Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Irish selective badger cull risks spreading bovine TB, scientists warn

Date:
June 9, 2014
Source:
Zoological Society of London
Summary:
A new bovine TB control strategy to be piloted in Northern Ireland risks spreading the disease rather than supressing it, scientists warn. Researchers predict that culling badgers that test positive for TB could increase the movement of remaining badgers, potentially infecting more cattle with the disease.

A badger.
Credit: Image courtesy of Zoological Society of London

A new bovine TB control strategy to be piloted in Northern Ireland risks spreading the disease rather than supressing it, scientists warn.

Researchers from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Imperial College London and the University of Sheffield predict that culling badgers which test positive for TB could increase the movement of remaining badgers, potentially infecting more cattle with the disease.

Published in the journal PNAS, their paper shows that small-scale, selective culling may have the same effect on badger behaviour as the Randomised Badger Culling Trial, where the removal of large numbers of animals led to expanded badger ranging.

The Test-Vaccinate/Remove (TVR) pilot will carry out live TB tests on badgers, aiming to vaccinate healthy animals and cull infected ones. However, the test does have its limitations. In a previous study, only 49 per cent of badgers later shown to be infected tested positive in the live test. This means many badgers carrying TB could be missed.

To predict the impact of the TVR pilot on the remaining badgers, the researchers analysed badger movement in 826 territories where small-scale culling took place between 1986 and 1998.

Their results show that removing a small number of badgers from a social group led to increased dispersal and expanded ranging of remaining badgers, more frequent immigration of badgers from outside the group, lower genetic relatedness of individuals within a group, and an elevated prevalence of the bacterium that causes bovine TB.

Prof. Rosie Woodroffe, Senior Research Fellow at ZSL said: "TVR sounds appealing because only infected badgers are killed. Unfortunately our findings suggest that the planned TVR pilot could alter badger behaviour in ways which risk exacerbating the bovine TB problem, rather than controlling it. This is one reason why ZSL is exploring alternative options to reduce transmission between badgers and cattle."

The researchers recommend that if the TVR pilot goes ahead, then intensive monitoring of badger behaviour should be put in place, and stopping rules enforced if significant changes are observed.

Dr Jon Bielby, Research Fellow at ZSL said: "Our research is the first to look at the effects of removing small numbers of badgers from social groups. The results reinforce the need to fully understand the consequences of methods to control the spread of bovine TB before we embark on them. Otherwise we risk complicating what is already a very complex issue."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Zoological Society of London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Bielby, C. A. Donnelly, L. C. Pope, T. Burke, R. Woodroffe. Badger responses to small-scale culling may compromise targeted control of bovine tuberculosis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1401503111

Cite This Page:

Zoological Society of London. "New Irish selective badger cull risks spreading bovine TB, scientists warn." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140609153431.htm>.
Zoological Society of London. (2014, June 9). New Irish selective badger cull risks spreading bovine TB, scientists warn. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140609153431.htm
Zoological Society of London. "New Irish selective badger cull risks spreading bovine TB, scientists warn." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140609153431.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins