Help stop the spread of bTB from foxhounds.
The recent news that a pack of hounds has contracted Bovine TB is sending shock waves through the hunting fraternity, the farmers guardian covered the story here. With the view that
“It is thought the hunt, which offers a fallen stock service to local farmers, contracted the disease from a contaminated bovine.”
Defra hastily put out advice on pets and bTB on the 3rd of March, how a dog could become infected was explained:
“Pets can become infected in a number of ways including ingestion (by mouth), for example by drinking unpasteurised infected cow’s milk or eating carcases (sic) of infected animals; and aerosols (breathing in) which could arise from close contact with infected farm animals, wildlife or other infected pets. Pets can also become infected through bite wounds, either from being bitten by an infected animal or if a wound gets infected by bacteria present in the environment.”
Hunts up and down the country offer the service of collecting dead cattle/sheep from farmers fields, saving the farmer a small amount of money and time. In return the hunt get to feed their hounds and usually get to hunt on the farmers land. This relationship between farmers and hunts hit a rocky patch back in the 90’s when BSE hit, new regulations meant that all cattle carcasses had to be incinerated to stop the spread of the disease. The cost of these incinerators had to be carried by the hunts who in some areas attempted to pass the cost on to farmers, with little luck.
This defra PDF lists all the licensed premises that can handle animal by products, most of the UK’s hunts can be found listed here.
With the transmission route from cattle to the hounds and potentially the hounds on to the cattle and surrounding wildlife still uncertain (they may have contracted the disease from any number of sources). It would make some sense for the government to bring in measures to immediately curtail the infection and potential ongoing spread of the disease.
We think that two simple measures should be taken up immediately:
- The testing of all hunting hound packs for bTB
- The vaccination of all hounds that consume uncooked “fallen stock”
Please as a matter of urgency contact your MP here and request these two measures are implemented immediately to stop any further spread of bTB.
We are currently looking at the cost of PCR testing, which would enable us to check hounds feaces for bTB. As soon as we have the costings, we will launch a crowdfunder if the project is feasible. Collecting the samples may involve some covert methods…
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