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General Conclusions

1. On the basis of our careful review of all currently available evidence, we conclude

that badger culling is unlikely to contribute positively, or cost effectively, to the control of

cattle TB in Britain (10.48 and 10.92).

2. We  conclude that there is substantial scope for improvement of control of the

disease through the application of heightened control measures directly targeting cattle.

Therefore, we recommend that priority should be given to developing policies based on

more rigorous application of control measures to cattle, in the absence of badger culling

(10.57 and 10.93).

Options involving badger management

3. It  is  highly unlikely that reactive culling – as practised in the RBCT – could

contribute other than negatively to future TB control strategies (10.3 – 10.4).

4. Proactive culling – as practised in the RBCT – is unlikely to contribute effectively

to the future control of cattle TB (10.5 – 10.7).

Adaptations of proactive culling

5. Improvements in culling efficiency are unlikely to generate benefits substantially

greater than those recorded in the RBCT (10.10 – 10.14).

6. Different configurations of culling operation, alternative to that used in the RBCT,

would confer no advantage and could lead to further detrimental effects (10.15).

7. Culling over larger areas would be unlikely to develop net benefits in economic

terms (10.16 – 10.18).

8. Areas with boundaries impermeable to badgers could contribute to TB control only

on a local scale, as few areas exist with appropriate natural boundaries (10.19 – 10.21).

9. Culling in areas adjoining land with low or zero TB risk is likely to achieve no

greater overall benefits than the RBCT (10.22 – 10.23).

10. Preventing re-colonisation by destroying setts is likely to involve high costs and the

potential benefits appear small (10.24).

Adaptations of reactive culling

11. Improving culling efficiency is very unlikely to generate overall beneficial effects

from localised culling (10.25 – 10.26).

12. Reactive culling over larger areas is unlikely to generate overall benefits for the

control of cattle TB (10.27).

13. Repeated reactive culling is likely to increase, rather than decrease, the detrimental

effect associated with localised culling (10.28).

14. Reactive culling conducted more rapidly after detection of infection in cattle offers

little promise of an effective control strategy for cattle TB (10.29 – 10.31).24

Culling badgers under licence

15. Culling badgers under licence not only could fail to achieve a beneficial effect,

but could increase the incidence of cattle TB and increase the geographical spread of the

disease, irrespective of whether licences were issued to individual farmers or to groups

(10.33 – 10.36).

Other approaches to badger culling

16. Culling in response to detection of infection in road-killed badgers may not target

areas of high cattle TB risk and is likely to generate the detrimental effect of reactive

culling (10.38).

17. Selective culling of infected badgers is very unlikely to reduce the prevalence of M.

bovis infection in badgers substantially and might increase overall infection rates (10.39

– 10.42).

18. Culling of ‘hospital setts’ is a highly speculative approach appearing to have little

or nothing to contribute to future control strategies (10.43).

19. Badger culling combined with vaccination is likely to reduce any advantage gained

by vaccination (10.44).

Approaches to badger management other than culling

20. Separating  cattle  and badgers by badger-proof fencing might occasionally be

appropriate for some farms. More generally, common sense measures could be applied in

some circumstances to keep badgers out of buildings and feed stores. We recommend that

research effort into ways of keeping badgers and cattle apart be continued (10.49 – 10.56).

Options based on cattle controls

Control of cattle movement

21. More rigorous control measures aimed at preventing spread of infection by cattle

movement are necessary. Pre-movement testing protocols involving the parallel use of the

tuberculin skin test and the IFN test should be used. Isolation of purchased animals prior

to introduction into the herd and re-testing (post-movement testing), by combined use of

the tuberculin skin test and the IFN test, would also be desirable in some situations. These

measures could be reinforced by categorising herds or regions of the country as high or low

risk and preventing cattle movement from high to low risk farms/regions (10.64).

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