Culling badgers was a mistake and farmers are to blame for TB crisis, report finds | Totally Vegan Buzz

Culling badgers was a mistake and farmers are to blame for TB crisis, report finds

The review recommended badgers should be vaccinated, and not slaughtered

The farming industry is to blame for the bovine tuberculosis (TB) crisis, not just badgers, according latest research.

The independent review found that constant trading of cattle and poor biosecurity on farms, such as ineffective fencing, is ‘severely’ damaging efforts to fight the TB crisis in England.

Scientists concluded that blaming badgers for causing the outbreak was a mistake.

The review, which commissioned by the environment secretary, Michael Gove, also said it was ‘highly desirable’ to stop culling badgers and vaccinate them instead.

The results fly in the face of Gove’s current policy, as he recently announced a huge expansion in badger culling.

Reaction

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said the report proved the Government is ‘abandoning science’ in its badger culling programme.

“Clearly, abandoning science & blaming badgers is easier than standing up to poor industry practice,” she tweeted.

Image courtesy of @CarolineLucas on Twitter

Statistics

  • 33,000 infected badgers were slaughtered in 2017
  • 42,000 badgers will be shot this year
  • TB infections in cattle cost the taxpayer £100m a year
  • Government has spent £40m on badger culling in total
  • £700,000 has been offered for badger vaccinations over four years

Report

The report is highly critical of farmers and ministers.

Leader of the review, at Oxford University, professor Charles Godfray, told The Guardian: “It is wrong to put all the blame on [badgers] and to use this as an excuse not to make hard decisions in the industry, which unfortunately is going to cost them money.

“We are still concerned about the amount of cattle movements that happen in this country. The number is really high.”

Key findings

  • Farming industry must take greater responsibility for on-farm controls, biosecurity and safe trading practices
  • More can be done to help farmers make purchasing decisions reflecting the risks of cattle being infected
  • Badgers do transmit bovine TB to cattle and contribute to the persistence of the disease
  • Vaccinations of badgers are more appropriate than culling

The report, which was commissioned by Environment Secretary Michael Gove in February, aims to inform strategies to eradicate the disease by 2038.

Farming minister George Eustice said: “As a Government we are committed to eradicating TB and have always been clear that there is no single measure for tackling it.

“That’s why we have pursued a range of interventions, including cattle movement controls, vaccinations and controlled culling in certain areas.”

What do you think of the report? Tell us in the comments section below!

Published by Oli Gross

Oli Gross is a writer and editor at Totally Vegan Buzz. His background is in local newspaper and magazine journalism, and his work has included reporting court cases, celebrity interviews, business analysis, food and drink features and government legislation. Oli’s career and personal ethical values both help shape his reporting of the diverse world of veganism. At Totally Vegan Buzz he specialises in breaking news and features on animal rights activism. Follow him on Twitter @Oli_Gross12

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