Alick Simmons responds

16 May 2020

Simmons, A.

Vet Record Image

I was pleased to see the response from Trevor Jones to the article about the killing of badgers to control bovine TB (bTB) (VR, 21 March 2020, vol 186, pp 357-358). The subject deserves vigorous debate.

The badger cull is solely a disease control measure

My original article considered the ethics of killing wildlife to control livestock disease. Jones seeks to add conservation to the debate. The badger cull is solely a disease control measure and the two issues should not be conflated.

There is no evidence that badgers affect the breeding success of ground nesting birds. Meta-analysis from 2005 concluded that the national impact of badgers on bird populations is likely to be low in the UK.1 However, Jones is correct when he states that badgers predate hedgehogs, although the extent to which the increased badger population has contributed to the decline in hedgehog populations,...