Professors urge badger cull rethink

Alison Banville alisonbanville at
Mon Oct 15 14:59:51 BST 2012

A group of professors from leading universities and zoological institutions  across the UK has urged the Government to reconsider controversial plans for a  badger cull to tackle bovine TB.
More than 30 animal disease experts, including the president of the  Zoological Society of London and professors from Oxbridge and Imperial College  London, have written a letter to the Observer which argues culling badgers could  increase the problem of TB in cattle.
Professor Sir Patrick Bateson, a fellow of the Royal Society from the  University of Cambridge, wrote: "The Government's TB-control policy for England  includes licensing farmers to cull badgers. As scientists with expertise in  managing wildlife and wildlife diseases, we believe the complexities of TB  transmission mean that licensed culling risks increasing cattle TB rather than  reducing it."
He continued: "Even if such increases do not materialise, the Government  predicts only limited benefits, insufficient to offset the costs for either  farmers or taxpayers. Unfortunately, the imminent pilot culls are too small and  too short term to measure the impacts of licensed culling on cattle TB before a  wider roll-out of the approach

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