A new article for BBC Wildlife Magazine by James Fair takes a look at newly published peer reviewed research that concludes that the badger cull isn’t working. It’s worth a read because it puts the new analysis into the context of the historical background of bTB and the previous analyses of the results of badger culling.
It is of note that the conclusions of the Independent Scientific Group (ISG) in 2007 are mirrored by the conclusions of the latest study;
ISG: “After careful consideration of all the RBCT and other data, including an economic assessment, we conclude that badger culling cannot meaningfully contribute to the future control of cattle TB in Britain,”
Langton, Jones and McGill 2022: “This examination of government data obtained over a wide area and a long time period failed to identify a meaningful effect of badger culling on bTB in English cattle herds.”
Despite this confirmation of the expected & predictable results of nine years of badger culling, Defra (Chief Vet & Chief Scientific Adviser) have kicked back strongly with accusations of partiality on the part of the authors. This is somewhat ironic as (nearly) all published English bovine TB science to-date has been published by Defra or their funded contractors. Commentary on the paper via the Science Media Centre was supplied by two recipients of Defra contracts who are or have been heavily engaged in bTB policy.
The paper’s authors are still waiting for a reply to their request for an explanation of how Defra manipulated data in their un-peer reviewed rebuttal analysis letter, published in Vet Record, which claims to show culling does reduce bTB in cattle.
You can read James Fair’s article here, and Langton, Jones and McGill (2022) here.