Animal Aid

BADGERS - Still scapegoated for TB

Posted 1 March 2003

At the close of 1998, the Government began a badger 'research programme' that will ultimately result in the trapping and destruction of up to 20,000 animals.

The killing of these animals - supposedly a protected species - is happening because farmers blame badgers for the escalating incidence of tuberculosis in their beef and dairy herds. Now comes clear testimony from a dairy farmer, no less - published in trade bible, Farmers' Weekly (Nov 8 2002) - that the badger slaughter programme is viciously fraudulent.

Writes Stuart Pattison of Calstock, Cornwall:

"Those of us involved in dairy farming in the south-west have noticed over the past decades that dairy cows spend longer periods all year round cooped up in dark buildings which are often overcrowded and poorly ventilated, often dripping with condensation. Those are ideal conditions for the spread of TB aerosols. It would be unsurprising if this dark, crowded and ill-ventilated environment, affecting larger herds managed by fewer staff, combined with the physiological stress to highly bred cows being pushed for maximum yields, were major factors in the increase of TB in dairy herds."

The author's thesis is supported by government data. During the past 25 years, the MAFF/DEFRA has killed more than 30,000 badgers in an effort to halt bovine TB outbreaks. In fact, TB in cattle has been increasing since 1986, including in areas where badgers have been eliminated, or where they have been shown to be free of the disease.

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