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Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL11426, tabled on 12 November 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government what evidence they have that the badger cull in Somerset and Gloucestershire has been effective.

Answered on

23 November 2018

In September of this year, the Animal and Plant Health Agency published data showing there has been a drop in cattle TB incidence in the first two cull areas, where the number of new confirmed breakdowns has dropped by around 50%. In the Gloucestershire cull area, the incidence of TB has dropped from 10.4% before culling began to 5.6% in the twelve months following the fourth year of culling. In the Somerset cull area, it has dropped from 24% to 12%.

Using the TB incidence measure for this purpose is in line with the reporting of the Randomised Badger Culling Trial and National Statistics. It is the best way to monitor the impact of badger control in these areas. These data provide an encouraging sign that the steps we are taking to control the disease are having a positive impact, and are consistent with the effects seen during the Randomised Badger Culling Trial. Further analysis of the data is underway and will be submitted to a scientific journal for publication in due course.