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Survey of badger access to farm buildings and facilities in relation to contact with cattle
  1. A. I. Ward, BSc, MRes, PhD1,
  2. B. A. Tolhurst, BSc, MSc, DPhil2,
  3. N. J. Walker, BSc, MSc1,
  4. T. J. Roper, BA, PhD2 and
  5. R. J. Delahay, BSc, PhD1
  1. 1 Central Science Laboratory, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1LZ
  2. 2 School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QG

Abstract

Thirty-six farms in parishes in western England that had recently experienced herd breakdowns of bovine tuberculosis were surveyed for signs of badger activity and for husbandry practices relating to the access of badgers to the farm buildings and facilities. Signs of activity were detected within the farmyards and buildings of 14 of the farms and were associated with water troughs at pasture on two of them. Few of the farmers implemented practices to reduce contact between badgers and cattle. Stored cattle feed was freely accessible to wild animals in 88 per cent of the feed stores. Two badger carcases, and two of 66 samples of badger droppings, cultured positive for Mycobacterium bovis. Signs of badgers within farmyards were significantly positively associated with the number of badger setts and latrines in the immediate vicinity, but were not related to any recorded farm husbandry procedures.

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