Culling badgers a 'complete waste' of time?

PUBLISHED: 14:00 23 August 2016

Badger culls have been slammed by Secret World.

Badger culls have been slammed by Secret World.

Archant

Badgers may not spread tuberculosis to cattle through direct contact, according to new research — questioning the effectiveness of badger culls in the South West.

A scientific study found that badgers and cattle do not come into direct contact with each other, and suggested current methods of TB prevention should be reassessed.

Professor Rosie Woodroffe, of the Zoological Society of London, led the study which examined the geographical movement of badgers and cattle using GPS tracking technology.

Pauline Kidner, founder of Secret World Wildlife Rescue in Highbridge — which frequently rescues badgers — believes the evidence confirms culling is not necessary. She said: “The work of Rosie Woodroffe is very sound and it’s confirming what we already know.

“Cows and badgers are infected by the environment, rather than nose-to-nose contact. Peer-reviewed scientific evidence shows that culling badgers is a complete waste of time.

“Culling is purely political, being done to appease the National Farmers Union (NFU).

“Robust science shows it’s a waste of time. That money could be better spent supporting farmers with breakdowns or furthering research and vaccines.

The NFU, however, argue the evidence does not strengthen the case against culling. A spokesman for the union’s South West branch said: “Whether through direct or indirect contact, no one argues that badgers have a role in spreading tuberculosis to cattle, so this study doesn’t really affect the case for or against badger culling.

“Culling is part of the Government’s 25-year tuberculosis eradication policy which we need to see implemented in full.”

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