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Sign the e-petition! (September 2016)

If any local farmers would like to contact us about this issue and badgers on their land then please do. Contact us at mail@wildsheffield.com

Email your MP with your views on badger culling.

Email your MEP to press for the EU ban on a cattle vaccine to be lifted. A cattle vaccine is the long term solution to the bTB problem, but EU rules currently prevent it from being tested and used in this country – find out why. Find the details of your MEP here.

Evidence and references:

Click here for more information and background to the Wildlife Trust’s view on badgers and bTB.

To try and scientifically test whether culling badgers would reduce the disease, ‘Randomised Badger Culling Trials’ were carried out from 1998-2007. These were led by Professor (now Baron) John Krebs and cost £50 million.

The trial established that cattle to cattle transmission of the disease is the most prevalent route of infection and that stopping this should be a priority (through good farm biosecurity for example). The trials also revealed that, although there can be some short-term reduction in some high bTB areas after a cull, this is only a short-term effect (less than four years) and only if the cull eliminates a very high proportion of the population. This is because in most cases culling disrupts stable badger territories leading to more badger movements and spreading of the disease (the perturbation effect). The trial concluded that a reactive cull of badgers resulted in significant increases in bovine TB and a proactive cull, while controlling TB in the cull area, contributed to an increase in TB in surrounding areas, and would not be cost effective.

The Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB concluded in its final report (2007) that it was: “unable to conceive of a system of culling, other than the systematic elimination, or virtual elimination, of badgers over very extensive areas, that would avoid the serious adverse consequences of perturbation”. Baron Krebs and Professor John Bourne – a vet who chaired the Independent Science Group on bTB have publically stated that culling is not the answer to cattle TB control in Britain. However Sir David King (then Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government) interpreted the data differently and recommended that culls could be effective, but only if very well planned and executed and covering at least 265km2.

Therefore the current Government is pursuing badger culling. The latest pilot culls are being carried out in Somerset and Gloucestershire. A target was set of culling 70% of the badger populations, so reduce the perturbation effect. The culls have been unsuccessful so far as they have not met their targets. However the Government has proposed to extend the culls to other areas.

Information about the specifics of the licensing of badger culls can be found on the Natural England website here.

Find out more about what the Wildlife Trusts are doing to promote vaccination and to protect badgers around the country by visiting the badger pages on the Wildlife Trusts website here. Included is a great video as well as a useful infographic.

The Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food has produced an excellent summary of the Natural Science Evidence Base Relevant to the Control of Bovine Tuberculosis in Great Britain.

If any local farmers would like to contact us about this issue and badgers on their land then please do. Contact us at mail@wildsheffield.com