Thursday, 18 December 2014

Government admits badger cull could fail to reduce bovine TB

Controversial cull will continue despite government admitting for the first time that the Gloucestershire cull may prove unsuccessful due to low number of badgers killed

Thursday 18 December 2014 11.58 GMT

The controversial badger cull in Gloucestershire may not succeed in reducing tuberculosis in cattle, the government has admitted for the first time.

But environment secretary Liz Truss, releasing the results of the 2014 cull pilotsin Gloucestershire and Somerset on Thursday, said she is determined to continue culling.

The Gloucestershire pilot failed dramatically, as predicted by the Guardian in October, killing fewer than half the minimum number required. In Somerset, the minimum target was met, but the target has been criticised as “rubbish” and “unbelievably easy” by a leading expert.

The UK’s chief vet, Nigel Gibbens, said: “Given the lower level of badger population reduction in the Gloucestershire cull area over the past two years, the benefits of reducing disease in cattle over the planned four-year cull may not be realised there.” But he said the results in Somerset showed that, “in the right circumstances”, culling could work.

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