ZSL presents science behind controversial badger culling policy
Monday 23 January 2006
The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is convening specialists for a debate into the scientific issues surrounding badger culling.
The debate taking place on Tuesday 24th Janurary, in response to Defra’s announcement on measures to tackle bovine TB (bTB) in England, will also contribute to the ongoing public consultation on the contentious topic.
The link between badgers and bTB in cattle has long been the subject of dispute; ZSL is hosting this debate to present the scientific studies into the relationship between badgers and bTB and expand on how these studies underpin subjects relevant to the public consultation, specifically, the effectiveness of badger culling in bTB hotspots.
Professor Georgina Mace, Director of Science at the ZSL’s Institute of Zoology said “There are some difficult choices to be made affecting both cattle and badgers. There are strongly held views relating both to wildlife management and the farming industry. We believe that decisions need to be guided by good information, sound science and informed debate, and hope that the speakers at our meeting will contribute to this process”
A trial to assess the impact of badger culling was first proposed in 1997 following a report into badgers and bovine TB suggesting that in Britain, badgers are a significant source of infection in cattle. This, and recent research results from the ongoing Randomised Badger Culling Trial (due to finish in early 2006) has focused the debate. Given the significance for badgers and cattle in the UK the Government is committed to involve the wider public in the decision making process.
The outcome of the ZSL debate will be submitted to the Defra consultation which closes on the 10th March 2006