Bovine TB Overview and Badger Cull Timeline
Bovine TB and Badger persecution, including culls has a long horrible history in Britain. Since 1971, when a Badger was found in Gloucestershire with TB, England and Wales have been killing badgers in an attempt to stop Bovine TB in cattle. Now, even to those, unfamiliar with pathogen diseases, something is obviously and immediately wrong with the destruction of a wild native (non-bovine) to 'save' domesticated bovine animals - Cattle. We have researched and recorded a timeline of Bovine TB in Britain over the last century and the Badger culls since William Haigh first announced that a Conservative Government would licence Badger culls and repeal the Hunting Act back in 2009.
During the 1930s, a high percentage of dairy cows were found to be infected with Mycobacterium bovis (M.bovis). Many were kept near large cities in order to supply residents with fresh milk, and most were closely confined in poorly ventilated cowsheds which provided ideal conditions for the spread of the disease. Many infected cows developed tuberculosis (TB) in the udder and consequently shed M. bovis in their milk. As most milk was drunk raw (untreated), milk-borne M. bovis infection was identified as a major public health risk which often led to TB in the human population. More than 50,000 new cases of human TB were recorded each year in Great Britain, and estimates of the time indicated that some 2,500 people died annually from TB caused by M. bovis.
In an effort to control the problem, the government introduced a voluntary bTB testing scheme for cattle in 1935. To prevent the disease from spreading to other herds, any animal that tested positive was slaughtered, and the movement of cattle from affected farms was prohibited.
This testing and slaughter programme became compulsory in 1950 and by 1980 it had reduced the national incidence of TB in cattle to a very low level. In addition to this, routine pasteurisation (heat treatment of cows’ milk) and inspection of cattle carcasses at slaughterhouses were gradually put in place to further protect public health.
Although the incidence of bTB has increased over the last 15 years, the testing and slaughter programme remains central to our strategy to stop its spread.
In 1971, the body of a badger apparently infected with bTB was found on a Gloucestershire farm which had suffered an outbreak of the disease (a ‘breakdown’).
While the Badgers Act 1973 protected badgers from persecution, it also allowed the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF), as it was then, to issue individuals with a licence to kill badgers in order to prevent the spread of the disease.
Gassing: In 1975, MAFF decided that only its own staff, or others under its control, would be permitted to cull badgers. Gassing was the method used between 1975-81 in Thornbury, Gloucestershire.
The Zuckerman review:
In 1983, given that many people were unconvinced that badgers spread the disease and felt gassing was inhumane, Lord Zuckerman was asked to address the problem of bTB. Gassing operations were suspended at the start of this review.
Lord Zuckerman concluded that badgers were probably a significant source of bTB infection and that the high density and close proximity of cattle and badgers in parts of south west England facilitated the spread of the disease. As the incidence of bTB appeared to have spread since the suspension of controls at the start of the review, he advised their reintroduction. Gassing was considered inhumane, so badgers would be trapped in cages and shot.
The ’clean ring’ strategy:
Lord Zuckerman advised that areas affected should be cleared of infected badgers and kept clear, so from 1982 to 1985 a ‘clean ring’ strategy applied. Social groups of badgers living on and around every breakdown farm were identified and trapped. Sample carcasses from these groups were then examined. Where infection was found, all members of the social group were removed. The ring was then extended outwards until all badgers caught were free of infection. Trapping took place in cleared areas for a further six months, in order to keep them ‘clean’.
The Dunnet review:
Lord Zuckerman had recommended that a further review take place three years after his initial study. This was conducted in 1986 by Professor Dunnet, who concluded that some form of badger control was unavoidable. He recommended the use of an interim strategy until sufficient data from research, and from badger removal operations, allowed a further substantive review, and the development of a reliable ‘live’ diagnostic test for bTB in badgers.
The ’interim strategy’:
The interim strategy involved removing and culling badgers only on farms where bTB had been confirmed. During its operation, the incidence of the disease increased in south west England, and it was also found in areas with no recent history of infection, including the West Midlands and South Wales.
A trial study of a diagnostic test on live badgers was conducted between 1994 and 1996. It was then suspended due to the poor sensitivity of the test, and problems with the trial itself.
The Krebs report:
Given the continuing increase of TB in cattle, it was clear by 1996 that the interim strategy was not working, and the government asked Professor John Krebs to carry out a further review. His report recommended that a randomised block experiment be carried out to determine the effectiveness of culling in reducing the incidence of TB breakdown in herds of cattle.
The Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT):
The RBCT, which was set up in response to the Krebs report, took place between 1998 and 2007. The aim was to investigate the ways in which bTB is spread between cattle, badgers and other wildlife. The trial was overseen by the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (the ISG). Results showed both positive and negative changes in the incidence of TB in cattle as a result of badger culling.
Read the full report here
In November 2004, enhanced testing and control measures were introduced to help improve the detection of bTB so that action might be taken quickly to prevent the spread of the disease. More information on the November 2004 measures may be found here
In December 2005, pre-movement testing in England and Wales was announced. The aim was to help reduce the risk of the spread of bTB between herds. More information on these may be found here
The Labour government of the time declared its commitment to identifying the best way to combat bTB by way of robust evidence and introduced a wide-ranging programme of research and development. More information on this may be found here
In its final report, the ISG concluded that "badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain", and in subsequent peer-reviewed scientific publications, members found that "reductions in cattle TB incidence achieved by repeated badger culling were not sustained in the long term after culling ended." The ISG identified weaknesses in cattle TB testing, and in the movement of cattle, as the main factors in the spread of bTB; A number of cattle carrying undiagnosed TB frequently remain following tuberculin testing. This had serious implications for the maintenance and persistence of disease in infected herds, and for the spread of the disease to neighbouring herds and to other parts of the country.
Sir David King writes a paper in just five weeks that is not peer-reviewed and claims the ISG is wrong and badgers must be culled. Full paper here The Masters of Spin. We never cease to be amazed at the continuing ingenuity shown by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the NFU, who, when unhappy with figures or answers given by their own officials, have others provide them with new figures or answers which they then disseminate!
40% of cases of TB in cattle are detected following slaughter (Defra Fact).
Stricter controls on the movement and testing of cattle were introduced in 2008, and Defra’s own figures showed that these resulted in a significant reduction in the number of cattle culled and the number of herds subjected to restriction of movement, without the slaughter of a single badger.
In 2010, the Welsh government stated its intention to slaughter badgers in an ‘intensive action area’ (IAA) in Pembrokeshire. A research article by Jenkins et al. published on 10 February 2010 concluded "Our findings show that the reductions in cattle TB incidence achieved by repeated badger culling were not sustained in the long term after culling ended and did not offset the financial costs of culling. These results, combined with evaluation of alternative culling methods, suggest that badger culling is unlikely to contribute effectively to the control of cattle TB in Britain." (PLoS ONE 5(2): e9090. doi: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0009090)
David Fisher, a Defra-funded TB inspector in Wales until 2011, said in 2010, "It is an open secret that isolation of TB reactors and inconclusive reactors is rare." Fisher said Defra's own database showed that in 2009 there was 20.8% non-compliance for bovine TB issues and that there was only one instance that year of a dairy farm being checked for compliance with an isolation notice. (Guardian, 4 October 2012)
EU Diseases Eradication Programme:
"Failure to isolate reactors and IRs [inconclusive reactors] has an effect in bTB transmission of an order of magnitude greater than cattle movements. Failure to isolate is accepted by officials, and subsequently by the farming community." Full report here
The Welsh Assembly’s plans for a mass slaughter of badgers in west Wales were abandoned, and a vaccination programme introduced.
April 2011 Meeting of scientific experts:
Experts gathered at the meeting unanimously accepted the RBCT findings and rejected culling. In their view, culling could have no significant impact on the national incidence of the disease if it were not conducted over a very large area (bTB is currently considered endemic in more than 39,000 km2 of England (the area subject to annual bTB testing).
The Masters of Spin. Once again, we were struck by the reluctance on the part of Defra and the NFU to accept figures or answers given to them by their own officials, and their rapid discovery of new figures and new answers better suited to their claims!
Early in 2011, the European Commission’s DG Sanco (Directorate-General for Health and Consumers) commissioned an audit, carried out in September the same year, which identified a number of potential weaknesses in farming practices. In fact, the report was so damning that the UK was threatened with the withdrawal of the €32 million it receives from the EU for the sole purpose of combating bTB.
Among the issues were:
- pre-movement test exemptions (including extended time intervals between testing and movement
- the operation of ‘linked’ holdings over large geographical areas
- incomplete herd testing
- the operation of specialist units under restriction and the consequent lack of the necessary biosecurity arrangements
- key targets (removal of reactors, instigation of epidemiological inquiries) not met
- the fragmented system of controls. Full list here
July 2011: The UK cull announced.
On 19 July 2011, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman announced government plans to cull in two pilot areas: West Somerset and West Gloucestershire. She also stated that restrictions on the movement of cattle would be increased.
Claridge et al.
In May 2012, a study involving 3,026 dairy herds in England and Wales by Claridge et al. showed "a significant negative association between exposure to the common, ubiquitous helminth parasite, fasciola hepatica, and diagnosis of bTB", and estimated "an under-ascertainment rate of about one-third." (Nat Commun. 2012 May 22; 3:853, doi: 10.1038 / ncomms1840).
On 17 September 2012, Team Badger (the world’s largest animal welfare coalition) launched its campaign to stop the cull and demand a backbench debate with its billboard on the Cromwell Road, London SW5,
On 23 October, following a bungled count of badgers, Owen Paterson announced in parliament that the cull would be delayed until the summer of 2013. Someone in the Lords suggested the Badgers had ‘shagged’ themselves a reprieve! At this point, the NFU claimed the cull would lead to a 30% reduction in bTB. In response, Lord Krebs accused the organisation of filleting the figures from his paper, and, along with the entire scientific community, stood by the science of the RBCT.
The master of Spin. Once again, Defra and the NFU didn’t like the figures and answers presented and quickly found new ones...
On 25 October, the backbench debate took place. Team Badger won the vote.
On 22 February, the government and NFU rejected the first badger estimate (which cost taxpayers £750k) and demanded a new count: one that would provide a figure they actually liked. Defra published new figures on numbers of badgers. In 2012, farmers had alleged that the figure showed an increase in badgers they knew to be there. However, new figures contradicted their claim. West Somerset old figures: Click Here
|CULL ZONE||NEW DEFRA FIGURES||OLD DEFRA FIGURES|
|22nd FEBRUARY 2013||15th OCTOBER 2012 (£750,000)|
|West Somerset||1972 - 2973||3740 - 5085|
|West Gloucestershire||2657 - 4079||3145 - 4391|
Defra stated, "These new estimates have arisen due to the availability of new data."
At the NFU conference in Birmingham on 27 February, Owen Paterson confirmed that it was his intention to slaughter badgers in Gloucestershire and West Somerset, and in a new reserve area in Dorset, in the summer of 2013. Two licences were issued by Natural England for culling in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset on the same day. Click here
Brian May speaks at the Oxford Union Debate to launch Team Badger in "Setts 'n' Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll". Owen Patterson declines to speak against him saying he "would have to be mad to engage with Brian" - is our minister running scared as he has no answers for his political cull? Owen Patterson has avoided Brian at every interview we have been to, refusing to speak with him and insisting on being in different studios or being recorded separately. That speaks volumes.
Brian May says:
<iframe src="http://embedded-video.guardianapps.co.uk/?a=false&u=/environment/video/2013/feb/27/badger-culls-tragedy-brian-may-video" frameborder="0" width="265" height="297"></iframe>
'Owen Paterson – The Embarrassing Kind of Tory' By Brian May click here
Failure to isolate is accepted by officials, and subsequently by the farming community.
The Government announced in February 2013 that Natural England had issued authorisation letters for two pilot areas in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset and that an area in Dorset would be prepared as a contingency area should it be needed.(201) Farmers in each area were licensed to control badgers by shooting. The Government would pay the costs of licensing and monitoring the culls, which will run for four years. At the same time, a new estimate of badger numbers in the two areas was published. This concluded that the current, best‐available estimates of populations, with 80% confidence in both limits, in the pilot areas during summer/autumn 2012 are minimum 2657 to 4079, maximum in West Gloucestershire and minimum 1972 to 2973 maximum in West Somerset.
The geography of the Pilot areas
West Gloucestershire pilot area description: mainly in the county of Gloucestershire, predominantly within the council districts of the Forest of Dean and Tewkesbury; and parts lie within the districts of Wychavon, Malvern Hills and the South east part of the county of Herefordshire. The area does not include the public forest estate in the Forest of Dean. West Somerset pilot area description: located in the county of Somerset. The application area predominantly lies within the council district of West Somerset and part lies within the district of Taunton Deane.
Badger Culls started
The culls commenced on 27 August 2013 for 6 weeks. There was a target to cull 70% of the population, however this target was not reached. An estimated 65% of the badger population was culled in Somerset and under 40% in Gloucestershire. The cost of the badger cull to the public purse was £6.3 million, with an additional £3.5 million spent on policing.
Court injunction against protestors
After claims of intimidation and harassment of farmers involved in the cull, the NFU applied for a court injunction to prevent certain activities by protesters against the cull. (202) This was granted on 23 August 2013, (203) preventing people from carrying out activities such as protesting within 100metres of people’s homes and using lights or whistles during the night to disturb wildlife.
Pilot Culls Fail to achieve 70% target population reduction in both Pilot cull zones
The total number of badgers killed in the first six weeks of the badger cull was 850 in Somerset and 708 in Gloucestershire. (204) According to a Freedom of Information request to Natural England, reported in the Guardian, of the 708 badgers culled in Gloucestershire 543 were killed through free shooting while 165 were cage-trapped and shot. In Somerset the figures were 360 by free shooting and 490 by cage-trapping then shooting.
"Badgers moved the goalposts"
Mr Paterson told BBC Spotlight in the West Country. “To kill 70% of the badgers now estimated to live in west Somerset, the culling company needs to kill 1,015 badgers. After six weeks of shooting, they had achieved 59%, and the company is now seeking an extension of its licence for another two to three weeks.
Cull labelled a farce - Despite the government slashing by two-thirds in 12 months its estimate of the number of badgers in the Somerset cull zone, marksmen still failed to reach their target. "The whole situation is a farce," said Gavin Grant, RSPCA chief executive. "They keep moving the goalposts on how many badgers exist and how many need to be killed but, whatever the figures, it is clear the system has failed.
Prof Rosie Woodroffe, a member of the RBCT trial said; "The licence did not task farmers with killing 'about 70%' – it was 'at least 70%'," "We know from the RBCT that when we killed about 30% of the badgers TB got worse and when we killed about 70% we saw a modest improvement. We know there is a tipping point in between but we don't know where it is."
Peter Kendall, president of the National Farmers' Union, said the number of badgers to be killed had been reduced because it was important not to "wipe out" entire populations. 'He told BBC Breakfast the marksmen needed "a few more weeks" to "meet the best criteria that the scientists have set”. When asked why the desired number of badgers had not been killed, especially given the lower total population now estimated, Mr Kendall said these were pilot schemes and those involved are "learning as we go".
Owen Paterson, The environment secretary said that even on the lower figures, the culling exercise had been effective, quoting the "The chief veterinary officer, Nigel Gibbens, has advised that the 60% reduction this year will deliver clear disease benefits as part of a four-year cull,” but Labour were quick to condemn the move for an extension of the cull. Shadow Environment Secretary Maria Eagle saying the process was "entirely bad”. "Culling is not working, not effective and not based on any scientific evidence,” she added “Any extension of the culling period could, in fact, increase the spread of TB as badgers were disturbed by the shooting”.
Badger Culls extended!
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson announced to the House of Commons that extensions of the badger culls in West Somerset and Gloucestershire are now being considered by Natural England.(205) The extended culls ended on the day before the closed season - 30th November 2013 - with an estimated 65% of badgers culled in the Somerset pilot and just less than 40% in the Gloucestershire pilot. In total, 940 badgers were killed in Somerset and 921 in Gloucestershire.(206) (207). Both pilot cull zones had fallen short of the target number of badgers, despite an extension to culling. The Government's badger cull plan had failed.
The governments plan needed to kill, at least, 70% of the badgers in west Somerset and Gloucestershire by free shooting or risk spreading Bovine TB through perturbation. Across both regions, this meant around 5,000 badgers were to be killed but Owen Paterson said these targets were based on population estimates from 2012 that have proven to be highly inaccurate. (208),(209) (210), (211), (212), (213) In west Somerset, Owen Paterson said the badger population, which had been estimated at 2,400, was now being revised downwards to 1,450. In Gloucestershire, the numbers have been lowered from 3,400 to 2,350. There are a number of reasons behind the apparent decline according to Mr Paterson, including the impact of last winter's bad weather, disease and lack of food.
|Number of Badgers culled in 2013 Pilot||First six weeks of cull||Two Week extension|
|Cull Area||Shot||Caged and shot||Total||*Culled||Grand Total|
* Figures only reported as totals for two week extension
Independent Expert Panel
An Independent Expert Panel (IEP) was appointed to monitor the effectiveness, humaneness and safety of controlled shooting during the 2013 pilots.(214) The Government appointed members to an independent panel of experts to oversee the monitoring and evaluation of the pilot areas in March 2012. (215) The remit of the Panel included advising on data collection and analysis, ensuring monitoring protocols were scientifically robust, and considering public safety issues. (216) The Government said this was because much longer and wider culling would be needed to carry out that kind of evaluation and the Government had already set out its position that it believed science supports culling badgers as an effective tool for combating TB in cattle.
Part of the IEP’s role was to oversee the development of protocols to monitor the effectiveness and humaneness of controlled shooting.(217) To determine the effectiveness of the cull and its ability to remove 70% of badgers present, the original population needed to be estimated as precisely as possible. The Panel looked at several methods for population estimation and any associated restrictions. They decided to extrapolate the population from sampling approximately 16% of the land of each of the two trial areas for active setts and using hair trapping to estimate the number of badgers in each of those setts.
Humaneness would be monitored through both field observations and post mortem of culled badgers. In addition, a random sample of culled badger carcasses would be subject to an x-ray, to assess bone damage and ammunition fragmentation, and a post mortem to look at wound location and internal organ damage. Field observations would be performed by researchers, accompanying some of those carrying out the culling.
Monitoring for humaneness
In response to an FOI request Defra stated in October 2013 that 20 people monitored humaneness during the first cull, in addition Natural England employed five people to monitor the culls to ensure compliance with licence conditions and best practice guidance. The aim of this monitoring, carried out by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), was to test the assumption that controlled shooting is a humane culling technique.
The Independent Expert Panel recommended 60 in field observations and 120 post mortem be carried out to provide a base for conclusions about the humaneness of the controlled shooting method. The number of field observations actually carried out has never been published, although 158 post mortem were actually conducted. This research was completed during the first 6 weeks of the trial period.
The Panel did not monitor the cull extension periods, as explained in a written answer from the government in January 2014: Careful consideration was given to whether there was a need to continue this monitoring during the extension periods, and the chair of the independent panel was consulted. It was concluded that continuing observations beyond the required 60 and associated 120 post-mortems would add little to the statistical robustness of the data gathered during the planned six weeks of the humaneness study.
Monitoring for TB
Tests for TB infection were not routinely carried out as part of the post mortem process. This was confirmed in a written question by George Eustace; Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food who stated; “158 detailed post mortem were conducted on the culled badgers. The purpose of the post-mortem examination of carcases was to gather the required evidence to support an assessment of humaneness of controlled shooting. It was not to test badgers culled for infection with M.bovis as we already know around one-third of badgers to be infected in areas with a high incidence of the disease. The post-mortem information is being considered by the Independent Expert Panel, which will report in due course.
However, during the post mortem any signs of illness or ill health of the badgers would have been noted. This would include the outward signs of a chronic TB infection. On a few occasions TB testing has been carried out at the specific request of landowners, however this information is not available under article 12(5)(c) of the Environmental Information Regulation relating to intellectual property.
The IEP Report and Conclusions
The IEP’s report, published in April 2014, raised concerns about the humaneness of free shooting as a culling method, and concluded that standards needed to be improved if culling was to continue in the pilot areas.
The Panel’s report concluded with high confidence that; “controlled shooting removed less than 24.8% of the pre-cull badger population in Somerset, and less than 37.1% of the pre-cull population in Gloucestershire”. They also concluded that; “a combination of controlled shooting and cage trapping removed less than 48.1% of the pre-cull population of badgers in Somerset and less than 39.1% of the pre-cull population in Gloucestershire”.
The report raised concerns about the humaneness of shooting as a culling method finding: It is extremely likely that between 7.4% and 22.8% of badgers that were shot at were still alive after 5 min, and therefore at risk of experiencing marked pain. We are concerned at the potential for suffering that these figures imply. If culling is continued in the pilot areas, or in the event of roll-out to additional areas, standards of effectiveness and humaneness must be improved. Continuation of monitoring, of both effectiveness and humaneness, is necessary to demonstrate that improvements have been achieved. In addition, such monitoring should be independently audited.
The Government published its response to the report in April 2014. It stated that it would work to put measures in place to address the recommendations made by the Panel. The Government then announced that the culls would continue, with amendments to improve effectiveness in the proportion of badgers killed and time taken for shot badgers to die.
Link to government debate on 25th October 2012 - http://www.save-me.org.uk/badger/the-team-badger-cull-debate-2012-in-the-house-of-commons
Culling rollout abandoned
The Government intended to use the IEP report to inform its decision on whether to roll out badger culling to other areas affected by bovine TB. The aim was for up to 10 of the most severely affected areas to be issued with licences, but the IEP panel concluded that free shooting of badgers was inhumane.
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson, outlined the future of the culls in a statement on 3 April 2014.(221) He announced that badger culling would not be extended to any further areas at that time. In his statement, Mr Paterson confirmed that the two existing pilots would continue, with enhanced training and monitoring. He also announced increased investment for the development of an effective badger and cattle vaccine.
In September 2014, the Government announced that a second year of culling had begun in the two pilot areas (222) The minimum and maximum numbers of badgers to be killed were set for both areas. A target of 615 to 1091 badgers in Gloucestershire and 316 to 785 in Somerset. (223) (224)
Questions about the methodology used to estimate the badger population and therefore calculate the culling targets were raised in November 2014, during a Westminster Hall debate on the assessment of the badger culls. The shadow Defra spokesperson, Maria Eagle, said: “The 2013 targets were based on estimates of badger population size derived from capture-mark-recapture using genetic signatures from badger hair snagged in barbed wire”. Maria Eagle continued; “For 2014, there was no such field estimation of badger numbers. In the second year of the culls, the Government have not only departed from the original methodology but used two different methods to set cull targets for Gloucestershire and for Somerset”.
George Eustace issued the Government’s response; ‘In Gloucester, there was greater consistency in what the models were telling us about the population, so it was easier to meet that condition. In Somerset there was a conflict between some of the models, so it went with the most reliable model, which used real data in real time on real activity in setts.
Senior editors at the Journal of Animal Ecology also noted the change in methodology and raised concerns about the lack of transparency in this process and the effectiveness of the new methods being used. They were particularly concerned because the density reduction achieved by badger culling determines whether this approach will improve or worsen the prospects for bTB control. (225)
The Government first indicated that the Independent Expert Panel would not monitor the 2014 pilot culls in a Parliamentary Question response in April 2014: George Eustice said: “I have no plans to ask the Independent Expert Panel to report on the second year of the pilot badger culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire.(226) Subsequently, the IEP [Independent Expert Panel] was not asked to report on the second year of the pilot badger culls and was disbanded.
In July 2014 the Badger Trust was given permission to seek a Judicial Review of whether the continuation of the pilots for a second year would be legal, following the Government’s decision not use the Independent Expert Panel to monitor the culls. (227) The legal challenge was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in October 2014.(228) In the absence of the IEP, senior editors at the Journal of Animal Ecology wrote an open letter to Defra in November 2014, offering to carry out an independent review of the data. The Government did not take up the editors’ offer.
In a Westminster Hall debate in November 2014,(229) the Minister for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment, George Eustice, said that the IEP had a one-off role in 2013 meaning that their work was complete and would not be repeated. Details of the monitoring that would take place during the cull were published by Defra in August 2014. The AHVLA would use their own staff to monitor the culls.
Details of the number of badgers culled in each of the pilot areas in 2014 are provided below.(230)
|Number of badgers culled in 2014|
|Cull Area||Target||Shot||Caged and Shot||Total|
The minimum target for culled badgers was missed in West Gloucestershire, but the target was met in West Somerset.
DEFRA claim Cull is effective and humane
From the 2014 culls, Defra concluded that a cull could be humane and effective: (231) The outcome of this year’s cull in Somerset indicates that industry-led culling can, in the right circumstances, deliver the level of effectiveness required to be confident of achieving disease control benefits and that the culls in both areas were carried out to a high standard of public safety. DEFRA also stated There is a need for continued training of contractors, to ensure high standards of effectiveness, humaneness and safety.
These views reflected advice given by the Chief Veterinary Officer, Nigel Gibbens,(232) who concluded that an industry-led cull can be effective in the right circumstances, highlighting that improvements needed to be made in West Gloucestershire: Given the lower level of badger population reduction in the Gloucestershire cull area over the past two years, the benefits of reducing disease in cattle over the planned four year cull may not be realised there. Culling should continue there in 2015 provided there are reasonable grounds for confidence that it can be carried out more effectively that year through measures of the kind mentioned in paragraph 2, and should be maintained for at least one subsequent year to achieve a substantial reduction in the badger population. As there has been a slow start, we should consider whether culling should be repeated in future years beyond 2017 in order to increase the likelihood of reduced disease in cattle.
The independent audit report commissioned by Defra assessed the work undertaken by Natural England and the Animal and Plant Health Laboratories Agency (APHA). (233) The overall conclusion was that: The auditor is satisfied that the study has been run according to the SOPs [Standards of Practice] and other available documents that were in place and that the data recorded is complete and accurate.
BVA (British Veterinary Association) Council reassesses support for cull: (234) “In light of the results following the second year of culling, BVA believes that it has not been demonstrated conclusively that controlled shooting can be carried out effectively and humanely based on the criteria that were set for the pilots.” The British Veterinary Association Council reviewed its position on the pilot culls after examining data for the first two years. The position, published in April 2015, did not support the free shooting of badgers going forward, calling instead for all badgers in the cull areas to be trapped and shot: In light of the results following the second year of culling, BVA believes that it has not been demonstrated conclusively that controlled shooting can be carried out effectively and humanely based on the criteria that were set for the pilots. Nor are we confident that the effectiveness and humaneness can be significantly further improved, despite Defra’s assurances after the first year of culling. We therefore do not support the continued use of controlled shooting as part of the badger control policy. BVA believes that culling in West Somerset and West Gloucestershire should be completed using cage trapping and shooting only, on the basis that this is a tried and tested methodology based on the evidence from the RBCT.
Before the election the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Elizabeth Truss, reiterated the Government’s commitment to continuing with a badger cull as part of a 25 year bovine TB eradication plan in a speech to the National Farmers Union: (235) “Our twenty five year strategy includes cattle movement controls, vaccination in the edge area and culling where the disease is rife. This strategy has worked in Australia and it’s working in New Zealand and Ireland. And I am grateful to the NFU for their help on the strategy and on our TB Expert Advisory Group. We will not let up, whatever complaints we get from protest groups. We’re in it for the long haul. We will not walk away.
Culling areas and targets
A new area in Dorset was included in the 2015 cull. Two further areas were rejected by Natural England, that published licences for three areas on 28 August 2015, the two existing areas in Gloucestershire and Somerset, and a third one in Dorset. Farmers Weekly reported on 3 September 2015 that farmers were in uproar after two other areas in Devon and Herefordshire had their cull applications turned down by Natural England.(236)
The 2015 licences published a maximum and minimum number of badgers that would need to be culled in each cull area within six weeks to meet the conditions of the licence:
• West Gloucestershire – a minimum of 265 and a maximum of 679
• West Somerset – a minimum of 55 and a maximum of 524
• Dorset – a minimum of 615 and a maximum of 835
All three licences allowed free shooting of badgers and badgers to be trapped and shot.
Reactions to 2015 cull announcement
Dr Brian May's Save Me Trust published figures, released from DEFRA that showed an increase in Bovine TB around the cull areas and asked if anyone in the goverment is listening? Read the article here The Badger Trust said The government's Independent Expert Panel (IEP) and now the British Veterinary Association (BVA) have condemned free shooting as 'inhumane'. There was a failure to achieve the minimum number of badgers killed in either annual cull in Gloucestershire and in Somerset the second year of culling achieved a much reduced target figure. (237)
There was no major reaction from cull supporters, although the National Farmers Union President, Maurig Raymond, was reported to be frustrated that no further areas had been included.
On 23rd August 2015, Dr Brian May's Save Me Trust announced it would make a legal challenge agianst the Badger culls. In a statement, Anne Brummer, CEO of Save Me said; Lawyers instructed by the Save Me Trust have today written to the Chief Executive and the Chief Legal Advisor of Natural England warning them that if any licences to cull badgers are either activated in Gloucestershire and Somerset or any new licences granted for this purpose anywhere, then the lawfulness of the decisions to do so will be challenged by a Judicial Review in the High Court.
Anne continued; "To continue the culling of badgers is unlawful as it does not rationally serve the statutory purpose which permits the killing of badgers only to achieve the aim of preventing the spread of disease. Additionally there has been a fundamental failure in the consultation process, a logically flawed approach in calculating badger numbers and a failure in Gloucestershire in any event to meet its minimum targets in 2013 and 2014".
On 2 September 2015 the Guardian published a letter from scientists with expertise in environmental issues, veterinary medicine, wildlife and livestock health and welfare critical of the decision to continue the cull.(238) Signatories included Professor John Bourne Former Chairman, Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB and Professor John Krebs, author of the 1997 RBCT - Randomised Badger Culling Trial report.
Call for a Review on badger culling (239)
The government’s badger culling policy continues to be opposed by the majority of scientific experts, and remains deeply unpopular with a large section of the public. There is considerable research evidence and experience demonstrating the central importance of cattle-to-cattle transmission, both within and between herds, in maintaining and disseminating the disease. Control strategies require wider recognition of other factors, including the limitations of the tuberculin test, more rigid cattle movement controls and heightened on-farm biosecurity. These measures are far more effective at reducing tuberculosis in cattle. Vaccination of both cattle and badgers may also have a role to play.
We agree with the president of the British Veterinary Association who questions the ethics of continuing to use controlled shooting as a method of culling when it has shown to be both ineffective and inhumane. We urge the government to reconsider immediately its decision to continue and extend the culling of badgers.
Badger culls took place in West Gloucestershire, Somerset and Dorset in autumn 2015. Culling commenced on 31 August 2015 in Somerset and Dorset and on 2 September 2015 in Gloucestershire. The culls were monitored by Natural England (240) to ensure compliance with licence conditions and guidance. Shooting accuracy was used as a proxy measure for ‘humaneness’ and was monitored through field observations by Natural England monitors, and a small number of post-mortem examinations by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
Natural England’s compliance monitoring report states: To enable a direct comparison with last year’s results on the outcome of controlled shooting, the CVO requested that Natural England report the findings of a similar number of shooting events of badgers in the field to last year’s. It was agreed that compliance monitoring would be conducted on a proportionate basis. Natural England have not released the number of monitors used.
Number of badgers culled in 2015
The minimum target number of badgers was achieved in all three cull areas. Details of the number of badgers culled in each area in 2015 are provided below.
|Number of badgers culled in 2015|
|Cull area||Target||Shot||Caged and Shot||Total|
Cull effectiveness and humaneness
In light of the number of badgers culled and the results of the badger cull monitoring Defra concluded that the 2015 badger cull was effective and humane: The results from the 2015 culls indicate that all three areas have delivered the level of badger removal required to be confident of disease control benefits and that the culls were carried out to a high standard of public safety.
The levels of controlled shooting accuracy achieved in this year’s cull were the same as those in 2014 and comparable to those in 2013. The likelihood of suffering in badgers is comparable with the range of outcomes reported when other culling activities currently accepted by society have been assessed. Licensed farmers and landowners will need to continue to ensure their contractors receive rigorous training to maintain high standards of effectiveness, humaneness and safety.
These views reflected advice given by the Chief Veterinary Officer. (241) The CVO also concluded that compliance monitoring would continue to be required and that there was no room for complacency: There is a need to carry out comprehensive surveys of sett activity early in 2016 to inform operational planning, and all companies must plan to continue to deliver a high level of targeted effort across the accessible area to maintain effectiveness. The CVO recommended that culling should continue in all three areas in order to achieve disease control benefits in cattle.
On the 2nd November 2015, two leading Scientists, Christl A. Donnelly Imperial College London, and Rosie Woodroffe, Institute of Zoology, London, revealed in an article for Nature magazine that the latest badger culls are unlikely to stop TB. Two months ago, the government advice body, Natural England approved further licensed badger culls in parts of the United Kingdom in 2015. The aim is to reduce local badger densities by at least 70% to stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB) to cattle. This figure is critical because reductions of less than 70% can, paradoxically, increase TB transmission rates Read the whole article here
Amendments to badger cull licence criteria
In August 2015, the Government consulted on three proposed changes to the badger cull licensing criteria. These were claimed to introduce more flexibility to enable culling where it would be effective in reducing badger populations: (242)
Proposal 1 - to increase the likelihood of achieving a significant reduction of the badger population (and thereby disease control) by providing for NE to keep the duration of the culling period under review, without specifying in the licence an initial limit on its duration. N.B. No change is proposed to the current closed seasons.
Proposal 2 - increase the range of potential areas that can achieve disease control benefits by acting on evidence that indicates a change can be made to the licensing criteria to allow culling in a minimum area size of 100km2.
Proposal 3 - increase the range of potential areas that can achieve disease control benefits by providing more flexibility for licensing new areas with the potential to deliver an effective cull, by removing the licence requirement for at least 70% of the land in candidate areas to be accessible but retaining a requirement that approximately 90% of the land in the control area be either accessible, or within 200 m of accessible land.
The Government published the responses to the consultation in December 2015, alongside new guidance to Natural England on badger licences which incorporates the three proposals that were consulted on.
Some consultation respondents disagreed with the proposals.(243) Prof Rosie Woodroffe, at the Institute of Biology in London, said: “This is a huge disappointment for evidence-based policy making. The scale of the rollout is huge: farmers will be required to kill almost 10,000 badgers at a minimum before the end of November. And yet the government has released no evidence that farmer-led culling is helping to control cattle TB.”
Rollout of badger culls in 2016
The Chief Veterinary Officer’s (CVO’s) advice on the outcome of the 2015 badger culls (244) stated that licensing of further cull areas would be necessary to realise disease control benefits at regional rather than at local levels, and that this would require a “systematic, reliable and consistently reproducible culling delivery model”. Furthermore, the CVO advised that consideration is given to monitoring the disease status of badgers as well as badger populations within cull areas, and he stressed the importance of rigorous cattle controls and high levels of biosecurity in cull areas in order to realise full disease control benefits over time.
On 17 December 2015 the Government announced that the 2015 badger culls had successfully met their targets, and it intended to enable badger control to take place over a wider number of areas in 2016.(245)
However, the Government’s badger control policy remains controversial. On the 5th April 2016 Brian May issued a statement reacting to a leaked announcemnet that the badger culls would be extended to five new areas. “So the Government is extending the already failed badger cull ? “Of course this kind of news is always ‘leaked’, so we can’t say we’re surprised that the badger killing is being deliberately ramped up. “But truly, for anyone who hoped that a new government would bring new wisdom this is massively disappointing. “As evidence accrues, it becomes more and more certain that badgers have very little to do with the spread of Bovine TB. Even the Government’s chief Scientific advisor, Ian Boyd has put an upper limit on the contribution of badgers of 6 per cent. That means that at least 94 per cent of the problem lies in the herd itself. As of this week, we now know for sure that it’s possible to achieve official TB free status in a herd, without any action on wildlife whatsoever. History will show that this whole sorry business - the tragedy of Bovine TB - was entirely due to infectious cows being undetected by the pitifully inadequate TB test - and re-infecting the herd, causing multiple breakdowns. Apart from the morally indefensible cruelty to wild animals that this government’s policy causes, and the taxpayers money that is being wasted, and the farmers being completely misled and let down, perhaps the greatest scandal is the fact that the Government (in the shape of DEFRA) is still insisting on relying on the skin test, which causes anguish to farmers and cattle alike. We believe that this policy, alongside the placebo of badger culling that the farming community is being fobbed off with, is wholly responsible for the continued spread of bovine TB.“This decision is a disgrace.” Brian May Founder of Save Me Trust
The Wildlife Trusts condemned the Government’s intention to roll out badger culls to other areas. (246) Paul Wilkinson, head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, said: “We’re exasperated by [the] announcements and condemn any intention to roll out the badger culls, which have been found to be repeatedly flawed in their methodology, measures and objectives. They are a resounding policy failure which should be halted immediately.”
“The badger culls may have met the minimum targets set by the government but this cannot be considered a true measure of success. There is no evidence that culling badgers is having an impact on bTB in cattle. There are no statistics available for bTB incidence within the cull zones and no baseline data to compare them to, even if stats were forthcoming. The first two years of the pilot culls have already cost the taxpayer more than £16.8 million and there is no clear evidence to prove they have been an effective use of taxpayer’s money.”
Whilst giving evidence to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee on 26 January 2016, the then Secretary of State reconfirmed the Government’s plan for badger culls in more areas:(247) Elizabeth Truss said: It is more than an aspiration; it is a plan. It is part of our 25-year strategy to eradicate bovine TB. By the end of this Parliament, we should be able to declare half of England TB-free, which I think is a very important milestone. Culls were successful in Somerset, Gloucestershire and Dorset. The Chief Veterinary Officer has been very clear that culling has disease control benefits and that they need to be carried out in a wider area to realise further disease control benefits. We are clear that it does need to be carried out in a further area. It is a farmer-led process, so obviously their need to be applications for that.
In July 2016, Team Badger held a parliamentary briefing. On a rainy July day in London, Brian May said “We have a new administration, let’s ask them to take a very serious and fresh look at the problem of bovine TB in cattle. It seems evident from the fact that the Government has not produced any evidence whatsoever that the existing culls are working -to be evident that it is not working".
The Government confirmed on 30 August 2016 that badger culling licences would be issued in 7 new areas (248) Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, in addition to the existing areas in Gloucestershire, Somerset and Dorset. Culling in these new areas will be carried out over 4 years. The actual start date for the cull in each area will be decided by the licensed companies.
Lord Krebs, who led the landmark Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) criticised the announced expansion of the badger cull: “Badger culling is a sideshow. The only effective way to stop TB is stopping the spread from cattle to cattle by more testing and a much better test.” “The government has not produced any figures to show the pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset have worked, so how can they justify rolling out the cull to more areas?”(249)
Badger control operations, lasting at least six weeks, took place in each area, between 29 August and 18 October 2016. The culls were again monitored by Natural England to ensure compliance with licence conditions and the Best Practice Guide. Natural England allocated resources to monitor 30% of contractors within each of the seven new Areas, 5% within area three (Dorset) and by exception within areas one (West Gloucestershire) and two (West Somerset).(250)
Shooting accuracy was used as a proxy measure for ‘humaneness’ and was monitored using observations by Natural England staff of badgers being shot at by controlled shooting. Natural England also monitored the safety of the operations. (251)
All ten cull areas in 2016 achieved their minimum target numbers. In total 10,866 badgers were killed, of which just under half (5,219 badgers) were caged and shot while the remaining 5,672 were shot. (252)
For the three existing cull areas, the minimum and maximum numbers were not changed. On day 35 in six of the new cull areas and day 33 in one of the areas, Defra advised Natural England to: INCREASE the minimum and maximum numbers in: Area 8 – Dorset; and Area 10 – Herefordshire and to DECREASE the numbers in the other five areas: Area 4 – Cornwall; Area 5 – Cornwall; Area 6 – Devon; Area 7 – Devon; and Area 9 – Gloucestershire.
A spokesperson for Team Badger said "The Government has undermined the scientific credibility of its own research, by repeatedly changing targets and methods. As a result, no definitive scientific conclusions can be drawn from the pilot culls, as the scientific evidence used to justify them is highly selective." A view supported by Chair of Natural England’s Scientific Advisory Committee, Professor David Macdonald, who described the pilot culls as an ‘epic failure’
Details of the number of badgers culled in each area in 2016 are provided below:
|Number of badgers culled in 2016|
|Cull area||Target||Shot||Caged and Shot||Total|
Humaneness and effectiveness
In assessing the 2016 badger culls Defra concluded that all ten badger control companies delivered the level of badger removal required to “be confident of disease control benefits” and that the “operations were carried out to a high standard of public safety”. Furthermore, Defra were satisfied that the cull was humane. In December 2016, the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) similarly concluded that the cull was effective and humane.(253)
This has been questioned, for example, Professor Rosie Woodroffe, of the Zoological Society London, suggested it was “based on extremely shaky evidence.”. In particular, Professor Woodroffe was concerned that there was no way of telling what percentage of badgers had been culled, and by association whether the cull had been successful.(254)
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) committed to conducting a detailed analysis of Defra’s figures, (255) and restated its view that based on the cull in 2015, controlled shooting could not be carried out effectively and humanely: “The latest data provide detailed and complex information on how badger culling is being rolled out operationally on the ground… we will need to look at the detailed analysis of these figures. “Badger culling in a targeted, effective and humane manner is necessary in carefully selected areas where badgers are regarded as a significant contributor to the presence of bTB in cattle. Following the pilot badger culls, we believe the results from the second year of culling did not demonstrate conclusively that controlled shooting could be carried out effectively and humanely based on the criteria set for the pilots. We therefore support the wider roll-out of badger culling using cage trapping and shooting only, but not the continued use of controlled shooting.”
The NFU reaffirmed its support for the cull in a press release published on 16 December 2016 (256) in which NFU President Meurig Raymond praised those companies involved in the cull: “I would like to thank all the people involved with the cull companies for their hard work and dedication which ensured this year’s culls were completed safely, humanely and effectively, as well as successfully in terms of reaching the targets necessary to be confident of achieving the disease control benefits we all want. “If culling is to have the maximum impact on disease it is vital that it takes place in as much of the area where bTB is rife as possible.
For Area 1-Gloucestershire and Area 2-Somerset cull areas, which have reached the end of the four-year license period, the CVO expected the anticipated disease benefits to be realised. Indeed, on the future of culling, the CVO suggested that proactive badger culling will be at regional rather than at local levels. (257)
Wildife Groups such as Save Me Trust and Team Badger have repeatedly called for the evidence to support these claims - to date it has not been released.
On the 20th December 2016, Environment Secretary, Andrea Leadsom announced that England is set to apply for Officially TB-Free(OTF) (258) status for more than half the contry next year. Gaining OTF status for the low risk area, covering the north and east of England, would boost trade opportunities and mean some herds require less regular TB testing, reducing costs for farmers. The British Veterinary Association(BVA) welcomed this news (259)
On the same day DEFRA announced a consultation on licence conditions (260) The consultation ran from 16 December 2016 to 10 February 2017. The consultation set out proposals to update the licensing criteria that would apply to applications to Natural England (NE) for a supplementary badger control licence from 2017 to enable farmer-led licensed badger control in England to preserve the disease control benefits expected in areas where successful culls have been completed over at least four years. To achieve this it would be necessary to maintain a steady badger population at the level achieved at the end of the licensed culls. The Secretary of State concluded that no significant new evidence was presented that would change the Government's view on continuation of the badger culling policy.
The government's conclusions were not supported by their own scientists. Chairman of the Independent Scientific Group (ISG) on Cattle TB, (261) Prof. John Bourne; "After careful consideration of all the Randomised Badger Cull Trial (RBCT) (262)(263) and other data presented in this report, including an economic assessment, we conclude that badger culling cannot meaningfully contribute to the future control of cattle TB in Britain".
In August 2016, DEFRA published Badger control costs for the first three years of the cull:(264)
|Badger Control Costs||2013||2014||2015|
|Licensing and compliance monitoring||£859,000||£1,036,000||£1,003,000|
|Humaneness monitoring, including post mortems||£2,628,000||£1,515,000||£154,000|
|Advice and assessments||£389,000||£294,000||£460,000|
DEFRA made an analysis of the costs in a Value for money analysis in August 2016 (265) These documents rely heavily on the results of the Randomised Badger culling Trial (RBCT) and indicate that the cost of each new cull could exceed the expcted benefits by at least £1.49 million. However, the culls carried out in 2013-2015 employ significantly different methodology to the RBCT and as the licence conditions were relaxed yet further in 2016, it's unlikely that the culls will, in future, deliver the expected benefits. The conclusion must be that these analyses are significantly flawed.
- Bovine TB Time Line. Bovine TB Overview and Timeline
- Randomised Badger Culling Trial. Final Report of the Independent Scientific Group (ISG) on Cattle TB. rbct http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20081108133322/http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/tb/isg/pdf/final_report.pdf
- Estimates of badger population size in the West Gloucestershire and West Somerset pilot areas. A report to Natural England - 22 February 2013. http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130903145614/http://www.defra.gov.uk/animal-diseases/files/population-badger-pilot-areas.pdf
- Estimating the risk of cattle exposure to tuberculosis posed by wild deer relative to badgers in England and Wales http://www.jwildlifedis.org/doi/abs/10.7589/0090-3558-45.4.1104
- Link need updating
- Parliamentary briefing paper - Science & Environment. www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN05873.pdf
- The Cattle Book 2008 Descriptive statistics of cattle numbers in Great Britain on 1 June 2008: Density Maps. http://www.defra.gov.uk/publications/files/pb13572-cattlebook-2008-090804.pdf
- European Commission Audit - audit was carried out in the UK from 5-16th September 2011. TB Eradication Programme. READ HERE
- Vaccination reduces the risk of unvaccinated badger cubs testing tuberculosis positive.Vaccination reduces the risk of unvaccinated badger cubs testing tuberculosis positive http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0049833 (check if this is correct paper)
- Conversation in the House of Lords where Lord Krebs and Lord Knight of Weymouth – Hansard. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201213/ldhansrd/text/121023-0001.htm
- 'Bovine tuberculosis infection in wild mammals in the South-West region of England: A survey of prevalence and a semi-quantitative assessment of the relative risks to cattle'. READ HERE
- Final report of an audit carried out in the United Kingdom from 5th-16th September 2011 In order to evaluate the operation of the Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication Programme. READ HERE
- TB skin test questioned after false results. http://www.fwi.co.uk/articles/05/02/2013/137488/tb-skin-test-questioned-after-false-results.htm#.URD1fq2kidE
- Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Bovine TB - Key conclusions from the meeting of scientific experts. Held at Defra on 4th April 2011. http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130403105820/http://archive.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanimal/diseases/atoz/tb/documents/bovinetb-scientificexperts-110404.pdf
- Illegal in the US to feed deer and cattle together for risk of bovine Tb transfer. READ MORE
- Scientist writes an open letter condemning the cull. http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2012/oct/14/letters-observer study required
- Despite no badgers having yet being killed under official sanction in Northern Ireland, as Ms O'Neill has acknowledged, the annual herd incidence has almost halved, from nearly 10% in 2002 to just over 5% on 30 September 2011. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/ni/?id=2011-11-28.7.25
- Cattle movements the most significant factor in spread of bovine TB https://www.researchgate.net/profile/William_Wint/publication/7823575_Cattle_movements_and_bovine_tuberculosis_in_Great_Britain/links/02e7e52388096346a0000000/Cattle-movements-and-bovine-tuberculosis-in-Great-Britain.pdf suggests that increased biosecurity will greatly benefit control
- Stress prevents immune systems from working. A 3rd more females (in buffalo adult females stressed out the yearling females) and links with human stats. http://www.krugerpark.co.za/krugerpark-times-2-21-buffalo-tb-21399.html
- Bovine tuberculosis in Europe from the perspective of an officially tuberculosis free country: trade, surveillance and diagnostics. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21439740 READ HERE better diagnostic testsrequired, skin test = low sensitivity and IFN-y = low specificity. Lesion detection after slaughter = low sensitivity
- Durham University Paper. shows using cartographic maps that badgers killed by road traffic with tuberculosis did not correlate with cattle with tuberculosis. Very questionable source of data. Maps at end interesting to show the spread however
- Recording of Professor Atkins from Durham University http://ihrrblog.org/2013/02/14/bovine-tb-risk-in-britain-past-and-present/
- . Police don’t want to police this, too expensive. http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/wildlife/article3706318.ece
- Herd size is a known risk factor for bTB (Denny and Wilesmith 1999, Olea-Popelka and others 2004, Reilly and Courtenay 2007); https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10212503, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15158568. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167587707000360?via%3Dihub intelligent badger control (protective vaccine) against reinfection). accordingly, direct standardisation was used to adjust for varying herd size (Abernethy et al., 2013) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25023906
- Slaughter Detection and pre movement Testing in Oreland. http://www.ucd.ie/t4cms/biennial%20report%20200809%20bovine%20tuberculosis.pdf
- Four Area Project. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3113914/
- Link need updating
- History of bTB – Defra. http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130402155229/http://archive.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanimal/diseases/atoz/tb/abouttb
- HOUSE OF COMMONS. ORAL EVIDENCE TAKEN BEFORE THE ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE, BOVINE TB VACCINATION, TUESDAY 26 FEBRUARY 2013, BERNARD VAN GOETHEM, FRANCISCO REVIRIEGO, KOEN VAN DYCK AND JACQUELINE MINOR. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmenvfru/uc981-ii/uc98101.htm
- Incidents of M. bovis infection in non-bovine domestic animals & wild deer in GB confirmed by laboratory culture. http://archive.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanimal/diseases/atoz/tb/documents/tb-otherspecies.pdf
- Lord Krebs, who ran a ten-year review into whether culling could control bovine tuberculosis, said that the Government’s estimates had varied so wildly that under the previous target farmers would have been asked to shoot 144 per cent of the badgers in Gloucestershire. He said “To me what it says is that the practicality of killing 70 per cent is one question but the real question is how do they know what their starting number is?” http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/wildlife/article3703610.ece
- Professor Robbie McDonald, an author of the paper and now at the University of Exeter's Environment and Sustainability Institute, said: "This striking result in cubs shows a protective effect at the social group level and is important evidence that vaccination not only has a direct benefit to vaccinated badgers, but can also reduce the infectivity of TB within a badger social group that has been vaccinated." http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/featurednews/title_249183_en.html
- World Health Organisation description of TB and how it is transmitted.
- Neigbouring farms have different bTB. http://www.plospathogens.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.ppat.1003008
- End ban on hunting with dogs, urges Tory Environment Minister: Paterson makes his views clear on controversial subject.
- In Wales the government have caged, trapped and vaccinated over 1,400 badgers. Evidence from a four year field study (9) shows that BCG vaccinations in badgers reduces the risk of infection to cubs. It is possible to vaccinate. It will not make matters worse and evidence to date suggest it has a positive effect. Myself and Brian May met with Christianne Glossop (Chief Vet of Wales) in London last month to discuss successes and failures of the vaccination program and how we may work with them on this project to improve and support it to its conclusion.
- Link need updating
- Link need updating
- There is not a “39”.
- Deep divisions in the badger cull. http://catbrainsite.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/deep-divisions-in-british-society-over-badger-cull/Link good
- ORAL VACCINE TELEGRAPH. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/7996663/Oral-TB-vaccine-may-prevent-need-for-badger-cull.html
- Oral vaccine Eamonn Gormley. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/7996663/Oral-TB-vaccine-may-prevent-need-for-badger-cull.html
- http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0168851 (different link, study done by Eamonn Gormley (2017) on efectienes of oral vaccine.
- Details on Eamonn Gormley. http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/veterinarymedicine/dreamonngormley/
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5319696/ (could not find link for the world radio channel,
- Byrne, A. W., Sleeman, D. P., O’Keeffe, J. & John, D., (2012a). The Ecology of the European Badger (Meles meles) in Ireland, a review. Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 112B(1), pp. 105-132. http://irserver.ucd.ie/bitstream/handle/10197/5253/Byrne_et_al._2012_Biol_Env.pdf?sequence=1
- Man shot while hunting rabbits . Fell on his gun SHROPSHIRE. http://news.sky.com/story/1075232/rabbit-hunter-shot-dead-in-tragic-accident
- Byrne, A. W. et al., (2012b). Impact of culling on relative abundance of the European badger (Meles meles) in Ireland. European Journal of Wildlife Research, pp. DOI 10.1007/s10344-012-0643-1.
- Culling decreased by number o badgers in the area
- More, S. J., (2005). Towards eradication of Bovine Tuberculosis in Ireland A critical review of progress, Dublin: Centre for Veterinary Epidemiology and Risk Analysis.
- Griffin, J. M. et al., (2005). The impact of badger removal on the control of tuberculosis in cattle herds in Ireland. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, Volume 67, pp. 237-266.
- Máirtín, D. Ó. et al., (1998). The effect of a badger removal programme on the incidence of tuberculosis in an Irish cattle population. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 34(1-6), pp. 47-56.
- Eves, J.A., (1999). Impact of badger removal on bovine tuberculosis in east county Offaly. Irish Veterinary Journal 52, 199–203.
- . Eves, J.A., (1993). The East Offaly Badger Research project: an interim report. The Badger Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin (1993), pp. 166–173 Can’t access paper
- Eves, J.A., (1993). The East Offaly Badger Research project: an interim report. The Badger Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin (1993), pp. 166–173
- Cheeseman, C. L., Jones, G. W., Gallagher, J. & Mallinson, P. J. (1981). The population structure, density and prevalence of tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis) in badgers (Meles meles) from four areas in south-west England. J. Appl. Ecol. 18, 795–804.Can’t access paper
- Tuyttens, F. A. M., Delahay, R. J., Macdonald, D. W., Cheeseman, C. L., Long, B. & Donnelly, C. A. (2000a). Spatial perturbation caused by a badger (Meles meles) culling operation: implications for the function of territoriality and the control of bovine tuberculosis Mycobacterium bovis. J. Anim. Ecol. 69, 815–828. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2656.2000.00437.x/pdf
- Tuyttens, F. A. M., Macdonald, D. W., Rogers, L. M., Cheeseman, C. L. & Roddam, A. W. (2000b). Comparative study on the consequences of culling badgers (Meles meles) on biometrics, population dynamics and movement. J. Anim. Ecol. 69, 567–580. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2656.2000.00419.x/full
- Macdonald, D. W., Riordan, P. & Mathews, F. (2006). Biological hurdles to the control of TB in cattle: a test of two hypotheses concerning wildlife to explain the failure of control. Biol. Conserv. 131, 268–286.
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- Cannot find this data – however 2012 paper found 81% against the cull http://www.crawleyobserver.co.uk/news/opinion/peter-skinner-what-can-badgers-tell-us-about-this-government-1-4411147
- Link need updating
- Link need updating
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- 22% of new bTB cattle detected at slaughter. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2012/oct/05/badger-cull-tb-cattle
- The use of dogs and Defra. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/69586/pb13716-shooting-guidance.pd
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- National Tb Strategy: Proposed National Pest Management Strategy for Bovine Tuberculosis, November 1995, Animal Health Board, Wellington. Cant find
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- Tuberculosis (Edinb.), 81 (2001), pp. 23-41
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J.M. Pollock, J.D. Rodgers, M.D. Welsh, J. McNairPathogenesis of bovine tuberculosis: The role of experimental models of infection
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- Abdou, M., Frankena, K., O’Keeffe, J., & Byrne, A. W. (2016). Effect of culling and vaccination on bovine tuberculosis infection in a European badger (Meles meles) population by spatial simulation modelling. Preventive veterinary medicine, 125, 19-30.
201. Defra. (23 October 2012). Badger culls to go ahead this summer. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/badger-cull-to-proceed-next-yea
202. BBC News. (22 August 2013). Badger cull zone injunction is granted in High Court. [Internet]. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-23791222
203. NFU. (23 August 2013). High Court injunction result. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.nfuonline.com/sectors/animal-health/animal-health-rh-panel/bovine-tb/high-court-injunction-result/
204. The Guardian. (23 January 2014). Badger cull killed only 24% of animals by controlled shooting, figures show. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/23/badger-cull-only-quarter-controlled-shooting
205. McGrath, M. (9 October 2013). Badger cull extended as kills fall short of target. [Internet]. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24443110
206. Defra. (5 November 2013). Somerset badger cull ends. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/somerset-badger-cull-ends
207. Defra. (2 December 2013). Gloucestershire badger cull ends. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/gloucestershire-badger-cull-ends
208. Defra. (April 2014). The Strategy for achieving Officially Bovine Tuberculosis Free status for England. [Internet]. Available at: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/files/DEP2014-0554/pb14088-bovine-tb-strategy-140328.pdf
209. Defra. (July 2011). Bovine TB Eradication Programme for England. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/69443/pb13601-bovinetb-eradication-programme-110719.pdf
210. Defra. (December 2011). The Government’s policy on Bovine TB and badger control in England. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/69463/pb13691-bovinetb-policy-statement.pdf
211. Defra. (14 December 2011). Update on measures to tackle Bovine TB. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/update-on-measures-to-tackle-bovine-tb
212. HC Deb. (19 January 2012). Column 45WS. [Internet]. Available at:https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201212/cmhansrd/cm120119/wmstext/120119m0001.htm#12011938000009
213. Natural England. (5 June 2014). Bovine TB and badger control in England. [Internet]. Available at: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20140605110001/http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/regulation/wildlife/species/badgertb.aspx
214. Defra. (March 2012). Badger Culling Pilots: Independent Expert Panel. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/badger-culling-pilots-independent-expert-panel
215. Defra. (October 2012). Monitoring the effectiveness of badger population reduction by controlled shooting. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/229570/badger-cull-iep-monitor-controlled-shooting20130307.pdf
216. Defra. (22 February 2013). Estimates of badger population sizes in the West Gloucestershire and West Somerset pilot areas. [Internet]. Available at: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130903145614/http://www.defra.gov.uk/animal-diseases/files/population-badger-pilot-areas.pdf
217. Defra. (October 2012). Monitoring the humaneness of controlled shooting. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/229571/badger-cull-iep-monitor-humane-shooting20130307.pdf
218. HC Deb. (5 February 2014). Column 297W. [Internet]. Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm140205/text/140205w0003.htm#14020589002830
219. HC Deb. (14 Jan 2014). Column 471W. [Internet]. Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm140114/text/140114w0001.htm#140114105001042
220. HC Deb. (5 Feb 2014). Column 297W. [Internet]. Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm140205/text/140205w0003.htm#14020589002830
221. HC Deb. (3 April 2013). Column 1034. [Internet]. Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm140403/debtext/140403-0002.htm#14040348000003
222. Natural England. (26 August 2014). Protection of Badgers Act 1992, TB Area Control Licence. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/357833/wg-authorisation-letter-2014-redacted.pdf
223. HC Deb. (4 November 2014). Column 198WH. [Internet]. Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm141104/halltext/141104h0002.htm#14110455000362
224. HC Deb. (4 November 2014). Column 201WH. [Internet]. Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm141104/halltext/141104h0002.htm#14110455000365
225. Hoggart, S. (4 November 2014).Transparency and Evidence-Based Policy: An Open Letter to Defra from Journal of Animal Ecology. [Internet]. Available at: https://journalofanimalecology.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/transparency-and-evidence-based-policy-an-open-letter-to-defra-from-journal-of-animal-ecology/
226. HC Deb. (28 April 2014). Column 478W. [Internet]. Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm140428/text/140428w0003.htm#1404297000079
227. BBC News. (1 July 2014). Badger Trust given permission to challenge badger cull. [Internet]. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-28113753
228. Farmers Weekly. (29 October 2014). Badger Trust loses legal appeal over cull. [Internet]. Available at: http://www.fwi.co.uk/livestock/badger-trust-loses-legal-appeal-over-cull.htm
229. HC Deb. (4 November 2014). Column 201WH. [Internet]. Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm141104/halltext/141104h0001.htm#14110455000001
230. Defra. (August 2014). Monitoring the humaneness and effectiveness of badger culling in 2014. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/347534/badger-cull-monitoring-2014.pdf
231. Defra. (December 2014). Summary of badger control monitoring during 2014. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/388725/summary-badger-control-monitoring.pdf
232. Defra. (December 2014). Chief Veterinary Officer’s advice on outcome of year 2 of the badger culls. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/388699/cvo-advice.pdf
233. Wahl, M. (16 December 2014). CRC Auditing Services, Annex G. Audit Report for the 2014 Badger Control Project. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/388669/annex-g-audit-report-2014-badger-control-project.pdf
234. BVA Council. (15 April 2015). BVA Council position on the pilot badger culls and badger culling policy in England. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.bva.co.uk/uploadedFiles/Content/News,_campaigns_and_policies/Policies/Farm_animals/Final%20position%20on%20bTB%20and%20badger%20culling%20AGREED%20at%20Council%2015%20April%202015.pdf
235. Defra. (24 Feb 2015). Elizabeth Truss speech at National Farmers' Union conference. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/elizabeth-truss-speech-at-national-farmers-union-conference
236. Farmers Weekly. (3 September 2015). Farmer fury as Defra blocks badger cull in two TB hotspots. [Internet]. Available at: http://www.fwi.co.uk/news/farmer-fury-as-defra-blocks-badger-cull-in-two-tb-hotspots.ht
237. Badger Trust. (28 August 2015). Badger Trust Condemns Continued Culling as Completely Irrational. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.badger.org.uk/single-post/2015/08/28/BADGER-TRUST-CONDEMNS-CONTINUED-CULLING-AS-%E2%80%9CCOMPLETELY-IRRATIONAL%E2%80%99
238. The Guardian. (2 September 2015). Badger cull is flawed and must now stop. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/sep/02/badger-cull-is-flawed-and-must-now-stop
239. Natural England. (30 November 2015). Natural England compliance monitoring summary of controlled shooting during the 2015 badger control licences. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/486608/annex-b-ne-compliance-monitoring-summary.pdf
240. Defra. (December 2015). Summary of badger control monitoring during 2015. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/486604/summary-badger-control-monitoring-2015.pdf
241. Defra. (17 December 2015). Chief Veterinary Officer’s advice on the outcome of the 2015 badger culls. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/486612/cvo-advice-badger-culls-2015.pdf
242. Defra. (December 2015). Summary of responses to the consultation on Guidance to Natural England on licences to control the risk of bovine tuberculosis from badgers. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/511537/guidance-ne-licences-consult-sum-resp.pdf
243. Badger Trust. (19 October 2015). Badger Trust Accuses Government of Moving the Goalposts on Cull Licences. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.badger.org.uk/single-post/2015/10/19/Badger-Trust-Accuses-Government-of-Moving-the-Goalposts-on-Cull-Licences
244. Defra. (2015). Chief Veterinary Officer’s advice on the outcome of the 2015 badger culls. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/486612/cvo-advice-badger-culls-2015.pdf
245. Defra. (17 December 2015). Bovine TB eradication strategy delivering results. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/bovine-tb-eradication-strategy-delivering-results
246. The Wildlife Trusts. (17 December 2015). The Wildlife Trusts urge Government to drop the cull and focus on vaccination and securing badger BCG supplies. [Internet]. Available at: http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/news/2015/12/17/wildlife-trusts-urge-government-drop-cull-and-focus-vaccination-and-securing-badger-
247. EFRA Committee. (26 January 2016). Oral evidence: The work of DEFRA, HC 764, Q106. [Internet]. Available at: http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/the-work-of-the-department-for-environment-food-and-rural-affairs/oral/27935.html
248. Natural England. (30 August 2016). Bovine TB: authorisation for badger control in 2016. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bovine-tb-authorisation-for-badger-control-in-2016
249. Carrington, D. (13 July 2016). Badger cull expansion 'flies in face of scientific evidence’. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/13/badger-cull-expansion-flies-in-face-of-scientific-evidence
250. Defra. (December 2016). Summary of badger control monitoring during 2016. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/578436/summary-badger-control-monitoring-2016.pdf
251. Natural England. (December 2016). Natural England Compliance Monitoring Summary of Controlled Shooting during the 2016 Badger Control Licences. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/578146/summary-badger-control-monotoring-2016-annexb.pdf
252. Defra. (December 2016). Summary of badger control monitoring during 2016. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/578436/summary-badger-control-monitoring-2016.pdf
253. Defra. (December 2016). Chief Veterinary Officer’s advice on the outcome of the 2016 badger culls. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/578356/cvo-advice-2016-cull.pdf
254. Carrington, D. (16 December 2016). Badger cull kills more than 10,000 animals in three months. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/16/badger-cull-kills-more-than-10000-animals-three-months-bovine-tb
255. BVA. (16 December 2016). BVA response to Defra statement on bovine TB strategy. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.bva.co.uk/news-campaigns-and-policy/newsroom/news-releases/bva-response-to-defra-statement-on-bovine-tb-strategy/
256. NFU. (16 December 2016). Bovine TB eradication strategy update: NFU response. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.nfuonline.com/sectors/animal-health/animal-health-rh-panel/bovine-tb/bovine-tb-eradication-strategy-update-nfu-respons
257. Defra. (December 2016). Guidance to Natural England on licensed badger control to prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis. [Internet]. Available at: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/bovine-tb/supplementary-badger-disease-control/supporting_documents/Consultation%20Document.pdf
258. Defra. (16 December 2016). TB strategy ahead of schedule as England set to apply for officially TB-free status for half the country. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tb-strategy-ahead-of-schedule-as-england-set-to-apply-for-officially-tb-free-status-for-half-the-country
259. BVA. (16 December 2016). BVA response to Defra statement on bovine TB strategy. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.bva.co.uk/news-campaigns-and-policy/newsroom/news-releases/bva-response-to-defra-statement-on-bovine-tb-strategy/
260. Defra. (16 December 2016). Bovine TB: supplementary badger disease control. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/bovine-tb-supplementary-badger-disease-control
261. Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB. (June 2007). Bovine TB: The Scientific Evidence. [Internet]. Available at: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20081108133322/http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/tb/isg/pdf/final_report.pdf
262. Defra. (September 2010). The Randomised Badger Culling Trial (Proactive & Reactive culling). [Internet]. Available at: http://www.bovinetb.info/docs/corporate-consult-tb-control-measures-100915-tb-control-measures-annexb.pdf
263. Defra. (30 November 2011). Impact Assessment: Measures to address bovine TB in badgers [Internet]. Available at: http://web.archive.org/web/20111219180257/http:/archive.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanimal/diseases/atoz/tb/documents/bovine-tb-impact-assessment.pdf
264. Defra. (August 2016). Government badger control costs 2015. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/643325/badger-control-costs-2015-160824.pdf
265. Defra. (30 August 2016). Badger control policy: value for money analysis 2016. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/548748/badger-control-policy-value-for-money-160824.pdf