Skip to content or view screen version

Benn confirms Badgers saved in England

Save the Badgers | 07.07.2008 16:16 | Animal Liberation | Ecology

The government will not issue licences to cull badgers to try and prevent cattle TB in England, Hilary Benn has confirmed. In a Commons statement, the environment secretary said that a large-scale cull could infact make the problem a lot worse.

Mr Benn recalled that the UK Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) concluded that proactive culling - attempting to wipe out badgers across large swathes of countryside - reduced disease incidence inside the cull zone, but increased it around the edges of the zone. The RBCT concluded that reactive culling - killing badgers in the area around an outbreak that had already been identified - made things worse.

"It may not be what people would assume would be the answer to the question, but it is the answer to the question." Mr benn

Rather than culling, vaccination will form a cornerstone of bovine TB policy, and the government is to invest £20m into research. The government based its decision on advice from the Independent Scientific Group which it established to review research on the issue. The ISG concluded that culling would not be an economic solution to the problem, as did the Environment and Rural Affairs select committee.

Mr Benn indicated his belief that vaccination - either of badgers or cattle or both - should be an effective strategy as soon as vaccines can be developed. He also announced the formation of a partnership group to develop strategy, and hoped that industry representatives will join.

Badger Trust spokesman Trevor Lawson suggested that farmers' groups should now work constructively with the partnership.

"This overwhelming body of sound scientific opinion means that the farming industry can move forwards with the government in tackling bovine TB with improved cattle testing and biosecurity," he said.

"We are confident that with proper investment, the government will be able to rapidly reverse the bovine TB problem, bringing relief to farmers and their families."

Save the Badgers


Hide the following comment

Welsh badgers still at risk

07.07.2008 21:21

There's another demo being organised to protest against the Welsh Assembly's crazy decision to go ahead with a cull in Wales.


Another Badger