Research Ideas 21 to 24
Here are some research or discussion ideas for further study.
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21. TB and Cattle Feed Risks
It is assumed that one possible infection route for TB in cattle is
that the TB bacteria gets into cattle feed (from cattle, rats, cats,
badgers, deer and so on).
What research would you suggest to develop an artificial cattle feed
which could be made "TB-resistant".
Such TB-resistance might include the incorporation of an anti-bacterial
agent which would kill TB and other infectious bacteria.
It might also include a bacteria detection substance, which provided
altered taste characteristics when the feed was infected (so the cows
would not eat it).
22. Badgers and their Musk
A badgers musk is an exceptionally important marker, which allows it to
be recognised as part of a clan, and to signal its own identity on other
badgers or on territorial items (like trees and paths).
To what extent is the chemical composition of the musk of an individual
badger affected by other members of the group, or it is a fixed,
unchanging formula which that badger keeps for life?
If the musk of a badger is subject to change, is that change dependent
on the territory in which it lives - for example, is it dependent on soil
composition, flora and fauna, etc?
To what extent does the musk of a badger alter from one area of the
country to another? Are there any regional differences? If so, are they
significant enough to prevent badger clans from being
"assembled" from badgers cubs which are rehabilitated from
different regions of the country?
23. Parasites, Infections, Badgers and Cattle
Some people have argued that the recently increasing levels of
tuberculosis in cattle is mirrored by the increasing numbers of badgers.
That argument goes, that badgers are giving their TB to the cattle.
Importantly, though, the level of other cattle infections has seen a
similar increase - these including infections such as intestinal worms,
bovine diarrhoea and so on.
To what extent does the greater level of intestinal worms and bovine
diarrhoea in cattle, lead to greater numbers of badgers being exposed to
these damaging parasites. To what extent are badgers infected with these
parasites, likely to follow "reckless" behaviour, like visiting
cattle sheds or entering baited traps and cages in order to get the
increased amounts of food they need?
24. TB Vaccine Proposals
An independent scientists wants to conduct an
experiment using badgers; as he thinks he can develop a vaccine to stop
badgers getting tuberculosis. Subject to certain rules and regulations (to
be agreed), he has received a "nod and a wink" that he will be
able to get funding of £1,000,000 to develop a pilot study to assess the
likelihood of success, subject to certain objective, science-based rules