The Problem of Badger Control in Great Britain Essay

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Since 1973, controlling badgers in Great Britain has been a political problem. Badgers are one of the most well known animals in Britain; hence the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 was designed to protect them (Natural England). However, tuberculosis was discovered in badgers as a result of Mycobacterium bovis (Muirhead et al., 1974). Till this day, some argue that badgers are a significant source of infection for cattle, which raises a concern for the society (Krebs, 1997). Therefore, it raises the issue of whether trials to test the efficacy of badger culling in control of bovine tuberculosis should be permitted.

Mycobacterium bovis not only causes bovine tuberculosis in badgers but also infects cattle and deer. …show more content…

The culling of badgers disrupts the structure of their social group, which leads to a widespread of tuberculosis as they move further away to establish new groups (Briggs, 2012). As a result, there is an increase in incidence outside areas where badgers were not culled. Consequently, people are relying on vaccinations and even the government in Devon is providing funds to farmers who are in areas of high risk (Jones, 2013). The vaccination project in Gloucestershire has been “very successful” and in one year it has already immunised 998 badgers. Additionally, improving biosecurity could decrease transmission by preventing badgers from entering farms and coming into contact with cattle (Briggs, 2012).

Even though vaccinations are expensive and require a lot of effort, rather than immunising badgers, cattle would relatively cost less and still be successful in controlling bovine tuberculosis (Jones, 2013). However, at the moment the legislation of the European Union bans the vaccination of cattle because checking for infection in the animals would become challenging (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs). Farmers need a solution to the problem immediately and they cannot wait for ten years to abolish the ban as incidents in cattle herds are rising increasingly over the past few years (Briggs, 2012). Thus, culling badgers is the most effective method at present when considering

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