BBC Radio 4 airs badger cull arguments

BBC Radio 4 aired arguments for and against a badger cull in TB hotspots during a half hour programme broadcast on Thursday night (4 August).

The programme, called The Report, examined the battle between farmers, scientists and conservationists over plans to cull badgers to control the spread of bovine TB.

It included interviews with Cotswold farmer Jan Rowe who has only had one year free of TB during the past 12 years and believes TB has cost him up to £0.5m in extra costs on his business.

NFU president Peter Kendall also appeared pointing out that bovine TB is the biggest challenge facing the livestock industry and any moves that cut TB in cattle herds have to be considered.

“We need a very grown up debate about balancing wildlife and agriculture,” said Mr Kendall

Other contributors included Lord Krebs, the scientist who devised the randomised badger culling trial, who argued that killing badgers would not be an effective solution.

“The science does not stack up and say ‘yes’ going ahead to kill badgers will help to tackle the problem in any serious way,” he said.

Lord Krebs added that the research suggested that it would take 9-10 years to get a reduction of just 12-16% in TB cases which meant the majority of the problem would still be there.

Listen to the programme again.