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Badgers

Volume 84: debated on Monday 21 October 1985

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if the review of the policy of destroying badgers in areas where they are thought to pose a threat to cattle has now been completed.

The review of policy is still in progress. I now expect that the review team will be in a position to report to us early in 1986.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if any of the cattle near Eastbourne that were monitored following the discovery of bovine tuberculosis in some badgers have also manifested the disease; how many cattle were studied; for how long; when the monitoring will cease; and what have been the conclusions.

Three cattle in the Eastbourne area of east Sussex reacted to the tuberculin test in 1984 and 28 during the period January to September 1985. These animals were from an area occupied by some 1,600 cattle which, from the beginning of this year, have been subject to six-monthly tuberculin tests because of the known presence of high levels of infection in badgers in the area. Other cattle in east Sussex are tuberculin tested at frequencies varying from one to three years. No date has been fixed for the ending of more frequent testing of the animals in the area near Eastbourne but the situation is being kept under review. The disclosure of reactors in the last two years has confirmed the risk posed to cattle by infected badgers. It is too early to draw conclusions from the results of the intensified cattle testing regime now in place.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the number of badgers killed in 1984 and so far in 1985 in order to deal with bovine tuberculosis; and in each case what was the location, the method of killing, and the method of capture.

The normal method of killing is by shooting with a pistol after capture. A full analysis, including methods of capture. is set out in the table.

*1985 (January to September)

Trapped

Snared

Shot in the open

Netted

Total

Stafford
Wiltshire51152
Total7221041737

*Provisional figures.

Note: The above figures exclude badgers found dead in areas in which official investigations were taking place.