Shooting of badgers to continue in Gloucestershire

First published in News by

BADGER culling is set to resume in Gloucestershire after the go-ahead was given by Natural England for another pilot.

The government body have issued letters of authorisation to allow the shooting of the perceived pest, stipulating that between 615 and 1091 badgers must be shot in the county, with up to 785 also needing to be shot in Somerset.

As part of the pilot cull last year, 921 badgers were killed in Gloucestershire and 940 in Somerset in a bid to tackle Tuberculosis in cattle.

It is not yet known when the companies carrying out the cull will start this year but the four-year pilot aims to kill at least 70 per cent of the badger population.

Last year’s cull was abandoned in Gloucestershire after it failed to come close to its target, with Somerset also failing to reach its target despite a three-week extension.

A number of arrests and general unrest was caused last year by the cull, with protestors and cull operators accusing the other side of illegal activity.

Comments (1)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:17am Fri 29 Aug 14

Charles Henry says...

WHY WE HAVE TO CULL BADGERS TO BEAT BOVINE TB. . .

WFU Report. Tier Two.
(Womens’ Food and Farming Union). . . .

Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious, bacterial disease, which affects cattle and badgers. TB can lie dormant but ultimately results in a slow, unpleasant death. It causes abscesses on the lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys and lymph nodes and can affect any organ in the body. Infected cattle are culled before the disease is advanced, but TB causes great suffering and distress to badgers in the final stages. It has been found in horses, deer, pigs, wild boar, sheep, llamas, and alpacas, a dog and in recent years 100 cats. Bovine TB can pass to humans who have close contact with infected animals. It is rare but this could change. . .

Do badgers spread bovine TB to cattle? Unfortunately, yes. Badgers form a reservoir(2) (source) of bovine TB. As infected Badgers are not controlled they remain free to spread the infection to cattle, other healthy badgers and occasionally, domestic pets. It is impossible to eradicate TB in cattle without eradicating the disease in badgers. In New Zealand bTB was reduced by 90% in ten years by culling possums, and Australia eradicated the disease by culling water buffalo. In Ireland’s “Four Area Trial” culling badgers reduced TB in cattle by 60 - 90%. The UK has the highest incidence of bTB in Europe and the developed world. . . .

Bovine TB causes distress to livestock farmers who live in fear of the result before each routine TB test and when there is a TB breakdown, some become depressed (3), or even suicidal. When a herd is diagnosed with TB, the cattle have to be slaughtered, sometimes healthy animals have to be destroyed, cattle cannot be moved to other farms or to market and this causes management problems which can last for years. . . .

Bovine TB costs the Government and Farmers a great deal of money. In 2009 the total cost to the Government was £108 million; £63 million for testing and slaughtering cattle. Exeter University Centre for Rural Research estimated that the uncompensated cost to individual farmers was £25,000. . . .

History of bovine (cattle) TB in the UK. . . .

Prior to 1935 up to 40% of cattle were infected with bovine TB, humans were at risk, and as many as 3,000 people died each year. An intradermal skin test for TB in cattle was introduced in order to clear TB infection to protect human health and improve animal welfare. The skin was injected with a TB extract, if the injection site became inflamed and swollen the animal was ‘positive’, showing it had had contact with bTB and that animal was slaughtered in an effort to get rid of the infection. Each animal was tested twice in a week. It became compulsory in 1950 and this cattle test and slaughter policy remains the main control for bovine TB. . . .

How are Badgers implicated? . . . .

1971 TB was found in badgers for the first time when bTB had been eliminated in cattle by rigorous testing and slaughter regime over most of the UK, but remained in a few areas in the South West. A badger culling trial around Thornbury (Nr.Bristol), Hartland Devon) and Steeple Leaze (Dorset) proved that badgers were spreading TB. . . . .

1975-1981 In heavily infected areas, in the South West, bTB was cleared by culling both infected cattle and infected badgers. . . . . .

Early 1980s bTB was almost eradicated from the UK. Only 100 new outbreaks were being recorded and in 1984 only 400 cattle were slaughtered. . . . . .

1981 The Zuckerman Report stated that badgers were a source of TB and culling was necessary. However, gassing in the sett (underground home) with cyanide, then used, was banned as it was thought to be inhumane. Many experts believe that if gassing been allowed for two more years bTB would have been eradicated. Many more badgers have been infected with bTB since gassing stopped, and they suffer a slow, painful and distressing death. . . . . .

1986 Interim Reactive Culling a new policy of minimal badger culling was introduced; badgers were only removed from the farm with bTB even if the infected badges were located on the farm or woods next door. Cases of cattle TB rose by 18% each year. . . . . .

Three independent reports for the Minister of Agriculture - 1981 The Zuckerman Report, 1986 The Dunnet Report and 1997 and The Krebs Report confirmed that there was evidence that badgers are a source of bovine TB in cattle. . . . .

1997 Badger Survey showed a 70% increase in the badger population, then well in excess of 300,000. By 2009 their numbers were estimated to be in excess of half a million. There are more badgers in the wild now that at any time in the recent past Badgers are most prolific in areas where there is the highest incidence of bovine TB. . . . .

1998 Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) overseen by the Independent Scientific Group (ISG) set up by the DEFRA to investigate the best method of reducing the spread of bTB. All badger culling ceased, except in Trial areas located in bTB hotspots, which compared three different methods of badger removal: . . . . .

1)Proactive culling of all badgers in the area 2) Reactive culling only on the farm with a TB outbreak, and 3) Control area in which no badgers were culled. . . . . .

Designed to last 5 years the Trial eventually took ten years to complete. Trial sites were sabotaged by animal rights activists, there was insufficient culling and at the wrong time of year with the result that insufficient badgers being removed. The Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak of 2001 interrupted the Trial. . . . .

Recent Research . . . . .

2007 The Independent Scientific (ISG) reporting on the RBCT concluded that culling badgers had a minimal effect on the incidence of bTB and herds in the area surrounding the Trial had increased bTB outbreaks due to ‘perturbation’ (9) (dispersal) of infected badgers. . . . . .

The Government’s Chief Scientific Officer and Veterinary Scientists in the UK and Ireland disagreed with these findings and about the way the trial was carried out. Monitoring subsequently proved that even with these problems, the effect of perturbation was short lived, that in the ‘proactive’ trial areas a 46% reduction in bTB was recorded a year later, and even four years later there was still a reduction in the incidence of bovine TB in cattle. . . . . .

The incidence of TB in cattle increased by up to 20% year on year since badger culling ceased in 1998. . . . . .

There is a difference in the immune response between badgers and cattle when challenged by TB infection. Cattle “wall off” the TB infection so that it is not excreted and does spread other than by coughing; badgers lack this ability and so have a much greater tendency to excrete the infection in urine, faeces and sputum, to other animals. Badgers are much more likely to spread the disease. Due to routine testing In cattle TB is usually identified and the animals slaughtered before active infection can develop. Around 40% of TB outbreaks in cattle are in a single animals with no spread to other cattle in the same herd let alone cattle in other herds. The movement of infected cattle out of TB problem areas has occurred and is likely to be the cause of spread into previously “clean” areas but does not lead to a persistent problem. However the vast majority of TB outbreaks occur in the “core” TB areas of the South West and West Midlands, and in these areas up to 90% of new outbreaks can be attributed to infected badgers. . . . .

Gallagher J et al. Tuberculosis in wild badgers in Gloucestershire: Pathology (1976). Veterinary Record. . . .

These are the facts. .
WHY WE HAVE TO CULL BADGERS TO BEAT BOVINE TB. . . WFU Report. Tier Two. (Womens’ Food and Farming Union). . . . Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious, bacterial disease, which affects cattle and badgers. TB can lie dormant but ultimately results in a slow, unpleasant death. It causes abscesses on the lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys and lymph nodes and can affect any organ in the body. Infected cattle are culled before the disease is advanced, but TB causes great suffering and distress to badgers in the final stages. It has been found in horses, deer, pigs, wild boar, sheep, llamas, and alpacas, a dog and in recent years 100 cats. Bovine TB can pass to humans who have close contact with infected animals. It is rare but this could change. . . Do badgers spread bovine TB to cattle? Unfortunately, yes. Badgers form a reservoir(2) (source) of bovine TB. As infected Badgers are not controlled they remain free to spread the infection to cattle, other healthy badgers and occasionally, domestic pets. It is impossible to eradicate TB in cattle without eradicating the disease in badgers. In New Zealand bTB was reduced by 90% in ten years by culling possums, and Australia eradicated the disease by culling water buffalo. In Ireland’s “Four Area Trial” culling badgers reduced TB in cattle by 60 - 90%. The UK has the highest incidence of bTB in Europe and the developed world. . . . Bovine TB causes distress to livestock farmers who live in fear of the result before each routine TB test and when there is a TB breakdown, some become depressed (3), or even suicidal. When a herd is diagnosed with TB, the cattle have to be slaughtered, sometimes healthy animals have to be destroyed, cattle cannot be moved to other farms or to market and this causes management problems which can last for years. . . . Bovine TB costs the Government and Farmers a great deal of money. In 2009 the total cost to the Government was £108 million; £63 million for testing and slaughtering cattle. Exeter University Centre for Rural Research estimated that the uncompensated cost to individual farmers was £25,000. . . . History of bovine (cattle) TB in the UK. . . . Prior to 1935 up to 40% of cattle were infected with bovine TB, humans were at risk, and as many as 3,000 people died each year. An intradermal skin test for TB in cattle was introduced in order to clear TB infection to protect human health and improve animal welfare. The skin was injected with a TB extract, if the injection site became inflamed and swollen the animal was ‘positive’, showing it had had contact with bTB and that animal was slaughtered in an effort to get rid of the infection. Each animal was tested twice in a week. It became compulsory in 1950 and this cattle test and slaughter policy remains the main control for bovine TB. . . . How are Badgers implicated? . . . . 1971 TB was found in badgers for the first time when bTB had been eliminated in cattle by rigorous testing and slaughter regime over most of the UK, but remained in a few areas in the South West. A badger culling trial around Thornbury (Nr.Bristol), Hartland Devon) and Steeple Leaze (Dorset) proved that badgers were spreading TB. . . . . 1975-1981 In heavily infected areas, in the South West, bTB was cleared by culling both infected cattle and infected badgers. . . . . . Early 1980s bTB was almost eradicated from the UK. Only 100 new outbreaks were being recorded and in 1984 only 400 cattle were slaughtered. . . . . . 1981 The Zuckerman Report stated that badgers were a source of TB and culling was necessary. However, gassing in the sett (underground home) with cyanide, then used, was banned as it was thought to be inhumane. Many experts believe that if gassing been allowed for two more years bTB would have been eradicated. Many more badgers have been infected with bTB since gassing stopped, and they suffer a slow, painful and distressing death. . . . . . 1986 Interim Reactive Culling a new policy of minimal badger culling was introduced; badgers were only removed from the farm with bTB even if the infected badges were located on the farm or woods next door. Cases of cattle TB rose by 18% each year. . . . . . Three independent reports for the Minister of Agriculture - 1981 The Zuckerman Report, 1986 The Dunnet Report and 1997 and The Krebs Report confirmed that there was evidence that badgers are a source of bovine TB in cattle. . . . . 1997 Badger Survey showed a 70% increase in the badger population, then well in excess of 300,000. By 2009 their numbers were estimated to be in excess of half a million. There are more badgers in the wild now that at any time in the recent past Badgers are most prolific in areas where there is the highest incidence of bovine TB. . . . . 1998 Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) overseen by the Independent Scientific Group (ISG) set up by the DEFRA to investigate the best method of reducing the spread of bTB. All badger culling ceased, except in Trial areas located in bTB hotspots, which compared three different methods of badger removal: . . . . . 1)Proactive culling of all badgers in the area 2) Reactive culling only on the farm with a TB outbreak, and 3) Control area in which no badgers were culled. . . . . . Designed to last 5 years the Trial eventually took ten years to complete. Trial sites were sabotaged by animal rights activists, there was insufficient culling and at the wrong time of year with the result that insufficient badgers being removed. The Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak of 2001 interrupted the Trial. . . . . Recent Research . . . . . 2007 The Independent Scientific (ISG) reporting on the RBCT concluded that culling badgers had a minimal effect on the incidence of bTB and herds in the area surrounding the Trial had increased bTB outbreaks due to ‘perturbation’ (9) (dispersal) of infected badgers. . . . . . The Government’s Chief Scientific Officer and Veterinary Scientists in the UK and Ireland disagreed with these findings and about the way the trial was carried out. Monitoring subsequently proved that even with these problems, the effect of perturbation was short lived, that in the ‘proactive’ trial areas a 46% reduction in bTB was recorded a year later, and even four years later there was still a reduction in the incidence of bovine TB in cattle. . . . . . The incidence of TB in cattle increased by up to 20% year on year since badger culling ceased in 1998. . . . . . There is a difference in the immune response between badgers and cattle when challenged by TB infection. Cattle “wall off” the TB infection so that it is not excreted and does spread other than by coughing; badgers lack this ability and so have a much greater tendency to excrete the infection in urine, faeces and sputum, to other animals. Badgers are much more likely to spread the disease. Due to routine testing In cattle TB is usually identified and the animals slaughtered before active infection can develop. Around 40% of TB outbreaks in cattle are in a single animals with no spread to other cattle in the same herd let alone cattle in other herds. The movement of infected cattle out of TB problem areas has occurred and is likely to be the cause of spread into previously “clean” areas but does not lead to a persistent problem. However the vast majority of TB outbreaks occur in the “core” TB areas of the South West and West Midlands, and in these areas up to 90% of new outbreaks can be attributed to infected badgers. . . . . Gallagher J et al. Tuberculosis in wild badgers in Gloucestershire: Pathology (1976). Veterinary Record. . . . These are the facts. . Charles Henry
  • Score: -3

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree