Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) is a serious problem and kills thousands of cattle each year. Badgers have unfairly been given the blame for the spread of bTB in cattle, when in fact the largest cause of the spread of the disease is cattle passing the disease to other cattle through poor farm practices, flawed testing for bTB and cattle movements around the country.
In Wales a vaccination scheme was introduced which is successfully eradicating bTB. Instead in 2013 and 2014 the UK government chose to carry out a badger cull lasting six weeks in Somerset and Gloucestershire and in 2015 extended the cull zone to include Dorset.
All the key scientific findings show that culling badgers will have very little impact on bTB and may well make it worse. There is a real concern that the UK Government could extend badger culling to other parts of the country over the next few years. If so, 100,000 badgers could die.
“Most badgers are healthy. The Randomised Badger Culling Trials (RBCT) which form the basis of the ISG’s final report and recommendations showed that even in bTB hotspots less than one in seven badgers were infected and when road-killed badgers from seven hotspot counties were examined the figures were almost the same (15 per cent infected).”
“The near obsession with the alleged role of badgers has distracted attention away from more important research and cattle management issues…Foxes, squirrels, rats and deer are among wildlife known to suffer from TB.” The Badger Trust