Study finds badger cull has no effect on bovine TB in cattle

Study finds badger cull has no effect on bovine TB in cattle

We are calling for an immediate and permanent halt to the Government's badger culling programme, as a conclusive new peer-reviewed study reveals that there is no link between the culling of badgers and a decline in levels of bovine TB in cattle herds.

The new study, supports our long-held assertion that the Government's badger cull is a cruel, ineffective and futile strategy in the fight to eradicate bovine TB.

The peer-reviewed paper, by authors including from charity Born Free, is an analysis of the Government's own data and its conclusions refute the Government's claims that their culling programme has been successful in reducing the spread of bovine TB.

Director of Advocacy & Policy Emma Slawinski said: "We warmly welcome this landmark study. These definitive findings come as no surprise to us, as they confirm our long-held assertion that culling badgers does not prevent bovine TB in cattle.

In the face of this conclusive evidence, the Government should immediately call a permanent halt to its cruel, ineffective and arbitrary programme based around the mass slaughter of badgers and focus on cattle-based solutions.

"The RSPCA has long argued that the eradication of bovine TB, which can be catastrophic in beef and dairy herds, should focus on improvements in cattle testing, and better management of cattle, including biosecurity and vaccination, rather than culling badgers. 

"For too long the Government has chosen to look the other way as it determinedly pursued an ill-conceived course of action with no scientific basis and no success, instead promoting cruelty and wasting time and money.

"It should now wholly embrace this significant and conclusive study which reveals its culling strategy is futile and put in place a cattle-focused bTB eradication policy that is based on science rather than political expediency."

Cattle-based measures will be more effective at tackling bovine TB

This latest study follows on from our 2019 report Bovine TB: Not Everything is Black and White, which included a number of recommendations on how the management of bovine TB could be improved. 

This was published alongside an RSPCA consultation of farmers and vets about their opinions of the recommendations in the report.

The report on the consultation, Ruminations on bovine TB, revealed that respondents supported providing better tools to vets and farmers to deal with the disease, such as specific training for vets on bovine TB and better incentives to develop herd health management plans. Such cattle-based measures will be more effective at tackling this terrible disease.

We look forward to an immediate and permanent halt to the Government's badger cull programme in England.