AQO 2407/17-22

Mr Christopher Stalford
Democratic Unionist Party
South Belfast

Tabled Date: 06/09/2021
Answered On Date: 15/09/2021
Priority Written: No

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to outline the scientific evidence informing the policy of culling badgers as a means of controlling Bovine Tuberculosis.

My Department has carried out an extensive review of a wide and extensive range of scientific evidence in order to inform the proposed bTB Eradication strategy, a key component of which addresses the role played by badgers in the maintenance and spread of bovine TB.
The 2018 Godfray Bovine TB Strategy Review concluded that the presence of infected badgers poses a threat to local cattle herds, and noted that this conclusion reflected the broad consensus amongst epidemiologists who have studied the disease.
My Department therefore accepts that some form of wildlife intervention is necessary to break the cycle of infection transmission between the species. The key arguments and conclusions reached following consideration of this evidence are laid out in the consultation document and referenced in footnotes.
A list of 31 of the scientific references sources considered by the Department in developing its wildlife intervention proposals is attached at Annex A.