Friday, 28 March 2014INDEX

TB or not TB? That will make a fortune for vets!

So English cats have bovine TB and can pass it to another species (humans). When it was discovered that badgers had bovine TB the farmers managed to persuade the Government there was a need to cull the poor badgers.

Lock up your cats.

It seems to me (from personal observation) that cats roam more widely than they used to. I think this may be due to urban foxes. In the past the cats were probably too scared to go into rural areas. Now they encounter foxes all the time and so have little fear.

There may also be fewer farm dogs in these days of industrial scale farming, so cats have greater freedom than in the past.

Anyway, for whatever reason I've see many cats on the Walthamstow marshes close to (and even in) the cattle area.

The big winner out of all this will be the vets. If it's possible to inoculate cats against bovine TB, and it almost certainly is, the vets are going to make a small fortune out of this.

One intriguing possibility is that if cats and badgers can get bovine TB, perhaps foxes can too? Certainly the urban ones seem to be mostly fairly sickly creatures. Perhaps they already have it.

How long before the hunting, shooting and fishing brigade latch on and ask to re-instate fox hunting? It would simply be a matter of public health! Get rid of the foxes to save the cattle! Tally Ho!

Of course, the real answer is not badger culling (which proved totally pointless) but the eradication of bovine TB from cattle. If that was done perhaps the cats would stop getting it.

Posted by Jonathan Brind.
Friday, 28 March 2014INDEX