Badger Helpline for South Yorkshire 07722590184

Bovine TB in Brief

British badgers are often blamed for spreading bovine TB. Here are some facts surrounding the issue.

Over 176,000 badgers have been killed at the time of writing.  

Around 30,000 cattle slaughtered annually for TB.

4x more for mastitis. (Caused by poor farm hygiene?)

1.5x more for lameness etc.

5x more for infertility.

Crebbs trial killed 30,000 badgers and found that culling coincided with a 19% reduction in TB in the cull zone but a 27% increase on surrounding farms. This is known as the perturbation effect - the dispersal due to disturbance.

14 million cattle movements occur per year. 200,000 animals disappear from paperwork.

Some farmers fiddle the system. For example, on farmer got a suspended sentence for a 3rd offence.

Others were in court for swapping identity tags and continuing to milk infected cows.

Most cattle shows are exempt from movement restriction.

90% of outbreaks are proven to be caused by cattle, not badgers.

Humans have 1 in 2,000,000 chance of catching bovine TB.

These are from the industry, or have drunk non-pasteurised milk years ago or when brought up in other countries.

86% of road kills from hot spot areas were clear of bTB.

89% of those killed in the Crebbs trial (in hot spot areas) were clear of bTB.


bTB can exist in moles, deer, foxes, alpacas, dogs, cats, rats etc.


Defra written instruction to farmers, “mix infected milk with slurry and spread it on the land.”


Culling started as a trial. It didn't work. They have contined for years and refuse to publish the results.


Skin test is notoriously unreliable. Diseased animals stay in the herd, healthy ones killed. 1 in 5 reactors missed.


Only the EU is stopping cattle vaccination. It is said that it will take 10 years for EU to accept Vaccination. This 10 year process still hasn't begun.

Defra admit that disease spreads to clean areas by cattle movement. (by respiratory excretions.)


Those against cull,

Most MPs, 30+ Tory MPs, 30+ eminent wildlife disease experts, 263,000 petitioners, RSPCA, Badger Trust, Wildlife Trust, Welsh Government, RSPB, Care for the Wild, David Attenborough, Chris Packham, Bill Oddie, Brian May, Simon King, Joanna Lumley, George Monbiot, Brian Blessed, Labour Party.

And last but not least, South Yorkshire Badger Group.


The Republic of Ireland Argument.

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Cattle Based Measures 

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The Republic of Ireland has been cruelly snaring and killing badgers for several years and this has coincided with a significant drop in bTB.

The argument seems convincing until a comparison is made with Northern Ireland, which has had a similar degree of success without killing a single badger.

Both countries have adopted strict rules on cattle movement and good husbandry which could explain the results irrespective of the badger cull

It is often said that no country has controlled TB without addressing wildlife.

But how about the UK?

Using cattle based measures alone, TB was brought down and held to a very low level up to 1990s,

Then the BSE crisis was followed by the foot and mouth epidemic.

Vets were too busy,TB testing was neglected and farms were re-stocked, often from TB hot spots.

The current rate of decline (before the recent culling trial) is even faster than in the 1960s.