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Badger cull backfires and may actually accelerate spread of TB

SCIENTISTS have said Britain’s controversial badger cull may have backfired and could potentially accelerate the spread of tuberculosis in cattle. 

A new study by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Imperial College London warns that the cull could cause surviving badgers to flee and roam 61 per cent more land each month.

Their study, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, detected the shift in “ranging behaviour” almost as soon the cull began in 2011.

Professor Rosie Woodroffe, at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology, said: “The effects of increases in ranging behaviour could create a source of infection for several months — long after the individual badger has been culled.

“In contrast, studies have shown that vaccination prompts no changes in badgers’ ranging behaviour.”

A Badger Trust spokesman said “The government should halt the culling of badgers and move to a national badger vaccination strategy.”

A Defra spokesman said: “There is no single measure that will provide an easy answer to beating the disease and we are pursuing a range of interventions to eradicate it.”

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