The Mole had long wanted to make the acquaintance of the Badger. He seemed, by all accounts, to be such an important personage and, though rarely visible, to make his unseen influence felt by everybody about the place. Kenneth Graham, Wind in the Willows, 1908.
This book aims to explain the English cattle/badger bovine tuberculosis (bTB) problem. We have to understand how relevant human knowledge and thinking has evolved from the beginning to comprehend the current situation.
Badger culling is only part of a national strategy of tuberculosis eradication, but it is the cause of major conflict and acrimony within our nation. There are two substantial sides to the issue, with various facets. Some aspects of the matter are quintessentially English. A study of how we have dealt with and continue to deal with this problem gives an insight into how we attempt to deal with other problems. There is a vast amount of confusing information in circulation. If the truth can be hammered out, it could form a basis on which we can move forward with a workable degree of agreement.
There are 18 chapters covering politics, sociology, the badger, cattle farming, disease control by governments, foot and mouth disease, history, the current situation, pathogenesis, detection, spread, vaccination, badger euthanasia, dishonesty and a satirical post script. Some points are emphasised by cartoon illustrations.
The book will be of interest to veterinary and medical scientists and various branches of their professions, epidemiologists, public health officials, zoologists, general scientists, conservationists, farmers, politicians, sociologists, animal welfare workers, ethnologists and the general public. It may interest people who like solving real puzzles and those interested in management problems. The book is organised so that technical chapters can be skipped, to be referred to later as understanding of the subject develops.