Statistics from Altmetric.com
THERE have been a number of letters in recent issues of Veterinary Record relating to the efficacy of badger culling as a means of controlling the spread of bovine TB in cattle (Den Leonard, VR, May 24, 2014, vol 174, pp 535-536; Declan O'Rourke and Neil Blake, and Martin Whitehead, VR, June 7, 2014, vol 174, pp 584-586). We felt the need to provide some clarity with regard to the evidence base relating to this complex issue.
First, the efficacy of indiscriminate badger culling (or more correctly ‘killing’, since the term ‘culling’ implies a selective process) as a means of controlling bovine TB is not supported by the available scientific literature (eg, Donnelly and others 2006). As John Bourne stated in his introduction to the Independent Scientific Group's report following the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT), ‘It is unfortunate that agricultural and veterinary leaders continue to believe, in spite of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, that the main approach to cattle TB control must involve some form of badger population control’ (Independent Scientific Group 2007). Indeed there is good evidence that badger social stability mitigates, and social perturbation (caused by killing) increases, the spread of infection in badgers (Weber and others 2013), and scientific analysis confirms that, because of the perturbing impact culling has on surviving badger behaviour, badger culling can result in increased prevalence of infection among remaining …
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.