Christopher Gaskell to chair Welsh TB panel

THE scientist who is to chair the Welsh Government-ordered review of scientific evidence for the eradication of bovine TB in Wales is to be Professor Christopher Gaskell.

He is the principal of Cirencester’s Royal Agricultural College, a position he took up in August 2007, and was previously a Pro-vice-Chancellor at the University of Liverpool.

The long awaited announcement came this morning (Tuesday, July 19) from the Wales Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor John Harries.

He said Professor Gaskell “has a wealth of experience in the field. He is a vet and is a scientist of the highest integrity and distinction.

“I know he will lead a proper, thorough and objective review of the scientific evidence that exists on this complex and potentially devastating disease.

“He is a member of the Science Advisory Council for Wales, which offers advice and challenge to me as Chief Scientific Adviser, across all science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.”

The appointment follows last month’s decision by Wales Environment Minister, John Griffiths, to commissioned a review of the scientific evidence base relating to bTB eradication by an independent chairperson, and panel of experts in order to take the work forward.

Professor Harries also said he will name the make up of the full panel as soon as possible, following discussions with Professor Gaskell and other advisers.

It is hoped that the review report will be delivered in the autumn.

The announcement also stressed that the review does not call into question the decisions of the Welsh Ministers to pursue the eradication of bovine TB.

It reflected a Government commitment to take a science-led approach to evaluate and review the best way of tackling the disease.

The panel will take evidence as appropriate, including that from the Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Professor Christianne Glossop, who has played a key role in formulating the Wales TB eradication strategy.

Also stressed is that the review is limited to the consideration of the scientific issues.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Anyone would think bTB was a NEW problem!

    "review of scientific evidence".

    If ever anyone tried to run a business in this way they would have gone bankrupt long ago.

    The thing the badger groups 'et al' cannot seem to accept and are now even deny with lies on TV News, is the fact that we once conquered this problem by clearing badger setts in the locality of herds and culling any reactor cattle. . The national herd was clear of disease and all herds in the UK were officially designated ‘Brucellosis Free’ in October 1985. . That is ‘all such pathogens’.

    That's the 'scientific evidence'.

    With the discovery of Streptomycin and other antibiotics and drugs; we thought we had beaten tuberculosis and all the sanatoriums had long been closed. . . Then some in their mistaken wisdom decided the risk from badgers was by then minimal. . With the EXPLOSION in the badger population, we can all now see just how ‘minimal’ that was.

    The gassing of badgers ceased in the late 1970s and testing of cattle continued. . In 1986, a total of 38,000 herds comprising 3,200,000 cattle were tested, resulting in the slaughter of just 506 cattle that reacted to the test. . The latest position with huge numbers being slaughtered is neither acceptable or sustainable.

    “It happens then as it does to physicians in the treatment of Consumption, which in the commencement is easy to cure and difficult to understand; but when it has neither been discovered in due time nor treated upon a proper principle, it becomes easy to understand and difficult to cure. The same thing happens in state affairs; by foreseeing them at a distance, which is only done by men of talents, the evils which might arise from them are soon cured; but when, from want of foresight, they are suffered to increase to such a height that they are perceptible to everyone, there is no longer any remedy.”

    . . Niccolo Machiavelli 1469-1527

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  • Ah but which scientific issues? The jobs of the ecologists perhaps?

    God forbid that anyone would consider the farming issues!

    Once again, we will see a panel of none farmers trying to force their anti livestock farming views onto farmers and then lamenting the fact that farmers don't want to cooperate!

    Let us hope that Prof, Gaskell isn't another vegan knows it all, but actually did learn something from his time at Ag college other than how to look down his nose at farmers!

    We shall see!


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