Chris House our chairman, who died on Monday, November 11 from a brain tumour was a staunch supporter of VAWM from it’s inception in 2004 and before that of Vets for Hunting from 2000. His death was a great shock to all of us since he had been live and well and riding to hounds at our last meeting on Bodmin moor in October 2018.
He became chairman of VAWM in 2014 providing wise and supportive counsel, often attending meetings on our behalf as seen in the accompanying images. He was particularly effective in promoting our cause with the students of his alma mater. He qualified from the RVC in 1978 and was in practice with his wife Jane in Ingatestone, Essex.
He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. We send great sympathy to his wife Jane, who like Chris is a strong supporter of VAWM. We send her our deepest sympathy.
Lewis H.Thomas, secretary VAWM
Reprint and update of A Veterinary Opinion on Hunting with Hounds
A PDF version of “A Veterinary Opinion on Hunting with Hounds” can be downloaded on this link
Video on Hunting with Hounds
Our latest video on Hunting with Hounds
Our mission statement on wildlife management
The Facts of Rural Life on the need for better wildlife management was launched on June 23, 2015 at Westminster to a select group of politicians, journalists and wild life experts. The book was warmly endorsed in a short address by Sir Nicholas Soames MP and Kate Hoey MP
The book by Charlie Pye-Smith makes the case for better wildlife management. It draws on extensive research in the field and interviews with scientists, farmers, conservationists, vets, gamekeepers, huntsmen and others involved in the study and management of wildlife, and it addresses many of the crucial conservation controversies of our time. It also exposes the consequences of ill-thought through legislation. It provides a valuable resource for politicians, the media and anyone genuinely concerned about conservation, animal welfare and the future of Britain's countryside.
The case for culling badgers to control bovine TB is irrefutable
The disease was almost eradicated in the 1980s by a combined strategy of tuberculin testing of cattle and culling of badgers. But following the Zuckerman report of 1980 culling was scaled down and entirely abandoned following the Krebs report in 1997 by the in coming Labour Government. Since when, as may be seen from the chart below, the disease has escalated out of control:
Clearly it won't be controlled by killing more and more cattle as recommended by the so called Independent Scientific Group in 2006! 39,389 cattle were slaughtered in 2016. The current inefficient, labour intensive, strategy of farmer led badger culling is simply holding the disease at a wholly unacceptable level. Nor is it likely to be controlled by vaccination (see above)
VAWM publishes a critical response to the recent Bovine TB strategy review from DEFRA (The Godfray review)
The Association was moved to respond to the latest review published by DEFRA (October 2018) chaired by Sir Charles Godfray.
One is driven to the conclusion that the two assumptions on cattle to cattle transmission and vaccination are driven more by political expediency than science and one must question therefore the value of a report and strategy based as it is largely on these two assumptions.
We urge Government therefore to take direct hold of the problem and resume research into identifying humane fumigants coupled with precise identification of infected badger setts by molecular PCR testing so that a more efficient, humane and targeted strategy of culling badgers underground might be pursued. Such an approach that targeted only infected/diseased animals would clearly be more acceptable to the public in general and to the profession.
Oue full response to the Godfray review can be [downloaded here].
VAWM publishes a position statement on control of bovine TB
The Badger protection acts of 1973 and 1992 are identified as the major constraint to effective control of the badger population and bovine TB. The Association calls therefore for a broadening of the criteria whereby Natural England grant licences for culling of badgers and calls on DEFRA to identify as a matter of urgency an effective and humane fumigant for the culling of badgers underground. The statement was submitted to the Secretary of State, Liz Truss in November 2015.
The full statements may be read [on this link].
Our “latest declarartion” is contained in a recent letter published in The Veterinary Times on May 27, 2019 which is
The scientific basis for the Badger BCG vaccine is questionable
A recent critical assessment of the scientific basis for the Badger BCG vaccine reveals serious shortcomings.
Although the vaccine has been shown to provide some protection against experimental challenge it fails to protect against infection and all vaccinated animals shed M.bovis post challenge. Furthermore it has no proven efficacy against bovine TB in the field. The likelihood therefore of the vaccine giving protection in the face of the massive infection out there in the badger population is therefore highly improbable. The vaccine has only a Limited Marketing Authority. For more information please see our letter to the AHVLA questioning the efficacy and safety of the Badger BCG vaccine (2014b).
Video about Badgers and bovine TB
Our latest video about Badgers and bovine TB
A response to the Governments consultations on bovine TB and badger culling 2010, 2013 and 2014
Hounds in the countryside
The claim that hounds may spread bovine TB in the countryside is clearly self serving nonsense. See our letter to the Veterinary Times - November 5, 2018 attached here.
Latest study on the transmission of bovine TB offers us a dazzling glimpse of the obvious!
Our latest letter to the Veterinary Times on bovine TB on September 19th 2016. [Click here to read the letter].
Understanding Life in the Wild
'Wild animals must be treated in ways that do not necessarily apply to domestic animals' according to a new review produced by the VAWM. “Life in the Wild” highlights the fundamental differences in the way in which wild and domestic animals live and the differing approaches to their management and welfare.
In the wild there are pressures on wild animals, such as disease and population control that do not apply to domestic animals. In an environment that is called 'wild', yet is almost exclusively man-managed, there is a responsibility on man to ensure a proper balance is kept. “Life in the Wild” describes the detrimental consequences of 'leaving things to nature' and explains why certain actions that are unnecessary and possibly devastating to a domestic animal are essential and natural for wild animals.
Download a copy of “Life in the Wild” in PDF format on this link
Our response to Labour's Animal Welfare Manifesto 2019
The Veterinary Association for Wildlife Management (VAWM) welcomes any serious proposal to improve the welfare of animals provided that such measures have a sound scientific basis, are workable and the consequences are fully thought through.
Within the 50-point plan there are areas that are beyond VAWM’s remit, but nevertheless would obviously improve the welfare of domestic animals, such as the steps to be taken to end the illicit trade in dogs through puppy farming, and these are to be welcomed.
However, other points below addressing wild animal welfare, are a cause for concern our full response can be downloaded [on this link].