U.S. expert criticizes U.K. badger killing

December 15, 2005

A University of California-Davis scientist is criticizing the British practice of killing wild badgers to prevent tuberculosis in cattle.

Rosie Woodroffe, an assistant professor of conservation biology, is the co-author of two reports released Wednesday in England that say the 30-year-old controversial practice can actually make matters worse.

The new reports summarize seven years of study for the British Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which was to comment on the findings Thursday in Parliament.

"In Britain, this is a huge controversy because TB genuinely affects farmers' livelihoods, but badgers are beloved by the public and protected by law," said Woodroffe. "Imagine our American bison/brucellosis issue and our wolf/livestock predation issue rolled into one," she said, noting North American badgers do not carry bovine tuberculosis.

But the scientists said whether culling was widespread or localized, it disrupted the badgers' territorial organization and made them travel more widely. On a geographical scale of up to 37 square miles, the negative effects of culling greatly outweighed the benefits, they said.

The reports appear online in the British journal Nature and the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Scientists build a clearer picture of the spread of bovine tuberculosis

Related Stories

Parody blooms on Twitter

April 1, 2011

Twitter is becoming the place for parody with a cast of characters that includes an elusive cobra, a tipsy Queen of England, a profanity-spewing US politician and a maladroit BP spokesman.

Recommended for you

The sound of music, according to physicists

July 30, 2015

Joshua Bodon is sick of hearing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." More specifically, he's sick of hearing one 25-second clip of the song repeated more than 550 times.

Unusual red arcs spotted on icy Saturn moon Tethys

July 30, 2015

Like graffiti sprayed by an unknown artist, unexplained arc-shaped, reddish streaks are visible on the surface of Saturn's icy moon Tethys in new, enhanced-color images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

Power grid forecasting tool reduces costly errors

July 30, 2015

Accurately forecasting future electricity needs is tricky, with sudden weather changes and other variables impacting projections minute by minute. Errors can have grave repercussions, from blackouts to high market costs. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.