Badger Trust letter to the Sunday Times

See below the text of a letter sent from Badger Trust to the Editor of the Sunday Times, in response to an article written by Marie Woolf on June 26th.

Sir, 

Marie Woolf wrote (Minister backs badger cull – June 26th) that badgers were “the most likely cause” of cattle being slaughtered because of bovine tuberculosis. They are not. While one in seven badgers can carry the disease in the worst-affected areas the major cause is cattle-to-cattle transmission.

According to the latest full-year figures the number of cattle slaughtered in the UK has been steadily reduced between January 2009 and December 2010 by 15 percent. In Wales the cattle toll was halved during the same period  in the area for which culling has been proposed. Both these reductions were achieved without killing any badgers, but after the introduction of more stringent cattle-based measures. The 2007 report on the £50 million Randomised Badger Culling Trial said:: “. . . while badgers are clearly a source of cattle TB, careful evaluation of our own and others’ data indicates that badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain. Indeed, some policies under consideration are likely to make matters worse rather than better. Second, weaknesses in cattle testing regimes mean that cattle themselves contribute significantly to the persistence and spread of disease in all areas where TB occurs, and in some parts of Britain are likely to be the main source of infection. Scientific findings indicate that the rising incidence of disease can be reversed, and geographical spread contained, by the rigid application of cattle-based control measures alone”.

David Williams
Chairman Badger Trust
28th June 2010.

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