Badger Control to Continue in Battle against Bovine TB

UK - Controlled shooting and cage trapping of badgers can work to help reduce Bovine TB.
calendar icon 8 January 2015
clock icon 2 minute read

And the British government will continue to take measures to ensure the disease is eliminated from the UK, agriculture secretary Liz Truss told the Oxford Farming Conference.

Mrs Truss said that the strategy of the government is to aim for eradication of the disease by 2038.

“This is not something that can be achieved overnight,” Mrs Truss said.

“It is not easy, but we will do the right thing, even if the protest groups don’t like it.”

The agriculture secretary said that the problem of bovine TB had increased because no action was taken between 1997 and 2010.

However, she added that new comprehensive controls were in place including cattle movement controls, vaccination in the edge areas and culling where the disease is rife.

“We know from the experience in Australia, where the disease has been eradicated, and in Ireland and New Zealand. Where it is being dramatically reduced, that this approach works,” said Mrs Truss.

“As the chief vet pointed out, the experience of the cull in Somerset shows controlled shooting and cage trapping can work to reduce the disease.”

She said that the pilot scheme in Gloucestershire had been challenged by “unlawful protest and intimidation”.

Mrs Truss added that the government will continue to implement all elements of its comprehensive strategy and will do whatever it takes to eradicate the disease.

However, later in the conference, the opposition spokesman on the environment, food and rural affairs, Huw Irranca Davies, said that if the Labour party won the next election the government would reverse the badger cull.

He said that the reservoir of the disease in the wildlife needed to be tackled but the scientific evidence did not prove that culling would work.

“We think there is a better way of doing it and a cost comparative way of doing it.”

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