An effective badger cull would reduce the number of TB reactors – currently approaching 30,000 a year – and will also cut the number of parishes subject to one and two year TB testing, according to the National Beef Association.

 

The NBA has issued a statement supporting a culling policy to tackle the spread of bovine TB. 

 

In its statement the NBA says: “[The NBA] is confident that culling over wide TB hot spot areas will produce positive long term benefits.”

 

“DEFRA is at last being pushed into active consideration of intensive and extensive badger culling as the mainstay of a long overdue TB reduction and eradication programme,” explained NBA chairman Duff Burrell.

 

“It is within millimetres of accepting that badgers must be culled in the areas where TB is most intensive.

 

“Cattle owners in hot spot areas would be among the first direct beneficiaries of a successful cull because there would be fewer positive reactors and the number of one- and two-year testing parishes would also reduce.”

 

As an effective culling method, the NBA has endorsed the use of carbon monoxide gas as it believes it is the most effective method of the three proposals.

 

It has said that those taking part in a cull must have good tackle at their disposal and that snaring or shooting are not enough on their own to provide an effective armoury.

 

“If carbon monoxide is used as the principal tool, and is backed up by other culling methods, the required culling intensity would be achieved,” explained NBA chief executive, Robert Forster.

 

“Exhaust gas from petrol engines already has a sufficiently high concentration of carbon monoxide and there are means of raising levels even higher.”

 

Highlighting the burgeoning cost of dealing with the disease Mr Forster said this represented an overpowering public argument to support the use of carbon monoxide as the principal tool when a culling programme is adopted.