Update on Bovine TB and the UK Badger Cull

argylesock says… Culling badgers, vaccinating badgers, aren’t the only possible responses to the problem of bovine tuberculosis (bTB). There’s also the strategy of restricting cattle (Bos primigenius) movements around the country. You can read how I came to the opinion that cattle movement control is the right way forward, under my ‘badger’ and ‘tuberculosis’ tags. The badger cull is probably futile and it might make the problem worse.

thinkingcountry

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson (shown above) has described Bovine TB as ‘the most pressing animal health problem facing this country’. It has led to the slaughter of more than 28,000 cattle in England in the last year at a cost to the taxpayer of nearly £100 million and it will cost an estimated £1 billion over the next decade if ‘left unchecked’.

The badger cull which has been hailed for some time as ‘the answer to the problem’ has proven to be incredibly controversial. The trial cull officially began in Somerset and Gloucestershire on Saturday, although the first animals are not expected to be killed for at least another week. The aim is to reduce tuberculosis in cattle by killing infected badgers that spread the disease. However, large scale protests have recently been joined by a letter to the Independent newspaper from a number of members of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) attacking their…

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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