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Bovine Tuberculosis

Volume 703: debated on Friday 18 July 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Statement by Lord Rooker on 7 July (Official Report, cols. 568–70), how the Independent Scientific Group calculated the cost of a prolonged badger cull over an area of 250 to 350 square kilometres; and what was the total at which it arrived. [HL4862]

The Independent Scientific Group (ISG) derived costs for a culling programme carried over a 100km2 area for five years from a cost-benefit analysis study carried out by Defra in 2005, which is available on the Defra website. These are presented in the ISG final report as follows:

Culling method

Annual cost of culling per km2

Total culling cost (75km2) for five years*

Cage trapping


£1,425 000







Farmer licensing



* Assumes 75 per cent access to overall land area.

Cost estimates for cage trapping, gassing and snaring are based on culling operations being undertaken by skilled and specialist field staff, as carried out in the RBCT. The cost estimate is based on farmers undertaking the culling operations themselves under licence. The ISG acknowledges that these costs are only estimates and do not take into account additional costs which would be associated with the implementation of a badger-culling control policy, such as the need for security and police involvement.

The report does not explicitly state the calculated costs for a prolonged badger cull over an area of 250km2 to 350km2, but based on the above estimates and, once again, assuming 75 per cent access to overall land area, a government-led cull using cage trapping over an area of 350km2 for five years would cost an estimated £4,987,500. The ISG’s final report is available on the Defra website.