Beginning of the end for the badger cull

ZSL welcomes the UK Government’s response to The Godfray Review of its bovine tuberculosis (bTB) strategy. We are particularly pleased by plans to end the widespread culling of badgers, which ZSL has called for since the ill-informed policy was implemented in 2013.

The evidence shows that most cattle that acquire bTB are infected by other cattle, so the Government is correct to focus on developing cattle vaccination and improving cattle testing. However, bTB cannot be eradicated from cattle unless it is also eradicated from badgers. ZSL has consistently maintained that vaccinating badgers is the best way to achieve this.

Unlike culling, vaccination is likely to be able to eliminate bTB in badger populations and is more humane, cheaper and less environmentally damaging. The Government is, therefore, also correct in its plans to gradually phase out large-scale badger culling and replace it with badger vaccination.

The Government has laid out a sensible strategy to move from one approach to the other.

ZSL supports the Government’s proposals.

ZSL Podcast #25: Can badger vaccination help eradicate bovine TB?

Speaking before the Government’s response was announced, ZSL’s Professor Rosie Woodroffe talks through her research and explains why the evidence she’s gathered supports badger vaccination.

6 March 2020