Navitron Renewable Energy and Sustainability Forum

General Renewable Topics => Off-Topic => Topic started by: clivejo on July 13, 2012, 11:54:40 AM



Title: Milk prices, TB and badgers
Post by: clivejo on July 13, 2012, 11:54:40 AM
Rather than taking over a thread regarding banksters, I thought it better to start a new one.  I found Martins reply slightly hard to understand(well to with reason under my logic), I totally respect his views and would like to understand his viewpoint. 

Here's my understanding of the situation, from a farming background.  Government department responsible for bovine TB (bTB) are torturing farmers with TB tests and slaughtering record numbers of 'reactor' cattle due to TB controls.  I'm no scientist and dont fully understand this word 'reactor'.  Reactors in the human tests aren't slaughter, nor do they have TB, just means they should be vaccinated!  So why are cattle slaughtered?

Farmers are being told that TB is being passed to herds by badgers, therefore farmers want to control local badger populations.  There is a bTB vacation but for some reason this isn't used, apparently, if this is used the UK loses its "TB free" claim, hence why they slaughter them instead!  Same situation happened with Foot and Mouth, whole herds slaughtered rather than vaccinated.

So once again, this whole mess seems to come back to government policies! 


Title: Re: Milk prices, TB and badgers
Post by: martin on July 13, 2012, 04:21:06 PM
Badgers have been around a lot longer than we have - in desperation, farmers are now seeking to kill badgers under the mistaken impression that it will stop the transmission of TB to their cattle - comprehensive testing has already been done, and has shown that unless you kill every single badger in the country, all it will do is spread the disease further and faster, as I said, it's a sop to to a small and vocal group of farmers that have the government's ear.
There are vaccines under development (or ready for use) according to who you believe, which would be an acceptable and far more sensible and effective route all round. I personally think that the government's "slaughter" policy is frankly ridiculous, perfectly good and eminently curable cattle are slaughtered for all sorts of silly reasons. A good friend of mine who is one of the local vets was horrified at the burning pyres of animals following the foot and mouth outbreak - in his view it isn't a particularly bad disease, most cattle can recover completely, and he reckons they could have halted outbreaks every bit as effectively without killing any cattle at all........
I'm also very cynical about the farming establishment - back in the days of the Min of Ag and Fish, they and the NFU acted as instruments of Big Ag, who did everything in their power to stop the uptake of organic farming, and seem hell bent on supporting the interests of the multinationals above all else - if anything, they appear to have become worse in recent years. If you wanted to "go organic" you lost all subsidies, effectively making it a rich man's option, and I had some ghastly little NFU weasel telling me that to keep hens free-range was "cruel and unnatural", they'd all die without their nice safe cages, and become a sink of disease without the "usual" diet including a cocktail of broad-spectrum antibiotics.........(he left with a promise of a boot in the bum if he ever darkened my door again!)

Frankly, the NFU should get off it's overstuffed backside and start representing farmers' interests for a change - if they spent somewhat more time presenting a strong and united front to negotiate with the amoral supermarkets, and spent a lot less time schmoozing with their Bayer and Syngenta buddies, then farmers wouldn't find themselves in their present predicament......

Sympathy? I'm particularly fond of badgers, we have setts nearby, and I always swore that if I found any badger baiters doing them harm, then I'd do them a great deal of damage before calling Mr Plod - I see little difference in the wanton killing of badgers for no good reason ("lawful" or not).

So I agree "government" is at fault, and those who pull their strings........



Title: Re: Milk prices, TB and badgers
Post by: clivejo on July 13, 2012, 07:36:17 PM
Quote
The coalition Government has committed, as part of a package of measures, to developing affordable options for a carefully-managed and science-led policy of badger control in areas with high and persistent levels of bovine TB. Source : http://www.defra.gov.uk/animal-diseases/a-z/bovine-tb/badgers/

Do you think farmers want to lose cattle to TB?  Of course not!  The really question is why are farmers being made to believe that it is badgers that are spreading the TB?

This is a Government policy!!  Nothing to do with farmers, but the public see it as lead by farmers, which is totally untrue!  Please understand I'm not picking on Martin, and I value  his opinion on this.  He has proved to be a very well educated and knowledge person. The only reason I'm engaging in discussion is that if he believes that farmers deserve a milk price cut, and to be put out of business, then there are a lot of others would think the same!  I want to understand this.



Title: Re: Milk prices, TB and badgers
Post by: martin on July 13, 2012, 07:51:59 PM
I don't actually think that they do generally deserve a cut in the price for their milk, they should be paid a fair rate so they're not forced further down the road of factory farming, BUT if they allow this barbaric cull to go ahead in their name, then they've lost my support (and most of the UK public's) - we as consumers have terrific power, we just need to use it more.............I'm happy to give them my full support for fairer rates, but they have to prove they deserve it by pulling out of the cull.....

I suspect that the cynical monsters who run the supermarkets are well aware that farmers aren't going to get much sympathy at the moment with the news that the cull is going ahead, so have probably chosen this moment to hit them with price cuts...... whistle

Here's chapter and verse on the science - http://www.pembrokeshireagainstthecull.org.uk/science.php (http://www.pembrokeshireagainstthecull.org.uk/science.php) - government is very good at trumpeting that it'll make "science-led" decisions (when weaselling in GMOs), and yet ignores all the science about badger culls........ whistle


Title: Re: Milk prices, TB and badgers
Post by: clivejo on July 13, 2012, 09:05:25 PM
I've been read some information regarding TB and badgers.  In a report it mentions that quietly behind the scenes over half of the badger population of Ireland has been culled in recent years.  The report mentions the following "The ultimate aim is to prevent badgers from carrying the disease using an oral vaccine which can be given to them in baits. In the meantime, they are being culled."

Is there such a vaccine?  i.e. could we vaccine the local badger population instead of culling?


Title: Re: Milk prices, TB and badgers
Post by: spaces on July 13, 2012, 09:17:15 PM
Until we've extricated ourselves from the 'max profit, max efficiency at all cost' culture then all farmed animals (including we hoomans) are going to be suffering more and more from disease which a healthy population shrugs off. Reliance on antibiotics, poor nutrition, poor lifestyle and the ensuing poor health -  both physical and mental - are becoming endemic in both us and the animals we rear to eat. The whole food chain has become toxic within the last 60 years and it is increasingly difficult to find food which is free of toxins and full of real nutrition - the stuff which scientists haven't yet 'discovered' is the really good bits in food. Look at the problems with bee colonies alone for an example of modern farming.
I posted the following in the other thread, before finding this one. Rather than posting a link, here is what I wrote:

"As long as health deteriorates then no matter how many potential problems are removed from the environment (and let's face it, you cannot remove air pollutants, radiation, heavy metals and drug residues in water easily) disease will continue to march on well ahead of the scientists, pharmaceuticals and medics. They will of course become increasingly exceedingly rich off the back of poor health until so many cannot afford the medicine that common sense takes over.

More and more unpleasant situations will occur like the one above where one person's agenda differs from another's and these will no doubt become more and more heated as the stakes go higher and life becomes harder. I see human life as becoming more and more like an intensive-production chicken house. Those with any sense see the fallacy of the 'rewards' and fly away if they can, outside the control of our big-ag farmer-style politicians.

As for what is meted out to the badgers - it is probably less cruel than what happens on many dairy farms. My wife is one, I should know. Fortunately that farm is generally more pleasant than most. Buy organic milk and cheese even if you can't taste the difference or believe there is no nutritional benefit - the marginally higher cost saves untold suffering, although finding an old-fashioned and small dairy farm which bothers about its animal welfare is even better than buying organic from a supermarket."


Title: Re: Milk prices, TB and badgers
Post by: martin on July 14, 2012, 12:03:10 AM
For Clivejo - vaccinations - http://www.pembrokeshireagainstthecull.org.uk/vaccine.php (http://www.pembrokeshireagainstthecull.org.uk/vaccine.php)
I agree wholeheartedly with Spaces about the horrors of high-tech, high input "industrial" farming which is fast-tracking us to hell in a handcart - it's an essentially stupid and short-sighted way of producing food which impoverishes the land, and everyone who produces and eats the products, whilst laying waste to the environment and everything in it, all because of short-term economic expediency and the inordinate power of Big Ag :vomit2


Title: Re: Milk prices, TB and badgers
Post by: Brian H on July 14, 2012, 08:58:48 AM
There is a vaccine for badgers, its an injectable and has do be boosted yearly.

One thing that seems confusing to me is 1) badgers do not spread TB so don't cull, 2) if you cull the resultant movement will spread TB.

Animal welfare is linked directly to the price paid for produce, the profit at all costs approach of supermarkets has caused untold problems.

I remember when I was little my grandfather had a small farm, that now would be uneconomic, but provided a comfortable living for a family of five. Most milk sales were direct (raw full milk), any surplus was sold to the local dairy and attracted premium for the cream level as the cows were fed so well, that was with friesians and ayrshires.


Title: Re: Milk prices, TB and badgers
Post by: martin on July 14, 2012, 09:11:59 AM
I think the root problem is that many of the public view food as "fuel" and give it no more thought than the stuff they bung in their petrol tanks, we need to return food to something that is seen as one of life's great pleasures, a social occasion, and that we should relearn respect for good food and those who produce it. We have to spend more on food so it can be produced in ways that have respect for the land in which it is grown, and those who grow it. I suspect that the preponderance of junk food these days is largely down to the fact that it gives the false impression of being "quick and easy", enabling people to continue their headlong rush to buy even more of the empty dreams of consumerism.
 It is possible to eat very well avoiding such rubbish, and without spending a fortune, but it takes a level of skill (as well demonstrated by the likes of Jamie Oliver) - we should teach this to kids in school


Title: Re: Milk prices, TB and badgers
Post by: ecogeorge on July 15, 2012, 12:24:50 AM
I don't actually think that they do generally deserve a cut in the price for their milk, they should be paid a fair rate so they're not forced further down the road of factory farming, BUT if they allow this barbaric cull to go ahead in their name, then they've lost my support (and most of the UK public's) - we as consumers have terrific power, we just need to use it more.............I'm happy to give them my full support for fairer rates, but they have to prove they deserve it by pulling out of the cull.....

http://www.pembrokeshireagainstthecull.org.uk/science.php (http://www.pembrokeshireagainstthecull.org.uk/science.php) - government is very good at trumpeting that it'll make "science-led" decisions (when weaselling in GMOs), and yet ignores all the science about badger culls........ whistle
Glad to see you backtracking Martin on your previous desire to see a drop in milk price and further demise of the UK dairy industry.
I too hate the slow advancement to large dairies (it's happening - 500 cows now not uncommon) but the FACT is where large dairies are in place cows are housed 24/7 -yes it's not a natural herd grazing outside, the incidence of TB is less because cows do not mix with badgers or deer.
Cows /badgers /deer with TB will pass it too each other regardless , housed cattle do not mix with badgers/deer hence less TB.
Badgers have no natural enemies and since being a protected species there population has exploded. More badgers = more TB and therefore more TB to spread.
It's a difficult question but Badgers are too prolific at the moment. No one had a good word for Magpies on a recent thread  but I guess they aren't cute and cuddly.
If you are a country dweller then perhaps you will understand the fine balance farmers have with nature and there desire to forward a symbiotic relationship with the countryside , -after all they have managed it for centuries without too many problems.
I know I will get a lot of flack for this post, but as someone very heavily involved in the dairy industry I think you need to  speak to more dairy farmers and become a little better informed before dictating what is best for the industry.
rgds George.  


Title: Re: Milk prices, TB and badgers
Post by: martin on July 15, 2012, 12:47:25 AM
All the science points to the fact that a cull will if anything make matters far worse - I've been a country dweller for most of my life, and spent a while farming myself, and rapidly learned that as in most areas of life, there's good, bad and bloody awful farmers - sadly far too many of the latter, who have little interest other than "the bottom line".
"If you are a country dweller then perhaps you will understand the fine balance farmers have with nature and there desire to forward a symbiotic relationship with the countryside" - sadly, being a country dweller I see far too much evidence that a great many don't give a flying fig about the environment or the creatures in it, and are happy to turn it into green pesticide-riddled "concrete", using the "bludgeon nature into submission" techniques.........

I'd not try cuddling a badger, but I have lived very close to them for many years, we have marks along our walls where they've brushed against them in their nightly forays, and we often hear them lumbering about their business - all of our hedges have thumping great badger-sized holes through which they pass, and at certain times of year they make a hell of a racket when the youngsters move out - I'd miss my neighbours if some eejit shot them for no proven good reason.

I think the farmers have a simple choice, wise up to the backlash they will bring against themselves, or suffer - it's THAT simple, the public won't allow it to go ahead without one hell of a struggle, if it does, the famers will become total pariahs, and will receive no sympathy whatsoever.........





Title: Re: Milk prices, TB and badgers
Post by: biff on July 15, 2012, 07:22:40 AM
Good morning folks,
                    Like Martin,i would have very little pity for the farmers.They are always going to the wall,,always moaning,,always getting the worst of the deal and they are never any other way.Thats how farmers are. My mother,s people were all farmers and i remember sitting among them at meal times wondering would they ever have a happy time that they would say something nice about farming and these guys were so well organised,machinery and labour wise that most of the time they just had to walk about balloggking the head of some poor unfortunate who worked for them.My old man would echo my sentiments.
     Badgers on the other hand are a kind of little piggy..they are members of the swine family,the females are called sows and the males boars. this means that genetically they can carry human diseases and there is a definate possibility of a cross contamination process.
  I am not saying we should wipe out the badgers but i am saying there has to be some kind of balance between what is acceptable and what is most definatly beyond acceptance.
 Badgers do interfere with the cattle,and when the cows are lying dozing,chewing their cud,the badger will sidle up and drink their milk straight from the teat.There will be a lot of people jumping up and down and saying "NO  WAY,, HOSEPIPE" but it actually does happen.According to my uncles and i got some dirty look when i laughed outright at them.But they would tell it as it was.
 So back to the question of balance,, Do we let them get so popular that they become like the fox,a proper pest and a danger to society or do we take steps to keep them in check,perhaps a steralisation programme
                                                                                  Biff


Title: Re: Milk prices, TB and badgers
Post by: M on July 15, 2012, 09:53:49 AM
Biff, funny you should say that, I used to meet quite a few farmers when I was paintballing. They always seemed miserable, but I assumed it was a way of never showing excitement over a deal! I also had a tiny amount of dealings with farmers when working for water regs in the Welsh Office, and working alongside a girl who's mum owned a sheep farm. I got the impression that farmers don't necessarily get on with each other, and an apparent hatred between the NFU and the FUW (farmers union of Wales).

I don't understand the milk 'stuff'. Simple as that, I don't understand it. I'm not trying to apply American style capitalism to the business, but why isn't supply and demand working? How can farmers be forced to sell their product at a price lower than the production cost?

Surely there has to be some element of oversupply in the equation somewhere. If I had a product I would only sell it cheap if I thought there was a chance I wouldn't get to sell it at all. Is there any external supply upsetting the balance, or are British farmers simply producing too much milk? If they are producing too much milk, then isn't it only natural that some farms close, or herds are reduced, or some product is disposed of to re-balance supply and demand.

I'd have thought that the farmers have total control of price via supply, but only if they all work together. As soon as one tries to earn a little extra by increasing their own personal supply (outside of any agreement) then it'll all go wrong again.

Why are the public, or supermarkets, or government being asked to pay more? Why isn't supply simply reduced, and prices naturally rise to re-balance. Imagine if any other business or product asked the government to ensure that prices were higher?

Sorry for all the statements and questions. But I don't understand what is causing the supply and demand imbalance. My statements are borne out of ignorance, and I'd love to learn more, especially if milk is being imported.

Mart.


Title: Re: Milk prices, TB and badgers
Post by: martin on July 15, 2012, 10:19:02 AM
I think that one of the problems is that there is a free market in Europe, and there is no doubt that we tend to adhere to the rules, other countries in Europe don't, so the supermarkets can just buy milk from Europe if the UK farmers won't play ball on price - there is no doubt that standards in much of the EU are disgraceful, but the products are cheap...........

Then we have the NFU (I tend towards the rude version of what those letters stand for...........) - they're very good at helping maintain appalling factory and monoculture farming with their cosy relations with DEFRA and their buddies in Big Pestco, and have long forgotten that they should be helping farmers in such cases as these. If this were France, roads would be blocked with tractors, and there'd be mayhem....... I have little sympathy for many farmers who've allowed themselves to be led by the nose by the bunch of useless tossers in government and the NFU............

Rightly or wrongly, the public have very little sympathy for farmers already - they view them as rich Range Rover drivers who arrogantly ride roughshod over the common man - the present government's tactic of allowing Big Ag free rein is not helping, so I expect their popularity to dip to an all-time low over this proven useless cull, and I frankly don't have a lot of sympathy for them - I've been in farming, I know it can be bloody hard work for little reward for the small farmer, but farms nowadays are getting bigger and bigger thanks to the status quo, and are run by accountants, not real farmers.............


Title: Re: Milk prices, TB and badgers
Post by: DaveSnafu on July 15, 2012, 10:36:46 AM
Who is going to compensate me and my family for the loss of wildlife/habitat/diversiveness of the "countryside" ??.
Bring on the CAP reforms, lets have a level playing field.
There are 3 million people in Wales, if you listen to the news you would think we are all farmers, I think there are 30,000 farmers in Wales, whats that 1% ?, bit of an embarrassing number these days.
UK farming uses 75% of the available land, generates 1% of GDP, costs each and every family in UK as much as trident, its a scam.
We had badgers living on the hill behind farm, the landlord and his mates went up there with a JCB and a load of dogs, took them all day, wives and kids, had a picnic made a whole day of it, talk about unhealthy group activities......we don,t even have any cows,(or badgers anymore).
So let the farmers be subject to supply and demand the same as everyone else, after all we have to cope with the scarecity of land artificially driving up land prices, created by their "private businesses".


Title: Re: Milk prices, TB and badgers
Post by: Brian-s on July 15, 2012, 12:44:12 PM
I think the TB issue is a chicken or egg situation.
If TB is passed on by infected faeces, How many square feet of a field can a Badger contaminate? What are the odds of a Cow finding this while it is still infectious? An infected Cow will have its faeces spread over an entire field by the farmer guaranteeing any badgers are infected.
Are there any areas of Britain without Cows and with Badgers? What is the incidence of TB in Badgers in these areas?
Perhaps we should have a Cow cull until the Badgers become healthy again?

Brian.


Title: Re: Milk prices, TB and badgers
Post by: danny stardust on July 15, 2012, 01:30:24 PM
Cull the excessive amount of milk drinkers inhabiting the planet! Then eat the cows that are no longer required thus reducing the gas emissions they put out as an added bonus.

Anyone for a Badger burger?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYd8JYWJ9GA




Title: Re: Milk prices, TB and badgers
Post by: todthedog on July 15, 2012, 03:53:19 PM
We live in the Finistere.  Badgers are fairly common, but as yet we are not knee deep in them  and among cattle farming friends TB is not yet a problem linked to badgers.  The hunt here would need little excuse for total extermination, are French hunters related to Daleks?

I can only talk about our neighbours but welfare standards here  are extremely high.  The problem for most is earning a crust, milk prices are set by the cooperatives supposedly in the farmers interests, but in reality the coops work hand in glove with big ag biz and the supermarkets. The end result is during the 11 years we have been here there has been a reduction of more than 50% in the numbers of small dairy farmers.  The large ones are doing OK thank you, but the bottom line as always is paramount and everyone and everything else go hang.

For the small ones in turn after unsuccessful negotiations milk is being poured away down the drain, and bonfires of tyres on roundabouts and in supermarket car parks.

We are lucky we can try and support our small farms and buy our dairy products direct at the local market and don't touch the supermarkets it is only a couple of cents a litre more expensive.  They also make cheese by hand not the plastic factory rubbish and sell it at nearly supermarket prices. Also  I like the small farmers if for no other reason that they moan more than I do or nearly.

Don't forget BSE the result of high welfare standards in the UK, the result of which Brits are not allowed to give blood in France if they lived in the UK during the 90's.

Cheers
Tod