Science: The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
Our bovine TB and vaccination pages are filled with information of varying degrees of complexity.
Science seeks to provide information and levels of understanding. Nothing can ever be absolutely proven but rigorous science does provide levels of certainty and error.
Bovine TB is a very confusing subject and the levels of certainty for some aspects are not high. The Randomised Badger Culling Trials (RBCT) is perhaps the most confusing of all. Proponents of culling will stress that the RBCT showed significant benefits from falling bovine TB levels in cattle whilst its opponents (including the Independent Scientific Group which analysed the RBCT data) do not.
In England the badger vaccination licensing body is Natural England.
The 'perturbation effect'
A key finding of the RBCT's was the discovery of the 'perturbation' effect. Widespread culling, over areas of 100km2, did achieve a modest overall reduction in cattle TB, but increased incidence on adjoining lands which were not culled. The reason was that culling caused badgers to move around more widely, transmitting more infection to one another and to cattle 1,2,3.
This change in badgers’ behaviour, known as ‘perturbation’ is likely to undermine the benefits of any form of culling.
|Defra TB Policy Update.pdf||1.05 MB|
|HoC Research Note December 2011.pdf||166.89 KB|
|Culling-induced changes in Badger Behaviour and epidemiology of Bovine TB.pdf||279.15 KB|