Monday, September 11, 2017

Badger Culling Gets Green Light in England

From the BBC comes news that badger culling has gotten the go ahead in 11 new areas of England. Badger are now more common that red fox and they are said to be responsible for the spread of bovine TB. The new licences have been granted by Natural England, and are part of the government's 25-year strategy to eradicate TB in cows. The government's chief vet Nigel Gibbens says that "Proactive badger control is currently the best available option and the licensing of further areas is necessary to realize disease-control benefits across the high risk area of England, rather than at local levels." Dominic Dyer, chief executive of the Badger Trust, said 32,247 badgers could be killed under the new licences in the next six weeks, but that's highly unlikely as the badgers are being culled by free range shooting and trapping, neither of which is very efficient.


tuffy said...

while culling badgers may be beneficial for a variety of reasons, let's face it, bovine TB should not be as prevalent as it is in UK (and in American) bovines. the disease is perpetuated and has become widespread because of awful management conditions and bad breeding and culling practices in CAFO's (confined animal feeding operations)and poorly run animal facilities. blaming badgers, or deer, or sheep, or any animal *except humans*, for the high prevalence of bovine TB is not at all addressing the heart of the problem. shame on them for calling the culling of badgers ''currently the best available option [for control of TB]''. please...

it seems where animals are concerned in the UK and USA: breeding and keeping unhealthy animals on a large scale, not culling and testing rigorously, and using pasteurization of products and antibiotics for growth periods as a cover for horrifically dirty conditions, is not only accepted, it's expected. :-(
(antibiotics will not prevent bovine TB, by the way)

Alex Johnston said...

Let's be clear, it's not Bovine TB, it's just TB. Cattle to cattle transmission is very rare (due to the way they "wall up" lesions). The disease is spread by wildlife vectors, which in the vast majority of cases means badgers. In the U.K. we have some of the most stringent cattle testing and culling regimes in the world. They have been in place for decades, and yet TB continues to spread.

Large scale lethal control of badgers is proven to control the spread of TB (see the Thornbury trials in Gloucestershire). Premilinary results from the current free shooting culls are also promising.

The use of prophylactic antibiotics in cattle feed is banned in the U.K. and does not happen.

In the U.K. free grazing cattle are most at risk from TB, as they are most likely to interact with badgers.

PBurns said...

Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) is different from Mycobacterium tuberculosis which causes tuberculosis in humans. That said, M. bovis can, in theory, cause tuberculosis in humans (especially if milk is not pasteurized) and catching one form of TB cross-immunizes for the others.