Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Science check call over badger cull

4 November 2014 Last updated at 01:55

By Pallab GhoshScience correspondent, BBC News

A journal of the British Ecological Society has offered to check the badger culling trials, amid questions about their scientific basis.

The offer could address concerns about the lack of independent oversight of the government-run trials.

The trials are to assess the effectiveness badger culling as a means to control the spread of TB to cattle.

If the government deems its trials a success, badger culling will be used in other parts of England.

The Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) scrapped the role of an independent expert group last year which had found that the first year of culls had failed.

According to Prof Rosie Woodroffe, of the Zoological Society of London, Defra has given very few details of how it proposes to assess the effectiveness of the culls.

"I suspect they are doing it on the cheap," Prof Woodroffe told BBC News. "That is why there is concern that the answer they get will not be robust".

A Defra spokesperson told BBC News: "The minimum numbers for this year's culls were set using the best available evidence gathered by local experts and the approach was signed-off by Defra's chief scientist.

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