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new findings on badgers and cattle

As the government prepares to announce the widespread rollout of badger culling, intended to protect cattle from bovine tuberculosis (TB), new research, carried out by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Imperial College London and published in Ecology Letters, has looked into how often badgers and cattle meet.

Badgers clearly contribute to the cattle TB problem, but how the disease transmits between the two species has remained a mystery. Using cutting-edge technology to track large numbers of badgers and cattle simultaneously, the team looked into whether and how often badgers came close enough to cattle to transmit TB directly, and whether there may be other means of transmission through contamination of the environment.

Journalists came along to the SMC to discuss:

  • Do badgers meet cattle, and if not why are they blamed for transmitting TB?
  • Is it possible for TB to be transmitted through the environment?
  • Can these findings tell us anything about badger culling as a TB control tool?
  • What can farmers do to protect their cattle from TB in badgers?
  • Do these findings tell us anything about cattle-to-cattle transmission of TB?


Speakers will include:

Dr Sam Cartwright, Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London

Prof. Christl Donnelly, Professor of Statistical Epidemiology, Imperial College London.

Prof. Rosie Woodroffe, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London.

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