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the science behind badger culls

The culling of badgers has become a polarised and political debate.  We brought together a number of experts who, whilst not necessarily agreeing on the interpretation of the data, came to the SMC to discuss the evidence behind these important issues.

Topics covered:

  • Can the proposed culling actually have the desired impact?
  • Is bovine TB really that big an issue or are we looking at the wrong problem?
  • Do we know how many badgers there are – will we know if we cull the intended 70%?
  • What would happen if we didn’t cull? What other short and medium term options do we have?
  • What evidence is there that changes in farming practice would reduce the disease, or is it wishful thinking?
  • What is done in other countries? Does that work and, if so, why?



Prof Rowland Kao, Professor of Mathematical Population Biology, University of Glasgow and Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow

Neil Blake, Chair of the British Cattle Veterinary Association Tuberculosis Group, British Veterinary Association

Prof Robbie McDonald, Chair in Natural Environment, University of Exeter and former Head of Wildlife Science and Deputy Chief Scientist of the Food and Environment Research Agency

Prof Christl Donnelly, Professor of Statistical Epidemiology, MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling, Imperial College London

Prof John McInerney, Emeritus Professor of Agricultural Policy, University of Exeter


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