November 2003 - Reactive Badger Cull Suspended in UK Following 27% Increase in TB

There has been an immediate suspension of reactive badger culling in the UK following an announcement from animal health and welfare Minister Ben Bradshaw that reactive badger culling has increased the rate of bovine TB in cattle by 27 per cent.

The Krebs experiment began in 1998 to test whether culling badgers reduces bovine TB in cattle. The experment is run in 10 areas, each 10 Km squared. Each square is divided into 3 areas. In the first area, "Proactive" culling takes place, where as many badgers as possible are killed throughout the entire area. In the second area, "Reactive" culling involves killing badgers in areas where TB has been found. This is where an increase of 27% in the occurence of TB has been found. In the third area, no culling takes place.

'The reactive culling data confirms that there is a bovine TB link between badgers and cattle; that comes as no surprise. But the data shows you cannot break the link by killing badgers,' said Dr King. 'Instead, reactive culling makes the situation far worse and even suggests that cattle are giving the disease to previously uninfected badgers. We therefore have to look elsewhere for a solution to this disease.' No data has been presented from the re-active culling experiments yet.

In Ireland, the Dept of Agriculture are currently in the process of culling 30% of all Badgers in the country, in designated areas. To date, we have killed almost 50,000 Badgers. Pressure is now mounting on the minister, Joe Walsh, to stop the cull in Ireland. The killing of Badgers in Ireland uses a barbaric snare, that causes a slow and grizzly death. (In the UK, badgers are captured in cages and shot). The dept. plans to hire up to 75 contractors to carry out this work, but now it seems that this tax payers money may only make things worse.

It is hoped that the Minister doesn't wait too long to make his mind up.

If you want something to be done about this issue, contact your local TDs and raise the issue with them. Alternatively, ring Joe Walsh directly and voice your concerns.


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