The Badger Trust has welcomed advice from Defra's Science Advisory
Council (SAC) which states that badger culling is "unlikely
to be an effective control measure" for bovine TB.
The advice is contained in a letter dated 20 January
2006 and sent to Defra's Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor
The SAC says that research "supports the hypothesis that
a substantial proportion of infection of cattle in GB at present
is not due to infection by badgers, but is associated with other
mechanisms such as cattle-to-cattle transmission". Crucially,
the SAC emphasises that TB control measures based on cattle must
be "implemented successfully" before any badger culling
could be considered:
"Culling of badgers is therefore unlikely to be an effective
control measure unless and until further measures to reduce breakdowns
due to mechanisms such as cattle-to-cattle transmission have
been implemented successfully."
It also advises that the "small reduction" in TB achieved
by badger culling "may not be cost effective".
David Williams, chairman of the Badger Trust, commented:
"Continued claims by the National Farmers Union that badgers
are the primary source of bovine TB are clearly unfounded.
We urge the farming industry to reverse its decision not to cooperate
with cattle- based TB control measures if badger culling is not
permitted. The NFU has lost the badger culling argument and
must now show some political maturity and intelligent leadership
in this debate."
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