Donate today

Donate to Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust

Sign up for e-news





Common questions about badgers and bovine TB

Would Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust allow a badger cull on its nature reserves?

Is the Trust doing vaccinations in its own area, like other Wildlife Trusts are doing?

Why aren’t The Wildlife Trusts opposing the cull more vigorously?

Where is the research and evidence which says that it's the badgers that cause bovineTB?

Is bovineTB or TB in badgers infectious to other animals?

If The Wildlife Trusts support the killing of species such as ruddy ducks and American mink, why do they oppose the cull of badgers?

What is the current conservation status of the badger in the UK?

 

Would Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust allow a badger cull on its nature reserves?

No. Based on the evidence to date from previous culls, there would be no reason to cull badgers on nature reserves that we own and manage, in the event that bovine TB is identified in Hertfordshire or Middlesex.

Is the Trust doing vaccinations in its own area, like other Wildlife Trusts are doing?

As bovine TB has not yet been identified in Hertfordshire or Middlesex we are not currently carrying out a vaccination programme. We support the badger vaccination programmes being rolled out by other Trusts.

Why aren’t The Wildlife Trusts opposing the cull more vigorously?

Many Wildlife Trusts are farmers and land managers too, and as part of the local community we understand and sympathise with the farmers that have to deal with this terrible disease. We want to help develop a solution, but we are adamant that the proposed cull is not the right solution.

Where is the research and evidence which says that it's the badgers that cause bovine TB?

Tuberculosis is a highly infectious disease of the lungs. BovineTB is transmitted between animals (cattle to cattle, cattle to badger and badger to cattle) through saliva, urine and faecal excretions on grass and soil. The bacterium resists desiccation and can remain viable for long periods in moist and warm soil. In cattle faeces it will survive up to 8 weeks. (Andrews, 1992).

High rates of infection have been found in badgers (Proud and Davis, 1998) and the consensus of scientific opinion is that badgers are a significant source of TB in cattle (Clifton-Hadley et al., 1995; Denny and Wilesmith, 1999; Eves, 1999; Martin et al., 1997; Martin et al., 1998). However, there appears to be a relationship between the type of landscape (e.g. southwest England) and the risk posed by badgers (White et al., 1993).

Is bovine TB or TB in badgers infectious to other animals?

Yes. Information on the Defra website states: Bovine tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease of cattle. It is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis), which can also infect and cause TB in badgers, deer, goats, pigs, camelids (llamas and alpacas), dogs and cats, as well as many other mammals.

If The Wildlife Trusts support the killing of species such as ruddy ducks and American mink, why do they oppose the cull of badgers?

Controlling some non-native species can sometimes be necessary where they are proven to threaten the conservation status of native wildlife. The Wildlife Trusts only support the killing of wild animals when a strong scientific case has been made for the impacts and where it would be effective and humane.

What is the current conservation status of the badger in the UK?

Badgers are one of only a handful of large native mammals left in the UK. They are protected by national and international law and are an important part of the nation’s biodiversity. The badger population increased in the 1980s and 1990s following legislation to protect the species from persecution. The population is now thought to be stable at around 300,000 in the UK, although there are no up-to-date figures.

One of the strongholds for the species is the south west of England. Here badgers may have reached carrying capacity, but in other areas, populations are at much lower densities. Importantly, the UK has 25% of the global population of the Eurasian badger Meles meles. We therefore have an international responsibility to conserve the species, and that includes protecting the range of genetic variation within the UK population.

Back to campaign page