Pembrokeshire badger cull decision 'perverse'
22 February 2010 - BBC News
A planned badger cull to tackle the spread of TB in cattle has been called
"perverse" by an ex-senior scientific adviser to the UK government. Dr Chris
Cheeseman called on Welsh Assembly Government
(WAG) officials to reconsider the cull
of badgers in Pembrokeshire. The badger cull is expected to start in the spring as part of a package of measures. The
assembly government said studies indicated a cull of badgers could have an
impact on infection in cattle, but Dr Cheeseman said the decision "flies in the
face of the science" and could make bovine TB worse.
Dr Cheeseman, retired head of wildlife diseases research at the
Science Laboratory, told
BBC Radio Wales' Eye on Wales programme that evidence
indicated badgers would move out of the area and settle elsewhere, potentially
taking the infection with them. "I think the decision to cull flies in the face
of the science," he said. "They've got to take account of the fact that it will
raise the prevalence of TB in badgers, there will be a negative edge effect. The
benefits - if there are any - are likely to be rather small, and they won't be
able to tease out what the effects of culling are because they're including
culling with cattle control measures so you can't separate those scientifically
in the results. Altogether I think it's a perverse decision which, even at this
late stage, should be rethought."
The WAG is facing a legal challenge over the cull from the
Against the Cull, said it was also seeking legal advice with a view to a
possible challenge on the basis that the
WAG did not adequately
consult landowners about the cull.
Eye on Wales is broadcast on Monday, 22 February at 1832 GMT, BBC Radio
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