Independent Scientific Group rubbishes Sir David King's report on bovine TB

Monday 03 December 2007 13:45

A report by the government's chief scientific adviser which backed the idea of badger culling to control bovine TB has been rubbished by former members of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB.

Sir David King, who is stepping down after seven years, published a report in October which concluded that reducing the density of badgers in those areas of England where there is a significant level of TB in cattle would reduce its incidence in the same areas.

This recommendation contradicted an earlier report by the ISG, which said that badger culling could make no "meaningful contribution" to cattle TB control in Britain.

But in a paper submitted to a parliamentary committee looking into the issue of bovine TB, seven former members of the ISG said they were "surprised" by Prof King's conclusions.

"We have identified a large number of scientific problems with the report, which have led them to draw conclusions from our work which are not consistent with the data available.

"We are not persuaded by the arguments in King et al's report and stand by our published recommendations concerning the control of cattle TB in Britain."

In a separate submission to the environment, food and rural affairs select committee, Prof Denis Mollison, a former statistical auditor for the Krebs trial, said that the chief scientist's report was inexpert and unbalanced.

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