‘Badger culling delivers reductions in bovine TB of up to 66%’ – NFU

National Farmers’ Union (NFU) deputy president Stuart Roberts has written to The Times in relation to a column written by wildlife filmmaker Steve Backshall criticising the badger cull.

In the letter, Roberts points out what he believes to be a number of inaccuracies in the piece, and drew attention to evidence that badger culling delivers reductions in bovine TB of up to 66%.

The letter reads as follows:

“A letter is barely sufficient to correct all of the inaccuracies in Steve Backshall’s Thunderer column. Where do I begin?”

According to Roberts, contrary to what he wrote, the facts are that:
  • Peer-reviewed evidence shows that badger culling is working, delivering reductions in bovine TB of up to 66%;
  • Over 60% of new TB incidents in ‘High Risk Areas’ are attributed to badgers;
  • Peer-reviewed research shows no evidence that infected badgers move out of cull zones and infect badgers elsewhere;
  • There is no peer-reviewed evidence that shows badger vaccination delivering reductions in TB breakdowns in cattle.

“It is a shame that this column was so inaccurate and misleading on an issue which continues to devastate farming families up and down the country, causing them huge strain mentally, emotionally and financially.

“We welcome debate but please, stick to the facts,” Roberts concluded.

Clarity needed on future agri-environment management schemes

In other news, NFU Scotland has stated that it has written to the Scottish government to request clarity on future agri-environment management schemes in order to secure the confidence of Scottish farmers and crofters.

The NFU wants farmers to continue to deliver on biodiversity and climate change outcomes whilst producing high-quality, sustainable food.

Also Read: NFU requests clarity on future agri-environment management schemes

NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said:

Whilst pilots are underway for the 2021 to 2024 period, it is regrettable that during this interim period there is no clear commitment to allow and encourage farmers and crofters to undertake and deliver on a wide range of environmental benefits and public goods.

“With over 3,000 farms crofts and estates enrolled in the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme, it has a strong buy-in from the industry and is one of the most effective mechanisms to ensure that farmers, crofters and land managers are incentivised and rewarded for delivering on environmental issues.”