The badger cull in the U.K. has been in place since 2013. The efficacy of the slaughter isn’t that clear with data apparently showing that cases of bovine TB (bTB) had risen 130% in one cull zone.

Despite approx 9,000-10,000 badgers being killed, bTB in the cull zones is much the same or in fact higher.

One reason could be that bTB isn’t being spread by badgers. The French have found bTB in foxes, we also know that deer are carriers and the population of deer in the U.K. is estimated at 2 million. With 2 million deer roaming the countryside, grazing the same fields as cattle and defecating, are we really to believe that shooting 9,000 badgers over 6 years is going to have an impact?

We are constantly told that the justification for the cull is based on scientific evidence, but surely such evidence must be based on a comparison of data from the multiple options available? The other option to culling is vaccination so isn’t it time we gave that a try?

This would serve two purposes.

  1. Cases of bTB after vaccination can be compared to culling – there would be real data to analyse from two types of preventative action.
  2. In zones where cases of bTB are unchanged or worse, it would suggest that badgers cannot be the cause, because we’d know they were vaccinated. Therefore, energies and resources could be employed in finding the causes and redirecting public funds.