well done studies are indicative of a positive effect on bovine TB in areas of culls, but as in Eire there are nearly always other factors involved; better biosecurity and annual tests of cattle, for instance. IIRC in the past 30 years ROI bovine TB has dropped hugely whereas in the UK, with no similar controls, it has increased to similar levels from almost nothing.

      From someone with a finger on the farming pulse, and a scientist I would want to see this current trial continue without hindrance from the protestors so that we can get good result from which proper conclusions can be taken - I fear this will not happen, as in all the other publicised trials – ruin the trial and the badgers will be culled without us getting useful data, either way. But, I would also like to see other trials taking place with better biosecurity for one, and secondly, annual TB testing in herds and testing before shipping. Yes, the second two will be more costly in monetary value, but will have a better publicity value – something that is important with farmers’ milk customers. A combination of the results of three trials like this will show how much each of them actually plays in the studies from Eire etc. where they have been combined into one study.

      And for those of you who just blame farmers for bringing this on themselves through cost-cutting measures and general sloppiness, I can assure you that we have one of the most regulated farming industries in the world, with top welfare standards, unlike much of the cheap imports that fill the supermarket shelves. UK farmers have always known that contented, well fed animals produce the best meat or milk. (Different milking herds even have differing preferences over which radio station is playing in the milking parlour!) As with everything else, you have to pay a little more to get the quality product produced in the best way, and if you can’t find British on your supermarket shelf, please support your local butcher or shop.

      Young Farmers Clubs (open to anyone aged 10-26 and with an interest in the future of the countryside, be that farming, conservation or communities) often debate such topics and ensure that both sides of any topic are well known to all members. Having well informed young people from a mix of town and country backgrounds has helped to provide a good framework for the evolution of the countryside for over 80 years. This type of background means that most farmers have a very good understanding of rural matters from all sides. Please don’t castigate them as gun toting eco terrorist; find out all that they really do to keep the countryside in as good health as people expect. Respect that they have to keep a balance between nature and nurture. Engage with them and allow them to continue evolving based on the results of well-run trials without ruining them.

      It is not incongruous that I can work at the forefront of aerospace electronics and computing design, and still be Deputy President of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs. I am part of the future of the countryside, just the same as everyone else, and through Young Farmers we give young people from all backgrounds a voice in that future. Everyone has a voice, make it well informed, and let them have a choice.

      This was my personal rant, and not necessarily representative of anyone else.

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      "Forget the hacking issue: some of us want to know what is going to happen to all the culled Badgers!

      I checked over on the "River Cottage" website and there are no Badger recipes - yet.

      [I'd suggest Pâté as suitable for one's first exploratrions of the realm of Badger-cuisine]."

      Yeah. This is the important question

      What's brock pie taste like? Gamier than cat? Milder than rabbit?

      I worked in a Japanese office. The only question about a 4 legged animal is breakfast, lunch or dinner?

  13. Lamont Cranston

    If we acceot that farmers need to earn a living,

    and that we all need food, wouldn't the PETA-types be best served by badgering* MEPs and the like so that vaccinating cattle against TB doesn't result in the beef being classified as unfit for consumption?

    *pun intended

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: If we acceot that farmers need to earn a living,

      That is something I've thought for some time, but I am not terrible well informed of the arguments for/against.

      The issue of culling populations of wild animals is a different one, and I am not going to get into it due to lack of information.

      The issue of hacking the websites of peripheral bodies is also a different one, and one that strikes me as being stupid and wrong.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Someone has to say it

    We need a badger icon :)

    1. Lamont Cranston

      And a mushroom.

      But not a snake.

    2. Don Jefe

      Re: Someone has to say it

      There used to be a badger icon, said 'badgers' right on it it did. But El Reg got rid of it when they introduced the preschool icons now being used.

  15. Frogmelon
    Alert

    Badgers, badgers, badgers....

    This situation could soon mushroom out of control.

    It's a veritable snake in the grass.

    I tell you: it's a snake.

  16. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

    It is an offence to possess or control a dead badger

    ...any part of one, or anything derived from one.

    Don't you just love statute law like this?

    How the fuck do you control a dead badger?

    So the dead badgers have to be destroyed, it would be far better if the carcasses were put to good use.

    What does badger taste like? If it's fairly ropy why not use it in dogfood?

    I for one would like a badger skin rug.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: It is an offence to possess or control a dead badger

      The easiest way to control a dead badger is to install Linux on it: http://www.strangehorizons.com/2004/20040405/badger.shtml

    2. nsld
      Coat

      Re: It is an offence to possess or control a dead badger

      Well thats Derek Accorah stuffed then.......

    3. Yet Another Commentard

      Re: It is an offence to possess or control a dead badger

      I have never eaten badger, but living on an (arable) farm I can confirm they stink. We have quite a few corpses on the roads from interactions with traffic. The main use of them seems to be dog amusement - ours make a beeline for corpses to roll in the remains. Trust me, they stink. No matter how tasty they may be preparing one would make you gag.

      Maybe they could be recycled as dog distraction devices.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: It is an offence to possess or control a dead badger

        Badgers dont smell anymore than any other animal that's been lying by the side of the road in the sun for a week - its just being bigger they get to hang around longer and make their presence smelt. I had a friend who kept one as a pet and I'd say it was better than his daughters hamster.

        Dogs will roll in anything to cover their own smell.

        As for how they taste - Arthur Boyt's your man. I'd hazard a guess that it tastes better than a McD's smells.

  17. Richard Neill

    If we can make grain into beer, why not milk?

    Wheat and Grass are basically the same kind of plant. If we can use yeast in a bioreactor to make beer, then why can't we contrive a way to convert the grass directly into milk, using a catalyst that is more efficient than a cow? For most uses of milk, it needn't be perfect: just a suspension of fat in water, with the right kind of sugar, calcium carbonate, and (more complex versions would need the vitamins and proteins). For the majority of uses apart from "proper" cheese, it needn't be perfect in terms of the enzymes and proteins. Advantages include 1/10 of the CO2, and suitability for the lactose-intolerant, and vegans.

    1. Yet Another Commentard

      Re: If we can make grain into beer, why not milk?

      An interesting thought. We already have a machine to turn grass and water into milk (and meat, and even self replicate into a new machine). It's called a cow (or goat, or sheep, or mammal of choice). We already have vegan milk, soya milk. Now (to paraphrase Red Dwarf) soya milk is useful because it lasts longer than any other form of milk. Mostly because no bugger wants to drink it.

      Next, consider the insane furore over genetically engineered crops. Despite most modifications just being an acceleration of the selective crop breeding humans have been doing for the past few thousand years.

      With that in mind, how would you market your 100% synthesised milk substitute? Can you imagine the anti Monsanto brigade and what they'd say about this abhorrent franken-milk. This is part of the whole problem, green thinkers want us to be "natural" often not realising that "unnatural" sometimes does less environmental damage. The fact you could easily make lactose free "unnatural" milk would be a further boon, but nobody would buy it because it was "unnatural".

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As someone who lives on a farm

    and has insurance with NFU I look forward to the sandal wearing guardian readers turning up to protest.

    As for Badgers, vicious buggers but I am not sold on the idea of culling them to protect cattle, we have both in close proximity and dont have a TB issue in our area.

  19. NXM

    nxm

    And this is supposed to encourage farmers to refuse to take part in the cull? I think it'll do the opposite.

    If badgerburgers tasted nice, we'd probably farm them instead of cows.

  20. D Rome
    Terminator

    Obvious Terminator refrence

    So are they also looking into time travel and will they ban that too ?

  21. D Rome

    Gah

    The page jumped me back i thought i was posting on the ban the evil robots. oh well KILL THE BADGERS!

  22. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    IT Angle

    I thought NFU ran their systems on a mainframe running a non standard 4GL

    Not quite the usual skillset of the average badger tree hugger.*

    *Hug a badger. If you're hard enough.

  23. Joefish
    Mushroom

    What makes me sick about the whole affair

    Is you could wipe out bovine TB at a stroke by vaccinating all the cattle. But the test for TB that all slaughtered cattle are subjected to by European law (a) can't tell the difference between the innoculation and the disease and (b) doesn't allow you to take account of any record that the animal was innoculated. And no-one's interested in putting money into finding a better test. So instead we have an expensive exercise in culling that even its leading proponents say will hardly make any difference. THIS IS FUCKING INSANE.

  24. Pugly

    badgers only??

    When we ran a VERRRRRY rural pub in Derbyshire we had three DEFRA operatives staying with us - they said that they have known for a long time that Bovine TB is also carried by feral cats but that no-one in the world would ever allow a cull of cats so the badgers get the blame....

  25. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Devil

    First, they came for the badgers.....

    Badger badgering leaves bumpkins buggered!!!

  26. Swiss Anton
    Thumb Down

    I doubt if any hacking ever took place - where's the proof.

    So Brocky Come Lately claim to have hacked into NFU Mutuals systems. That's an easy claim to make, but where's the evidence that it actually happened. By proof I mean something that could only have come from their networks or database, and not something gleaned from documents intercepted in the post by some sympathetic postie.

  27. Scroticus Canis
    Gimp

    Badger TB or Bovine TB?

    I have never heard of badger TB but have heard of Bovine TB which is what the badgers are infected with. Now where do you suppose the badgers got Bovine TB from? Hint not from sheep.

    Seems to me it was the farmers who brought infected cows onto the land that that caused it all in the first place.

    Also seem to remember that BSE was caused by farmers using scrapie infected sheep remains in cattle feed but of course that wasn't their fault either.

    I have nothing against shooting/hunting/fishing if you eat what you kill and only take what you need; have done enough of it in my time but prefer to watch the wildlife nowadays.

  28. JCitizen
    Childcatcher

    Maybe the UK has more TB in the soil over there...

    But here in the US, we ignore badgers. They used to be a big problem when ditch irrigation was the method, but now we are kewl with badgers. Now prairie dogs! -That is another story - I wished the animal activists would BAN poisoning them critters - the pastures were actually full of more wild life when these scruffy little animals were out there. I must admit though, I like hunting them, so full disclosure there; but I also pushed to bring back the methods of local predator control, which would encourage more wildlife diversity still. Certain tricks helped the coyotes and Ferruginous Hawks keep the population down. There is the Blackfooted Ferret re-introduction program too; which is stalled because if poisoning - I say bring them all back on the prairie, and I'm proud to be part of that control process too - I have as much a right to be part of the natural control mechanism as anything else - Oh - and only humans have rights - sorry!

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