Research published this week could help resolve the thirty-year UK controversy over the role of European badgers Meles meles in the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB). One paper, published in Nature, provides strong evidence that culling badgers -- which can carry the agent that causes bovine TB -- actually exacerbates the problem by raising the incidence of TB in cattle living nearby. The results help to clarify contradictory results on whether culling badgers can control bovine TB, but the Department for Environmental Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced today that they are opening the possibility of large-scale cull to public opinion.

"We found that a single culling policy -- that of widespread and repeated culling of badgers -- yielded both a reduction of 19% in TB incidence in cattle within the culled area and an increase of 29% in TB incidence in cattle in the surrounding area," Christl...

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