Tuberculosis in cattle (bTB) is a serious problem, but killing the majority of badgers in Britain is a dangerously misguided, hugely unpopular and ultimately unethical solution.Scientific opinion is strongly against the cull, with most experts agreeing that killing badgers will do little to curb TB in cattle, if anything the planned cull will like make matters much worse. Under the current scheme at least 70% of the badgers in the cull zones will be shot, at night, as they flee from their sets. This method will likely see many badgers wounded, going to ground and dying slowly from their injuries. Those who escape the guns will leave the area, leaving them stressed and more vulnerable to disease. If they already carry TB they will then infect badgers in other areas, spreading the disease further rather than containing and curbing it.As with disease in human populations, if we wish to deal with TB in badgers then the most effective answer is a programme of mass vaccination
. Once badgers are vaccinated a level of immunity will start to build in an area, with cubs born to mothers who have been vaccinated carrying that immunity.In order to deal with TB in cattle it has been acknowledged by the government’s own scientific advisor, Lord Krebs, that mass killing of badgers has not and will not be effective in any significant reduction of the incidence of TB in cattle. He calls for a programme of vaccination and for improved welfare and biosecurity on farms. We strongly support this call.
We are beginning to gather support and stand ready to mobilise should a cull be carried out in Dorset, which is looking increasingly likely. We will work with and support groups working against the cull in Somerset and Gloucestershire and nationally.
For more information about the cull and the scientifically sensible alternatives please visit one of the following: