The Government plans to run cull trials to tackle the spread of bovine tuberculosis amongst cattle.
However, the evidence supporting this is weak, following a ten year study in which 10,000 badgers culled to establish whether culling of badgers helps to reduce bTB the Independent Scientific Group who carried out the experiment concluded that ‘badger culling cannot meaningfully contribute to the future control of cattle TB in Britain’.
If the trials go ahead then shooting will start in autumn in two areas the first in west Somerset and the second mainly within the Forest of Dean and Tewkesbury. The trials will take place over six weeks.
The shooting will take place at night and will be carried out by trained marksmen. Their remit will be to kill at least 70% of the badgers in each of the trial areas. The killing will be non-selective, but the majority of those killed will be healthy. Of the small percentage of badgers which may be carrying bovine TB, very few will be infectious and therefore capable of transmitting the disease.