Bovine TB

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 19th December 2005.

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Photo of Anthony Steen Anthony Steen Conservative, Totnes

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many badgers have been identified as infected with tuberculosis following the implementation of testing of badgers involved in road traffic accidents; and if she will remove the protected status of badgers in infected areas.

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare)

From the beginning of 2002 until the end of 2004, 1,876 badgers were cultured for bovine TB as part of the seven counties road traffic accident survey. 324 badgers were found to be positive.

Protected status does not prohibit the culling of badgers in appropriate circumstances, so its removal is not a consideration at this time.

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Oliver Tringham
Posted on 22 Dec 2005 1:58 pm (Report this annotation)

It looks like an interesting reply. Assuming badgers with TB are not more likely to be run over by cars – which is not an altogether improbable hypothesis (ill creatures are less likely to escape our chariots than healthy ones) – less than 20% of badgers are infected. To me, this does not sound like a compelling argument for murdering ("culling") our badger friends...