Bovine TB expert slams futility of badger cull

The scientist who devised the randomised badger culling trial has claimed a badger cull would do little to stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis in cattle.

Professor John Krebs, now Lord Krebs, said that culling was not “an effective policy”.

“If you cull intensively for at least four years, you will have a net benefit of reducing TB in cattle of 12% to 16%,” he said.

“So you leave 85% of the problem still there, and having gone to a huge amount of trouble to kill a huge number of badgers, it just doesn’t seem to me to be an effective way of dealing with the disease.”.

Lord Krebs said a better option would be to try to develop a vaccine in the long term, and in the short term to use better “biosecurity” measures to prevent cattle from coming into contact with badgers and other sources of the disease, and to prevent them passing it to each other.

“To me the story is pretty straightforward.” he said. “If you’ve got a measure that affects 15% of the problem, then you don’t focus on that. You focus on something else.”

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