DEFRA: Controlling the spread of bovine tuberculosis in cattle by badger culling

04 April 2006

The Royal Society recently responded to Defra's consultation on controlling the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) by badger culling. Our response recognised that, despite the best efforts of the scientific community and Defra, the scientific evidence base relating to the spread of bTB is limited; an issue which needs to be acknowledged in deciding how to respond to this crisis.

The response also states that the Society believes there is clear scientific support for measures to reduce cattle to cattle transmission of the disease, decrease badger to cattle contact and improve diagnostics. However the case for badger culling is much less clear cut and the response highlights that the scientific evidence base is insufficiently detailed to provide precise guidance on different possible culling regimes.