Here’s a website about bovine tuberculosis (bTB). The unnamed author says, ‘My motivation comes from wanting to create a web site which informs rather than one which tries to influence opinion. As such I try not to hold back any information which I think is relevant and I try to present information without bias.’ I like this attitude.
When you ‘present information without bias’ you’re not acting like a journalist. You don’t try to make a neat story from the info you have. So anybody seeking a soundbite won’t find it on bovinetb.info but you’ll find plenty of detail there.
For example, here’s a recent article on that site called ‘Bovine TB in Ireland and how it compares to that in the UK’. I read this because I’ve noticed that, when people speak out for a cull of badgers (Meles meles) here in the UK, they often mention Ireland.
In case you don’t know: the Irish Republic is also called Southern Ireland. It’s part of the European Union (EU). Most of the island of Ireland is in the Republic while the smaller section of the island, called Northern Ireland, is part of the United Kingdom (UK).
It’s worth reading the whole article about Irish bTB. If you don’t want to do that, you could look at this paragraph that I picked out from it.
‘In 2012, the proportion of cattle slaughtered due to TB in the Irish Republic became less than half the proportion of cattle slaughtered due to TB in Northern Ireland. Although this situation existed between 2002 and 2004, this difference has increased over the last 2 years. Also in 2002 to 2004, unlike now, incidence in Northern Ireland may have been subjected to temporary high incidence levels due to relocation of TB-infected cattle after Foot and Mouth. If this gap continues to grow, it will become increasing likely that this difference is due to the badger culling policy which the Irish Republic have been increasingly investing in since the mid nineties. This will be interesting because (as details show below) the Irish Republic are implementing a very localised badger culling policy which in England and Wales would be expected to introduce significant perturbation of infected badgers.’
I like this author’s caution. I’m not a journalist but here’s a soundbite. ‘If this gap [in cattle slaughtering, comparing the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland] continues to grow, it will become increasing likely that this difference is due to the badger culling policy [in] the Irish Republic.’
There’s no proof but I can see why some people think we should do as the Irish do. I think also that the Irish story about bTB isn’t simple.