Farmers back Welsh badger cull

BOTH farming unions in Wales have welcomed the decision to go ahead with a pilot area cull of badgers.

NFU Cymru president, Dai Davies, said the industry would never get rid of the growing scourge of bovine TB without the application of a comprehensive strategy that dealt with the problem in both cattle and badgers.

“Stringent measures have already been implemented to deal with the problem in cattle, extensive work has been undertaken by the TB programme board, environmental and ecological impact assessments have been done, expert scientific advice taken in determining the pilot area and we are entirely satisfied that the approach is based on sound science with every ‘i’ dotted and ‘t’ now crossed.

“No-one should, however, expect to see a short-term fix. In the same way as there has been a steady escalation in the incidence of bovine TB it will take time to control and turn the disease position around.

“But at last there is now a hope of ridding ourselves of this dreadful disease,” he added.

Farmers Union of Wales bTB spokesman, Brian Walters, said it marked “an important step” towards reducing incidence in an area with one of the highest rates of the disease in Europe.

“The work undertaken and commissioned by the office of the chief veterinary officer shows this decision is the right one - and the only one likely to result in significant falls in bTB.”

He was, however, concerned that a legal challenge by the Badger Trust should not derail the eradication programme.

“It has taken a great deal of work to get to this position, but as time marches on the epidemic continues to grow. A lengthy and drawn out court case would see the epidemic continue to escalate.

“There seems to be no end to the unfounded and misleading statements being issued, by many of those who oppose the cull, which fly in the face of conclusive scientific evidence gathered over almost four decades.

“There is no doubt that badgers are the major obstacle to controlling the spread of bTB to cattle and that badger culling works. Any talk about farming practices being a significant factor are unfounded and have been shown to be such following numerous initiatives aimed at cattle alone,” he added.

“The bottom line is that badgers and cattle share the same fields, yet we have been culling tens of thousands of cattle while ignoring the wildlife reservoir.”

Readers' comments (10)

  • A massive victory for common sense. Why has it taken so long?

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  • I'm an experienced fox/pest controller.Where do I sign up?

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  • i cant not get my head around this cull, it seems that it is only the badger that spreads this . so its not spread by rats or cattle or birds just badger . would it not be wiser to spend money on devolpment of a cure . and save the tax payer and the farmer money .

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  • Surely the 'conclusive scientific evidence gathered over almost four decades' is that culling is at best an expensive and inefficient way of controlling cattle TB. It actually increases the prevalence of TB in badgers, and if done badly can increase TB in cattle. That's what I see in both the conclusion of the ISG and more recent comments by experts such as Dr Robbie McDonald in the Farmers Guardian 4 September 2009 article "TB: The science behind the decisions"

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  • i think the badger cull should have gone ahead along time ago? this problem with the bovine tb mainly caused / spread by the badger has caused far to much expense on the farming industry already and will continue to do so if some it is not done about it? also more measures should be taken to help prevent this awful disease

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  • "Results showed that reactive
    culling increased, rather than reduced, the incidence of TB in cattle
    .... proactive culling reduced TB incidence in cattle in culled areas. However, as described in the report, this beneficial effect on cattle breakdowns was offset by an increased incidence of the disease in surrounding un-culled areas
    .... badger culling cannot meaningfully contribute to the future control of cattle TB in Britain" - Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB
    http://www.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanimal/diseases/atoz/tb/isg/index.htm

    When are farmers, vets and the welsh assembly going to pull their head out of the sand and realise that culling is a waste of time, money and badgers?

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  • By killing the badgers in one area you invite badgers from other areas to move in - thus spreading bTB further. (up to 10%) so for a bTB free future. we need to eradicate ALL BADGERS FROM THE UK.

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  • The Krebs Trials were set up by Angela Browning MP, Conservative, Honiton and Tiverton (a dairy and beef area) in 1996.

    It is not "New Labour" science that says a cul will fail - it is "Conservative" science.

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  • This cull is long overdue.My Farm has just been shutdown because of TB for the first time in three genarations. Some people say its the farmers spreading TB by cattle movements from one holding to another but my herd has been closed for almost 4 years.
    If RATS carried TB and were culled I doubt any one would give a t*ss.

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  • And what when you have killed all the badgers and bovine tb is still an issue? What will you start killing next? Does the future of british farming mean that the only animals living will be chemical and disease riddled ones that people want to eat? And how is it acceptable that the Welsh Assembly are forcing landowners to allow badger killers onto their land? Since when were the rights of farmers more important than the rights of humans who happen to own land in a part of wales where farmers can jump up and down and get their way? Ridiculous, undemocratic, unscientific flawed reaction to a bunch of angry farmers who don't want to change their ways.

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