Your editorial in last week’s Mid Sussex Times painted a very simplistic and one-sided picture of the devastating impact of bovine TB.
It was right to delay the start of the two pilot badger culls which have been licensed in Somerset and Gloucester.
The NFU advised the Government that the two companies could not complete the job properly before the closed season. However this should not detract from the sound scientific basis for reducing the population of badgers in TB hotspots in the South West.
There is broad scientific agreement that bovine TB spreads between cattle and badgers and vice versa.
Bovine TB dropped to very low levels in 1960s and 70s but following increased badger protection in the 1980s, both the badger population and bovine TB have escalated.
Currently we have a one-sided policy and we are not winning the battle. Some 26,000 cattle are prematurely slaughtered each year.
Over the next ten years the cost to the taxpayers is forecast to be £1billion plus a heavy financial and emotional burden to affected farmers.
Unfortunately cattle vaccination is not yet available and even if it is in future, its limited protection means that it is unlikely to be the whole solution to the problem of bovine TB.
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