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Badger cull will not solve cattle TB, university says

A widespread badger cull will not solve the problem of tuberculosis in cattle, according to new research by Durham University.

But the study says that it may play a part in controlling infection levels in problem hotspots in the UK. It has been claimed that controlling badger numbers would reduce the spread of TB in cattle and a cull is due to begin this summer. But Professor Peter Atkins, from Durham University’s Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience, has investigated the spread of bovine tuberculosis  in new research and believes this is too simplistic.

Prof Atkins said: “Badgers almost certainly play a part in spreading the disease, but my conclusion is that their impact over the decades has been far less than suggested. Very carefully arranged culling may have a part to play alongside other measures in areas of particular prevalence such as South West England and South Wales, but my research suggests that extending the policy elsewhere may neither be justified nor particularly effective.”


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