Illegal badger cull concerns

A report suggests that livestock farmers in Wales who illegally cull badger sets may be contributing to the spread of bovine TB. Researchers say around 10% of Wales' 14,000 livestock farmers had killed badgers in the 12 months preceding the study

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Illegal badger killing 'has potential to spread bovine TB'

Farmers in Wales who illegally cull badgers may be responsible for spreading Bovine TB.

That's according to a report published by the University of Bangor. It claims around one in ten of Wales' 14,000 livestock farmers had killed badgers in the twelve months leading up to the study.

The Welsh Government says badgers are protected animals, and the issue of illegally killing them is a matter for the police.

"You set a particular cull rate that you need to achieve for that to impact the disease and to decrease the rate of disease in an area" says Dr Paul Cross, from Bangor University.

"That's currently thought to be around 70% of all badgers. If you have an illegal killing rate going on the background that you're unaware of, you may have set the level of cull too high"

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Bangor University: 'Badger cull research must be considered'

The proportion of farmers estimated to have killed badgers should be considered by policymakers and in the wider debate.

Intensive badger culling is one approach being considered by policy makers, in an attempt to control the spread of tuberculosis in cattle. However, studies investigating the effects of badger culling on TB outbreaks in cattle have not factored in the prevalence of illegal badger killing, and its potential to spread disease.

– Dr Paul Cross, Bangor University

Welsh Government: 'Issue of illegally killing badgers is matter for police'

The Welsh Government is committed to eradicating Bovine TB, one of the biggest health problems facing cattle farmers in Wales.

There is no quick fix to tackling this disease. It demands a sustainable and long term approach and the application of a comprehensive range of measures including strict biosecurity , cattle testing and movement controls. Last year we vaccinated over 1,400 badgers against TB and will resume vaccination later this year.

"Badgers are protected animals in the UK and the issue of illegally killing them is therefore a matter for the police.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

Study: 10% of Wales' livestock farmers illegally cull badgers

A report suggests that livestock farmers in Wales who illegally cull badger sets may be contributing to the spread of bovine TB.

Researchers from Bangor University say around 10% of Wales' 14,000 livestock farmers had killed badgers in the 12 months preceding the study.

The data was gathered by talking to farmers at markets and livestock events in Wales last year. The report concludes that policymakers have to factor in illegal killing when tackling Bovine TB.

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