Tag Archives: dorset badger cull

Dorset Badgers Need You!

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dorset badger patrols 2016

An appeal to anyone within easy reach of Dorset and who hasn’t already been in touch with DBBW or DBP, offering to help during the cull:

The slaughter is almost upon us. The badgers desperately need us, whether you’ve been out on patrol in previous years or are a complete newcomer.

PATROLS

You can patrol at any time during the day or night. There will be a 24-hour Control Number for you to ring to report anything you see. There will also be a police liaison team number if needed.

You won’t be asked to take on more than you can manage.

If you want to walk regularly during day, we can give you maps of a particular area/zone convenient for you.

Night patrols go out in small groups. Those run by Dorset Badger Patrol will keep to legal rights of way.

[UPDATE] Starting August 29th 2016 (Bank Holiday Monday) the Dorset Badger Patrols are meeting at 7:30-8pm EVERY NIGHT while the cull lasts, at the following meeting points:

[FURTHER UPDATE] PLEASE NOTE: Meetings are 7:30-8pm EVERY NIGHT (7 days a week) until Sunday 11th September 2016 only. As of Monday 12th September 2016 meetings will be earlier at 7pm-7:30pm due to the evenings getting darker earlier.

Shaftesbury – Tesco’s car park, SP7 8PF
Dorchester – Tesco’s car park, DT1 2RY
Bridport – ONLY by prior arrangement with DBBW so please do not just turn up, contact us first!

Police liaison will be attending.

Equipment: Hi-viz jackets and waistcoats are a must, day or night. Good torch plus spare batteries. Mobile phone and camera. Map-reading/navigation skills would be useful but not essential.

ACCOMMODATION

Coming from further afield? If you don’t want to camp but would like accommodation for a few nights, please email us.

If you live in north or west Dorset and can offer a spare bed or two to fellow patrollers or parking for a camper van, please email us.

Got a spare bed? Then help us give all people coming to Dorset to protect our badgers a warm welcome!

Email dorsetbbw@gmail.com or dorsetbadgerpatrol@gmail.com

Make sure you check out all our latest blog posts to be fully updated and for more information – go to our Home page here – and double check the latest Badger Patrol Meeting info on the top right of this site!

Dorset Badger Cull Update – Summer 2016

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It’s been a while since our last blog post but rest assured we have been extremely busy working behind the scenes preparing for the dreadful day the badger cull may resume, which is now expected to be very soon…

Join the Dorset Badger Patrol

We need lots more volunteers to join our group of peaceful protesters walking public byways during the badger culls.

Follow DBP on Facebook or on Twitter for more updates and contact us via our contact page or via DBVP.

Donations needed for fuel and equipment

You can help us by donating towards fuel and equipment which will be desperately needed during the upcoming badger cull – click here to donate.

Keep up to date on our social media pages

Please follow DBBW on Facebook or on Twitter for lots more updates.

Make sure you also check out all our latest blog posts to be fully updated and for more information – go to our Home page here – and double check the latest Badger Patrol Meeting info on the top right of this site!

Here is just a selection of recent news articles we think are of particular interest as they remind us why a badger cull may continue to make the problem of TB in cattle worse, not better:

The Guardian: Badger Cull Linked to Rise in Bovine TB Cases
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/19/badger-cull-linked-to-rise-in-bovine-tb-cases?CMP=share_btn_tw

The Guardian: Bovine TB Not Passed on Through Direct Contact With Badgers
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/05/bovine-tb-not-passed-on-through-direct-contact-with-badgers-research-shows?CMP=share_btn_tw?

The Ecologist: Why Badgers Are Always at the Head of the Blame Queue
http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2987993/why_are_badgers_always_at_the_head_of_the_blame_queue.html

Dorset & UK Badger Cull Update – December 2015

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Yesterday DEFRA released the figures for the number of badgers slaughtered during the 2015 cull…

Devastating News:

Despite the amazing work of our dedicated and brave badger protectors out there in the zones, the cull contractors managed to hit their targets and slaughter our innocent badgers. Although, many are cynical about these high numbers when there was so little monitoring from Natural England.

Report in The Mirror – www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nearly-1500-badgers-blasted-death-7027495

‘Nearly 1,500 badgers blasted to death in this year’s cull. 432 in Gloucestershire, 279 in Somerset and 756 in Dorset. Dorset’s total included 440 which were caught in cages before being executed, 316 were murdered whilst free roaming and another six badgers were shot at but bungling gunmen missed their targets.’

DEFRA’s paper on monitoring – www.gov.uk/government/publications/bovine-tb-summary-of-badger-control-monitoring-during-2015

Things to note so far:

  • Only 7 shoots in West Gloucestershire and 3 in West Somerset were observed to ensure that humaneness or best practice guidelines were adhered to.
  • 53 badgers shootings were observed in Dorset, of these almost 12% escaped and weren’t retrieved, so it’s unknown if they were missed or merely injured.
  • 1,467 badgers were killed in all. Only 743 (just over half) of these were killed through ‘controlled shooting’.
  • New DEFRA guidance to Natural England released – Vaccination Guidance on pages 5 & 6 of www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/486660/badger-culling-guidance-ne.pdf
  • Culling areas reduced to 100km sq.
  • Up to 10 new roll out areas planned per year.
  • Cattle control measures to be tightened.

Read more at www.fginsight.com/news/defra-confirms-badger-cull-roll-out-and-introduction-of-post-movement-testing-8682

In 2016 we will need to increase our efforts to save badgers’ lives.

The work starts now with sett checking and surveying. We will be running training sessions on badger ecology, sett surveying and badger related crime. We’ll also have regular Badger Walks with on the job training.

Our badgers need you out there more than ever before. MORE BADGER PROTECTORS = MORE BADGER LIVES SAVED. When the cull contactors meet their targets Liz Truss claims that the culls are ‘effective’. Together we must stop these murderers from ever reaching their targets again.

NO JUSTICE – JUST US.

Thanks for keeping a watch on your local badger setts and for protecting badgers in whatever way you could in 2015.

Wishing you all a happy festive season, and our badgers and wildlife a peaceful, protected and plentiful 2016.

The Dorset Badger Cull ended on Monday 12th October 2015 – but our work is not yet over!

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We were advised by the police that they were standing down from cull duties on Monday 12 October and received confirmation from the Defra press office that the cull had finished in all three cull zones on Wednesday 14 October. Apparently the Dorset Cull start date was the Bank Holiday Monday 31 August, but we weren’t informed by the police until the Wednesday that the slaughter had begun. It is the Cull Company’s responsibility to inform the police of the start and end dates. Let’s just add ‘deception’ to the cull company’s ‘attributes’.

DAY AND EVENING BADGER PATROLS went out on Monday and Tuesday, the 12th and 13th, to check for any illegal post cull activity. These were the last cull related patrols for this season.

BIG BADGERY THANKS AND HUGS to everyone out there who has helped in whatever way they could to save badgers’ lives.

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Our presence made a huge difference out there in the North Dorset Killing Fields.

To the patrollers day and night, we thank and salute you! You did a fantastic job, often under hostile conditions. Whilst the majority of patrols were peaceful and uneventful, some weren’t. Patrollers were driven at, blocked in, abused, harassed and subjected to intimidation from Paul Gould (the Cull Director) and his friends, who used fireworks and crow scarers to try and frighten them off. But did it work? No, of course not! Our patrollers are brave and determined, nothing stopped them on their mission to save badgers’ lives. There were lots of occasions when the shooters had to pack up and leave, simply because our patrols were present in the area. Often the patrollers were unaware that this had happened.

One ‘very pleasant’ employee of Gould’s cull company was issued with a ‘Section 59’ warning by the police for harassment – if he does it again within 12 months the police will seize his vehicle.

The Dorset Police Liaison officers followed up on all incidents reported to them by us and issued warnings to offenders. They also kept an eye on all vehicles entering the Tescos Car Park whilst we met up and checked up any suspect ones. No one was arrested from either side for any cull related offence.

A special thanks to the wonderful Sabs who do a brilliant job. There were several teams from all over the country who came down to Dorset to protect our badgers. HUGE RESPECT to you guys for your courage, dedication, expertise and determination to stop the slaughter. Their work significantly reduced the death toll of our stripey friends.

Heaps of thanks to our Central Control Operators and everyone who helped with Admin, phones, enquiries, maps, cooking, shopping and everything else that ensures a smooth, efficient and effective operation. They are a lovely dedicated bunch who worked long hours through the day and night supporting those out in the killing fields.

A big THANK YOU also to Animal Aid, Network for Animals, PETA and the HSI (Humane Society International) for their generous donations of equipment and funding for operating costs of the Badger Patrols. This was a huge help with our intelligence gathering and communications, enabling Dorset Badger Patrols to work effectively within the cull zone. The equipment will continue to benefit Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare’s work and Dorset’s badgers during the happier non-cull times.

And we thank everyone who generously donated to help support the work of the Sabs and Badger Patrols, donations were used to fund vital equipment, fuel and supplies.

We don’t know how many badgers were slaughtered, as far as we’re concerned one is too many! NE and Defra have not released any figures yet. We’ll keep you informed.

Below is a clip from FARMING TODAY RADIO 4 from Tuesday 13 October.
Trevor Cligg, Chair of Dorset NFU, states that ‘possibly’ targets have been reached and the ‘cull has gone well in Dorset’. Still convinced that badgers need to be slaughtered despite all the evidence to the contrary – but then why spoil an NFU/Tory policy by scientific facts?
(Starts at 10.00 minutes in)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06gqssm

Here is a a clip from FARMING TODAY on Wednesday 14 October.
Lord Krebs says that Meurig Raymond and the NFU are misleading farmers on the impact of badger culling.
(Listen from 7.37 minutes in)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06gy0rw 

And an interesting article here too.
Born Free: Are farmers being deliberately misled about badger culls?
http://www.bornfree.org.uk/campaigns/uk-wildlife/uk-wildlife-news/article/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=1989

PRESS AND TV COVER of the Dorset Cull
We were interviewed and accompanied out on patrol by the Dorset Echo, ITV News and the BBC ‘Inside Out’ News Team. So far we have the following reports:

ITV News with our Dorset Badger Patrol on National Badger Day 6th October.
http://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/2015-10-09/badger-cull-expected-to-end-in-days

Dorset Echo Report, which was published 4 weeks after the reporter came out on patrol.
http://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/13874126.ECHO_INVESTIGATES__My_night_on_patrol_with_badgerwatch

***NEW REPORT***
Our Dorset Badger Patrols were on BBC Inside Out, South East, BBC1 on 26th October. There are interviews in Tescos Car Park and a short bit on a patrol in North Dorset. Also features East Sussex Badger Vaccination Project and an interview with Lord Kerbs. (Watch from start on badger cull with Dorset approx 5 to 13 mins in).
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06kjlxr

DBBW will be focusing on our Badger Watch scheme from now on, checking setts for criminal activity, sett surveying, recording and mapping.

DBBW Badger watch

Dorset Badger Watch Scheme

Our sincere thanks again for protecting Dorset’s Badgers during the last challenging and deeply upsetting 6 weeks. We mourn for all our beautiful badgers so needlessly slaughtered.

If you’d like to help with our Dorset Badger Watch Scheme or join our mailing list for weekly news updates – please email Dorsetbbw@gmail.com.

BREAKING NEWS: Dorset Wounded Badger Patrols Start (September 2015)

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Photo credit: Colin Varndell

The Dorset Badger Patrols have started now that the Dorset badger cull is fully underway, and our badgers need you!

Are you appalled and saddened by this cruel and pointless cull?

Would you like to help to protect Dorset’s badgers by walking peacefully through the cull zone on public footpaths and rights of way?

If you’d like to find out more about Badger Patrols please have a look at this short film made by Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting which shows how people from all walks of life are rallying together to protect our wildlife:

 

PATROL MEET-UP DETAILS:

The Dorset Badger Patrols are meeting every evening at 7.30pm at Tescos Car Park in Blandford  DT11 9PU
(Turn off the Badger Roundabout on the A354)

The patrol routes will vary in length and each patrol will have a leader with a map of the route and all the tel. contacts needed.

You will need to bring:-

  • Suitable clothing for all terrain, including strong waterproof boots/shoes
  • A hi viz vest/jacket
  • A torch with spare batteries
  • Whistle
  • Mobile Phone
  • Water and snacks

If you have them please also bring:-

  • A camera/camcorder
  • OS Maps 117,118,129
  • A GPS device

UPDATE: Police Presence at our Patrol Meeting Place at Tescos Car Park, Blandford
Several folk have asked why we have the police present at our meeting place. The police are there to ensure that patrollers are not harassed or intimidated by any pro cull supporters. We do not advise the police of the patrol routes each evening, but they will keep a watchful eye on any patrols that have requested their help. They will also respond to any reports of intimidation, abuse or anti social use of vehicles against our Badger Protectors.

We hope to see you there and we are all there to protect our badgers and support each other to keep safe too.

Oliver Letwin MP voices support for ‘crime against wildlife’ as the badger cull starts in Dorset

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The badger cull HAS NOW STARTED HERE IN DORSET this September 2015.

Here is an open letter from Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare’s Karin Snellock to West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin, which is being widely circulated:

Dear Mr Letwin

I have just returned from my first night of walking the Dorset lanes and footpaths in preparation for the imminent badger cull.

I, along with very many other ordinary Dorset residents, are so appalled and saddened by this prospect that we feel compelled to raise our heads above the parapet and stand up for our beleaguered wildlife. We would much rather be going about our usual business, but we need to focus everyone’s attention on what is happening here.

As one of our Dorset MPs, you should be representing the interests of the majority of your constituents, who polls show to be against this cull. Instead, you are backing a government which seems hell-bent on ignoring evidence from just about everyone – scientific advisors, the BVA, wildlife experts – and pushing ahead with this disastrous policy.

The fact that the incidence of bovine TB in Dorset  is already falling dramatically – by 35per cent over the last two years – has been conveniently ignored.

In yesterday’s Guardian, three senior scientists, who between them produced two decades of government research into controlling badgers to reduce bovine TB, called for an immediate halt to the cull.

Professor Lord Krebs, Professor John Bourne and Professor Ranald Munro all stress “the central importance of cattle-to-cattle transmission in the spread of bovine TB”. Professor Bourne  has accused Defra of “either ignoring, cherry picking or purposefully misrepresenting the science” on badger culling.

The pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset have already proved to be cruel, divisive and most importantly ineffective. Killing an animal for no good reason makes it a crime against wildlife, and I feel your government’s actions in ignoring all advice to the contrary and ploughing ahead with this places you all firmly into this category.

When this policy fails to bring about the desired results, as it surely will, I hope you will be held accountable for your actions, not just against badgers but also for offering farmers a placebo instead of real, effective, help.

Until a vaccine for cattle (always seemingly a mystical 10 years away) is approved, there is no way bovine TB can be eradicated. In the meantime, increased bio-security, tighter controls on the  movement of cattle and stricter cattle testing measures have been shown to be very effective. Figures for Wales clearly demonstrate that these can make a real difference.

Culling badgers will not, a fact that will become only too apparent once you and your like minded colleagues in the Conservative Party have done your best to remove one of our best loved and most iconic animals from the British countryside.

Yours sincerely,
Karin Snellock

Click here to view the article published in the Dorset Echo >>

BREAKING NEWS: Badger Cull Confirmed for Dorset

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Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare are very disappointed to report that Natural England have today granted badger cull licences to Somerset, Gloucestershire and also Dorset this year.

You can read more at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/bovine-tb-authorisation-for-badger-culling-in-2015 and on the BBC news website at: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-34084352.

Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) have said that they too are “shocked and deeply saddened to learn the news that there will be a badger cull in Dorset this year, in a misguided attempt to control the spread of the devastating disease bovine tuberculosis (bTB).” Read their full response at: www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/dorset-badger-culls-confirmed.

The badger target for the slaughter in Dorset is a minimum of 615 / 835 maximum (15 badgers to be killed per day).

Culling badgers is not the answer. Not only has it been deemed completely inhumane, potentially it could make the problem worse as any badgers who do have TB may panic and flea cull zones, entering new otherwise TB free areas.

As Jay Tiernan and Lesley Docksey stated in their article earlier this week exposing the false claims of the Dorset NFU who applied for the licences (read the full article at: www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-70b1-Badgering-for-unfair-culls), the badger cull shows:

“Total disregard for the scientific data and official statistics: at best, wild unsubstantiated claims; at worst, downright distortion; and all because blaming wildlife is easier than letting better farming practices, testing and cattle controls sort out the problem.”

Our interview with Radio 4 Farming Today was broadcast this morning (before this announcement was made) and is at 8.20 mins – listen here: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0670033#play

The area has not yet been confirmed, but it could start any day.

We desperately need help this weekend with sett surveys and mapping and planning routes etc. This plea has gone out on our facebook pages, please help if you can:

CALLING ALL DORSET and FRIENDS BADGER ARMY!!!
Help Needed with essential preparation work in Dorset
Meet up Saturday 29 August 2015, 10.30am
At Woolland Hill Car Park, Bulbarrow (OS ref. ST783/059).
It’s on the road between Stoke Wake and Ibberton.
Wear suitable clothing (long sleeves and trousers) and boots for countryside walking. Bring water and food, pen and note pad. Also please bring (if you have) OS Maps 117,118,129, GPS, phone, camera.

Why a Badger Cull in Dorset?

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The government’s own statistics prove that cattle measures are working in Dorset.

From 2012 – 2014 the number of Dorset cattle slaughtered due to bTB fell by 37.25%.

The NFU are claiming that bTB in Dorset has risen more than anywhere else in the country. Where do they get this from? Is it their ‘anecdotal evidence’ again? It’s certainly not backed by Government stats.

Please, if you care about our badgers, write to your MP and contact Natural England TODAY. Ask them why they want to roll out a cull which has proved to be cruel, costly, unpopular and just doesn’t work!

Write to:
Bovine TB Licensing Unit,
Natural England, BM 6283,
London, WC1N 3XX
Tel: 0300 060 0550 – lines are open during office hours
Email: enquiries@naturalengland.org.uk

Find your Dorset Member of Parliament at:
www.dorsetforyou.com/384524

Cligg’s Clangers – Lesley Docksey reviews the threat from the proposed roll out of the badger cull to Dorset

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Dorset’s wildlife campaigners are working flat out to prepare for a possible badger cull – leafleting and informing the public, fundraising, sett mapping, buying necessary equipment to help them conduct wounded badger patrols in the dark and all the rest. A huge exercise in logistics which they hope will not be needed.

A few days ago the NFU announced it had formally requested Natural England for licences to cull badgers in Dorset. This is supposedly to control bovine TB. But are Natural England, Defra, the media and Dorset’s pro-culling farmers taking any notice of the figures that demonstrate how unnecessary a cull would be? No.

Let’s be clear, bovine TB is a problem, and for various reasons has increased in our herds since it was almost eradicated in the 1960s. But it infects maybe 0.4 percent of cattle in the United Kingdom. Many more cattle are needlessly slaughtered because of lameness, mastitis and other problems, a result of the demands we make on the animals.

The NFU has long been a champion of culling badgers. Though they state that ‘dealing with the problem in wildlife’ is just one of the many ‘tools in the box’ being used to control bTB, they don’t seem too keen on using those controls. As we shall see.

In 2012 Dorset farmer Paul Gould became chair of the Dorset branch of the NFU. He immediately called for a badger cull, since when there has been a constant stream of ‘news’ releases from him in the local media. This became manic when his own herd fell victim to bTB in April 2014. The NFU Chair Meurig Raymond visited his farm and between them they sold the story that only the badgers must have been the source of the disease.

But were badgers the source? Jay Tiernan and Stop the Cull did some research. They found that:

  • Gould’s herd had tested free 6 months later
  • That a neighbouring farm had had a bTB breakdown a few months before
  • That the neighbour’s cattle used fields adjacent to Gould’s fields. Both herds could have had nose-to-nose contact.
  • Both farms are now clear of bTB without culling badgers.

Naturally, none of this was mentioned by the NFU. Equally naturally, Mr Gould will be in charge of any badger cull that takes place.

Gould’s successor at Dorset NFU, Trevor Cligg, is just as keen for a cull, and has carried on the disinformation campaign to persuade Dorset how necessary a badger cull is. Considering how easy it is to disprove what he says, it is remarkable that he has been allowed to get away with such outrageous statements. For example:

In May this year, at an Environment & Wildlife general election hustings, he claimed that bovine TB was ‘rife’ in Dorset. In July on Radio Solent he said that “there are significant levels of TB in Dorset’s badgers.” No studies have been done that support this. Dorset’s badger vaccinators confirm they have never seen any diseased badgers, and that countrywide there has only been one incident of vaccinators calling out a vet – for a badger with a broken leg,

In August he claimed that “cases of TB have increased more in Dorset than any other part of the country in the last three years.” When challenged on this he said he was “using Animal and Plant Health Agency statistics”. But these are the figures which form Defra’s bTB statistics, updated every month. And what do they say?

In 2014 a total of 31,733 TB-infected cattle were slaughtered in the UK. Dorset contributed all of 744 to that number, a tiny 2.3 percent. The total slaughtered in the Western Region was 17,017. Dorset’s share was 4.37 percent. How ‘rife’ is that?

Compared to this, the slaughter rates for Somerset were 1,576; for Gloucester 1,153; for Devon 5,861; and Cornwall 2,875.

As annual testing is now the norm for the Western region, the number of bTB tests on Dorset cattle has almost doubled since 2008. Between January 2012 and December 2014, this has resulted in:

new incidents of bTB having dropped by 12 percent
herds under restriction having dropped by 13 percent
and the number of TB-infected cattle slaughtered dropped by 37.25 percent

All of this has been achieved without culling badgers. One should also point out that for almost all the Western Region counties, the slaughter rate has dropped over the same period, although in Somerset there are sight signs of an increase because of perturbation of the badger population, due to – badger culling!

These figures are totally at odds with what Trevor Cligg and the NFU have been claiming, and they prove that there is no justification for a badger cull in Dorset (or, I would add, anywhere else).

And what of all the other measures that can reduce bTB, like annual testing, strict bio-security on farms and markets, and strict cattle movement controls? How good are Paul Gould and Trevor Cligg at implementing the bio-security measures as advised by Defra? These would include fencing off badger setts, preventing wildlife access to farm buildings, and double-fencing fields to prevent physical contact between cattle.

Sarah King from Badger Guardians pointed to standards of bio-security on Paul Gould’s farm. “Mr Gould said on TV he’d done everything possible to keep badgers away from his cows. But this isn’t correct. Some of his cattle sheds are open to any wildlife which wants to wander in and badger setts on his farm haven’t been fenced off. He’s ignoring Defra’s key recommendations for minimising contact between badgers and cattle.”

And her colleague Andy Hamilton confirmed cattle belonging to Gould’s neighbour were still using fields next to Gould’s, and that no double fencing had been installed. He added that he had walked past Trevor Cligg’s farm just over a month ago. “No attempt had been made to prevent wildlife entering calf pens, clearly visible from the public road. Since neither past nor present Dorset NFU Chairmen has adopted Defra’s simplest recommendations it suggests they don’t believe badgers spread TB.”

This article is by Lesley Docksey from Brian Mays’ Save Me www.save-me.org.uk (with thanks to Jay Tiernan and Andy Hamilton)

Lesley Docksey © 09/08/15