New Report Casts Doubt on Effectiveness of Badger Cull

A new report, commsissioned by Defra and produced by Imperial College and the Zoological Society of London, casts doubt on the effectiveness of badger culling in reducing the incidence of bovine TB in the UK. The report examines the aftermath of the Krebbs random badger culling trials which took place between 1998 – 2005.

Speaking to the BBC, Professor Christl Donnelly, lead author of the report from Imperial College London, said that “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.” The report also suggests that savings to the Government and to farmers, through reduced bovine TB incidence in cattle, are two to three times lower than the cost of culling badgers.

Wales is preparing to instigate a badger cull later this year. Dr Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Advisor in Wales, commenting on the findings of the report, said that the Welsh approach would not be the same as that used in the Krebbs trials and would instead see a limited cull couple with strict cattle control measures, over a limited area and for a sustained period. Dr Glossop said that she anticipated that the badger cull in Wales would be successful.

Professor Rosie Woodroffee, Senior Research Fellow at the ZSL, appeared on the BBC’s Today Programme this morning at 7am, commenting on the report. The programme is available to listen to again online.

More information on badgers and bovine TB is available from the BES website.