Is it right to cull?

A few weeks ago, around the time the British Government announced proposals that would approve the culling of badgers in certain areas of the UK in an attempt to curb and limit incidents of Bovine TB, I saw this badger as it headed for the woods.
The issue of Bovine TB is a complex one, costing an estimated £90 million in the UK in 2010, which throws up many questions and dilemmas. The major trial conducted several years ago suggested that if a cull took place on an area of 150km2,  bovine TB would be expected to reduce by 16% over nine years.
The impact of the disease is significant on farmers and the government’s proposals place strict controls on those affected if they wish to gain a licence to cull in a certain area.
It also seems that viable cattle and oral badger vaccination products are some way off, however it strikes me that the localised eradication of a species is an extreme reaction for such a statistically small percentage drop in incidence.
No doubt the financial argument holds up to scrutiny but does the moral one? Should our reaction to disease in our food chain put economics before wildlife – inhabitants of our environment that in most cases were here long before we were?

One Comment

  1. Interesting dilemma. I'd heard nothing about it, here on the other side of the pond. We do have badgers in North America, though I've never seen one.

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