BADGER culling does reduce TB in cattle, research has shown.

The NFU says that new peer-reviewed scientific evidence proves the effectiveness of badger culling in reducing the outbreaks of TB in cattle and demonstrates the success of the Government’s 25-year eradication strategy.

The research into the effectiveness of the badger cull in the original cull zones in Gloucestershire and Somerset showed a 66 per cent reduction in new TB breakdowns in cattle in Gloucestershire and a 37 per cent reduction in Somerset.

Oliver Cartwright, NFU spokesman for the West Midlands, said: “Three Counties farmers will be encouraged by the new findings, which show without doubt that the Government’s eradication strategy is working and that badger control is crucial to help eradicate this terrible disease.

“As we have said all along, the best scientific evidence available and the experience of other countries, shows that badger control, when coupled with other measures such as enhanced biosecurity and strengthened cattle movement controls, can have a significant impact - these new findings speak for themselves.

“We want to see healthy cattle, healthy wildlife and a healthy countryside.”

NFU vice president, Stuart Roberts, said the research was “definitive” showing the “phenomenal impact culling badgers has on reducing TB levels in cattle.”

“On such a strong scientific basis, it is absolutely vital that the Government’s strategy is continued in order to see reductions in all areas where TB is endemic," Mr Roberts said.

“When this strategy began, opponents to it cited estimates that wildlife control would only deliver reductions of 16 per cent in TB outbreaks in cattle, at best. It is clear from this peer-reviewed evidence that they were wrong.

“Last year, nearly 33,000 cattle were slaughtered in England because of this terrible disease and more than 3,600 farms that were previously clear were affected."