The Badger Trust is calling attention to the way bovine tuberculosis
was defeated over the decade up to 1970 by the area eradication
scheme without any culling of wildlife including badgers. A Trust
spokesman said: "BTB stands for Bovine Tuberculosis. It also
means 'been there before'".
The successful programme followed annual slaughter of up to 23,716
cattle in 1936 - broadly equal to the present toll - and 15,000
in 1961 after the whole country had been brought into annual testing.
By 1979 it was down to only 628 individuals.
"Now, the Government has still not ruled out killing wildlife
even though its own scientists have said it could make matters
worse. They have also said movement of untested cattle far outweighs
any wildlife considerations," said Mr David Williams, Badger
Last week Defra figures indicated a sharp reduction in herd breakdowns
although no wildlife killing had taken place since the culling
of the last few animals at the end of last year in the Krebs trials.
Herd breakdowns have fallen by 40 per cent in Northern Ireland
since 2004 through regular and prompt testing - and no killing
of badgers at all.
The scientist reviewing the success of a post-war area eradication
scheme wrote in 1961: "The plan went smoothly from the beginning;
no serious difficulties were encountered and the great majority
of owners cooperated in the carrying out of tuberculin tests".
Mr Williams said: "Three decades have been wasted since the
1970s pursuing the mirage of a 'wildlife reservoir'. Testing had
been relaxed and the result was a runaway spread of infection.
The same thing happened in the United States because testing was
suspended during World War II. The solution there was the same
as here. We should simply do the same again because we know it
top scientists reject badger culling to control bovine TB
Blair plays down public response to badger killing
Trust welcomes pre-movement testing, but more must be done