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Monday, November 09, 2020

Study shows irrelevance of cruel badger cull

Any doubts about the scientific efficacy of the badger cull in England must surely have been allayed this morning with the news that a Government-backed study concluded just one in 12 badgers found dead on roads has bovine tuberculosis.

The Mirror reports that researchers from Nottingham University collected and tested 610 “roadkill” badger carcasses, but found only 51 infected with the disease:

The revelations came from a £497,000 study funded by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – the Whitehall ministry responsible for tens of thousands of badgers being culled.

A 37-page report by Professor Malcolm Bennett, of Nottingham University's School of Veterinary Science and Medicine, outlined findings showing just 8.3% of the dead animals his team surveyed had bTB – despite the creatures being blamed for giving the disease to cows across England.

Up to 64,657 badgers are due to be slaughtered this autumn to curb the spread of bTB.

Some 102,188 have been culled since 2013.

The study was ordered in 2016 and completed in June 2018 – meaning three more “culling seasons” have taken place since it was finalised.

Animal welfare campaigners said the report proved the controversial killing programme was doomed to fail to stop the spread of bTB.

Dominic Dyer, wildlife advocate at the Born Free charity, criticised the “cruel, costly and ineffective badger cull”.

He told the Mirror the study “clearly shows that the vast majority of badgers being killed under cull licences are completely TB free and their death will have no impact whatsoever on lowering bovine TB in badgers or cattle”.

He added: “It’s a national disgrace that badgers are being pushed to the verge of local extinction in areas of England where they have lived since the Ice Age as a result of culling, when the Government have evidence to prove the vast majority do not carry bovine TB.

“The Government could kill every badger in England but bovine TB will remain in cattle herds as it’s primarily a cattle-based disease.”

Surely it is time to stop grovelling to the superstitutions of farmers on bovine TB and actually institute a proper programme to deal with the disease, including cattle movement controls, testing, and vaccinations. This cruel and needless slaughter has gone on too long.
Is it not time that farmers considered their own way of looking after cattle.TB CAN BE CAUGHT IN DAMP ENVIRONMENTS. That is,I would assume,farmers hose down cattle stalls etc.I doubt if cattle live in damp free centrally heated barns! but in cold, open, places exposed to cold damp climates. Then there is the time cattle spend outside again in all weathers. TB and damp conditions has been known for many a year to bring forth the disease in humans. I do not see any reason why cattle are any different.
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