THE Badger Trust believes that bovine TB could be controlled by cattle-based measures. Eradicating badgers is not feasible, nor is it proven to be effective in controlling the disease in cattle.
There are 6m cattle movements per year and it is only in recent months that the Government has ordered the testing of cattle before movement. Animals should be tested both before and after movement and the blood test should be used more extensively. The current skin test misses one in three infected cattle. These animals remain in the herd and continue to spread infection. Other cattle-based measure should be the isolation of bought-in cattle and better bio-security in farms and barns.
The killing of badgers would have to be implemented over at least 300 square kilometres in order for any possible benefit to outweigh the cost. The killing would need to continue for at least seven years to completely eradicate the badgers. The present law does not permit interference with the badger or with setts.
There is no indication as to how badgers are to be killed. The Badger Trust states that there is no humane way of trying to exterminate badgers in large numbers. Badgers are nocturnal and live underground and methods such as shooting, gassing, digging the sett and snaring are all illegal and also extremely cruel. Prof John Bourne in the final report of the Independent Scientific Group said “rigidly applied control measures targeted at cattle can reverse the rising incidence of the disease and halt its geographical spread.”
Secretary, Kirklees Badger Protection Group