Monday, January 05, 2004

Parliamentary Questions

5 Jan 2004: Column 91W

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effect of the reactive cull component of the Government's randomised badger culling trials on the incidence of TB in dairy cattle. [144403]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB carried out an interim analysis of the Randomised Badger Culling Trial data collected up to the end of August 2003. The analysis indicated that there is an increased risk of TB breakdowns occurring in trial areas where reactive culling has taken place, compared to the related control (survey-only) areas. The increase is estimated at 27 per cent.

This conclusion is statistically valid and has been reached after taking into account factors other than culling (e.g. history of breakdowns in the area, number of herds, herd size etc.) which may have an impact on the number of breakdowns in a particular area. This outcome is consistent across nine of the 10 triplets; there has not been any reactive culling in the 10th reactive trial area.

On the basis of these findings, ministers have decided to suspend culling in reactive trial areas, because the evidence suggests that such culling leads to more cases of TB in cattle.

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