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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Badger culls not 'cost effective' say scientists

A new report from Imperial College London and the Zoological Society of London has concluded that badger culls are unlikely to be a cost- effective way of controlling bovine tuberculosis in cattle. The report, which studied the aftermath of cull trials in England, claims the benefits "disappear" after four years.

Speaking on Radio Wales this morning, one of the authors of that report said that the evidence indicated that the churn created by killing badgers effectively doubles the prevalence of bovine TB in the cull area and causes the disease to spread to adjoining areas. She was adamant that the scheme proposed for North Pembrokeshire would not work.

These are precisely the arguments that I and other opponents of this cull have put against the Plaid Cymru Rural Affairs Minister's proposal. This report offers new weight to those arguments with properly researched evidence:

Prof Christl Donnelly, senior author of the study from Imperial College London, said: "Bovine TB is a big problem in Britain and the disease can profoundly affect farmers' livelihoods.

"We know that it is transmitted between cattle and badgers, so the randomised badger culling trial was set up to find out if culling badgers would help control the spread of the disease.

"There has been some controversy over badger culling as a bovine TB control method and it has been unpopular with the general public.

"Although badger culling reduced cattle bovine TB during the trial and immediately thereafter, our new study shows that the beneficial effects are not sustained, disappearing four years post-cull."

Prof Donnelly said the research also suggested the savings farmers and the government would make by reducing bovine TB infections in cattle were two or three times less than the cost of repeated badger culls as undertaken in the trial.

"This is not a cost-effective contribution to preventing bovine TB infections in cattle," added Prof Donnelly.

Government claims that somehow the Welsh Government's solution is different were not accepted by the interviewee on Good Morning Wales and are difficult to sustain. In any case it would be difficult to properly assess whether the proposals for North Pembrokeshire are effective simply because there is no scientific methodology being applied.

There is no control area to measure the efficacy of the measures and no proper boundaries to the cull area that would prevent movement in and out of it by badgers. If this government is really evidence-based as they claim they would look seriously at this report and re-think their approach.
Didn't you listen to the chief veterninary officer......I should have put Welsh in front of that title because your default is always everything English.

Again I'll try and explain to you....I'm not sure that the badger extermination in a defined area WITH other measures will work, but unlike you I'm happy to give this pilot scheme a chance. Of course, you don't think that £100 million in compensation payments and destroyed herds are to be compared to the sweet little badger as shown on tv by the BBC luvvies tonight. Can't we have a pilot area for a muppet cull spreading from Penarth to Swansea?
Elin Jones and the other so wise a.m.'s should rethink and look at scientific findings based on projects already undertaken. My contacts also suggest that an Animal Liberation Front survey team were up at the designated badger cull area photographing terrain and mapping last saturday.
they have finslly got one, just what you overhear in pubs , farmer finally convicted of fiddling bovine tB tests, 14 counts http://wales.gov.uk/location/pembrokeshire/latestnews/100126tbtest/?lang=en
Anon 7.24pm: Scientific evidence does not change just because it crosses the border. And the badgers are not cuddly but they are a protected species and they are a vital part of the biodiversity of the area.
i'll second that Peter black. They are a protected part of the ecological fabric of Wales and should not be meddled with or culled
As a vegan living 1km from the cull area I totally object to paying compensation to farmers and I totally object to paying through taxes for this cruel cull. If there was some mechanism for witholding tax I would do it!
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