Letter: Cruel to be kind
Monday 15 February 1999
Culling to the point of extermination by repeated gassing, as at Steeple Leaze and Thornbury, worked insofar as there has been no further TB in cattle or recolonising badgers there. Furthermore, under the "clean ring" strategy of 1982-5, the number of TB breakdowns in cattle fell to an all- time low of 53 in 1985.
After that year, the less intensive "interim" strategy was used, a practice in which badgers were trapped only on the land grazed by the infected cattle. The proportion of infected badgers thus caught probably never approached 100 per cent and from MAFF data one can estimate that it was usually less than 50 per cent.
Not a very effective strategy therefore, but it may have had some effect since the biggest recent increases in tuberculous infection have been in areas where no badgers had ever been culled. These areas - the Exe Valley, Hereford and Worcester, central Wiltshire, Monmouthshire and Shropshire - include those where the national badger surveys have shown the biggest increases in badger populations. The farmers' call for some control over badger numbers seems justified.
Arts & Ents blogs
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Best films on Netflix: 32 movies that will put an end to your scrolling
- 3 Istanbul protesters take 'Ellen selfie' from the back of a police van
- 4 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Jet ‘hijacking’ began soon after take-off
- 5 Lady Gaga has struggled with eating disorders in the past, so it's indefensible that she's glamourising bulimia in her SXSW set