2 August 2001
‘Badger cull alone won’t stop TB’

By Alistair Driver

GOVERNMENT scientists investigating tuberculosis in cattle have warned that a solution based solely on culling badgers will fail to tackle the problem.

The Independent Scientific Group on TB in Cattles third report, published on Thursday (2 August), says there is no single solution to fighting TB in cattle.

“A strategy based solely on badger culling is not an option for future policy.”

Outlining the current state of TB research, the report says that improved TB diagnosis and better health management in cattle is also vital.

The research programme now in place is designed to consider a wide range of options and endure each has the appropriate scientific underpinning.

One option considered is proactive badger killing in some areas coupled with improved diagnosis and health management of cattle.

Another strategy could be based solely on diagnosis and health management.

A situation in which the government accepts responsibility for public health and farmers are responsible for TB in cattle could also be adopted, the report says.

The report acknowledges that the research programme is facing unavoidable delays because of foot-and-mouth disease.

Animal Health Minister Elliot Morley said the group had made encouraging progress since the publication of its second report last year.

“It is regrettable that some of the ISGs work has been suspended because of the foot-and mouth-disease emergency,” he added.