Since it began in 2013, the Badger cull in England has been highly controversial. But has the cull been effective in reducing bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle? What have we learned about the role of Badgers in the spread of bTB? And what does the future look like for Badgers, cattle and bTB? Patrick Barkham addresses these questions, and discusses improved testing for bTB in cattle and Badger vaccination as an alternative to culling.
We are all amateur epidemiologists now. When a deadly disease jumps between species and sweeps across the country, we know how to tackle it: ‘lock down’ to stop the diseased animal moving and spreading the virus, develop a vaccine and deliver it with an effective vaccination programme. Facing the challenge of COVID-19, the government stumbled to a solution in just over a year.