Fresh evidence on badgers and TB prompts calls for action

Bill Harper, National Beef Association south-west representative and beef farmer

“For the first time there is no doubt that it is in the interests of badgers and cattle to maintain a sensible population of badgers.

“We were restricted for five years and have been clear for the past two since 45 badgers were removed in the Randomised Badger Culling Trial.

“Unfortunately we have seen evidence that badgers are starting to move back. It”s just a matter of time before they return.”

Evan Thomas, dairy farmer and the Farmers Union of Wales spokesman on the TB Forum

“Politicians and badger groups need to wake up and face reality. The badger population needs urgently to be brought under control for the sake of the badgers themselves, cattle, cattle farmers and other wildlife.”

Graham Jones, cattle farmer from Pen-Y-Bryn, near Kerry in Powys

“I am not in favour of killing healthy badgers, but when there is an outbreak it seems pointless and unfair to just cull cows. In the end we lost 13 reactors, and it cost us a small fortune to feed calves we were prevented from selling over the year we were under restrictions.”

Tony Yewdall, dairy farmer from Bideford, Devon

“We’ve known that badgers are the root of the problem for some time. This is the conclusive evidence the government needs and it is now time for it to take action.

“Since being placed under movement restrictions in Nov 2003 we’ve lost 94 animals to the reactive test, with one slipping through which was picked up with the gamma-interferon test.

Our problem is the badgers – and we have a great many of them – are in the field next to my grazing fields.”

Pauline Kidner, Secret World Wildlife Rescue

“I believe the control of a wildlife vector will never be the answer and that protection should focus on cattle, especially the introduction of the gamma-interferon test.

“Research has already shown that badgers are not the only species involved in the spread of TB, and the proactive cull under the Krebs trial showed that culling badgers only furthers the spread of TB.”