Government response

Myth bust: Observer and BBC report claims on badger culling

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Culling will only take place in the localised areas where it will make a difference.

The myth: The Observer and BBC have reported claims that Ministers have ignored scientists’ advice that a cull of badgers will have a marginal effect on bovine TB and that the cull could spread TB in cattle if farmers fail to oversee it effectively.

The truth: Natural England’s advice has been in the public domain for over six months. We took on board all comments received in response to the consultation on licensing and they contributed to the final policy. 

Culling will only take place in the localised areas where it will make a difference, the number of licences to cull badgers will be limited, the licence will specify the maximum number of badgers that can be controlled, and the number of animals controlled will be monitored to guard against local disappearance.

Nobody wants to cull badgers. But no country in the world where wildlife carries TB has eradicated this devastating disease, which forced the slaughter of 25,000 cattle in 2010 alone, without tackling it in wildlife too.