Badger culls are crazy (says scientist who recommended them)
Charlie Cooper is Health Correspondent for The Independent, i, and The Independent on Sunday, writing on the NHS, medical advances, and international health. Since joining the papers as an editorial assistant, he has been nominated for young journalist of the year at both the Press Awards and the British Journalism Awards.
Tuesday 18 September 2012
A renowned scientist whose work has been cited by the Government to justify its plan to cull badgers has called the scheme "crazy".
The intervention from Lord Krebs, who led a nine-year study into the effect of badger culling on rates of tuberculosis in cattle, came as the Environment Minister, Owen Paterson, said he wanted to see the scheme rolled out beyond two pilot areas.
The first licence to shoot badgers was granted by Natural England to a consortium of landowners in Gloucestershire yesterday. It permits the shooting of up to 70 per cent of badgers in the area.
The figure is based on Lord Krebs' study, which found that killing 70 per cent of badgers in a large area produced a 16 per cent drop in TB in cattle. Killing any fewer could actually increase infection rates, the study found.
Speaking to the BBC yesterday, Lord Krebs said that the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' (Defra) plan was misguided because they could have no way of knowing the badger population in the trial areas.
"I would go down the vaccination and biosecurity route rather than this crazy scheme that may deliver very small advantage," he said.
The trial culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset will be monitored with a view to extending the scheme to other parts of England. In Wales, the government has begun a scheme of badger vaccination instead of culling.
Mr Paterson yesterday said he "very much hoped" there would be a full-scale cull in England. He has cited schemes in the US and Europe where culling of other species worked. "We would love to have a vaccine. We haven't got one so for the time being we have to use the measures that have worked in other countries," he said.
Cattle vaccination was rejected because any vaccine would carry a trace of the TB virus.
Almost every seabird 'will have eaten plastic by 2050' because of ocean pollution
Energy companies more reliant on 'dirty' coal to produce electricity than they were a decade ago
Pope Francis calls for a new system of global government to tackle climate change
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Big Six energy companies have 'quietly abandoned their green electricity tariffs'
- 1 Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...