RECENT 'progress' on badgers and bovine TB: - four steps forward, and three and a half backwards or sideways, writes Martin Hancox.

At the recent NFU Conference, Michael Gove, reiterated the Godfray claim that badger culls will reduce cattle TB by 15 per cent.

No doubt government response to Godfray will shortly reaffirm.

But badger cull perturbation increasing TB is actually pure fantasy, so is a clever optical delusion and pseudo-scientific fraud.

George Eustice and Christine Middlemiss also still claiming the full four year pilot culls in Glos and Somerset, halved TB.

But that is simply daft, just 3,565 badgers removed, perhaps 400 with TB, but only a dozen superexcretors, from c. 300

Eustice resigned from government, mostly over Brexit, and uncertainty over grants.

It'll be most interesting to see if replacement minister will be any less pink specs tunnel visioned.

Neil Parish and the EFRA Committee asked Tony Juniper, probable new head of Natural England if he would continue with culls.

Whilst preferring wildlife trust vaccination policy, he said he would implement licencing culls if so instructed by Gove.

However a check on the 'science' needed.

Unfortunately he will be given the Godfray nonsense, so back to square one.

And lastly, February 28, and March 1, saw Crowdjustice/Badger Trust appeal in the high court.

Challenging adequacy of natural England monitoring of cull impacts of protected habitats.

If there is any justice, in all this Judge Ross Cranston, ought to rule that licencing badger culls under the Badgers Act 1992, must clearly be unlawful, because neither culls or vaccination schemes will ever work.

Because rather embarrassingly, badgers have never actually been the cause of the spread of Cattle TB in the first place.

No-one has ever explained how badgers might give cows a respiratory lung disease, so all the scatter of new unconfirmed breakdowns supposedly due to badgers are actually simply new unconfirmed reactors from the last herd breakdown.

Nothing to do with badgers whatsoever.

Martin Hancox ex-government TB Panel