The BVA is to “carefully consider” a study that casts doubt about the extent to which badgers cause bTB in cattle.

Researchers from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) used a mathematical model based on the movements of more than a million cattle and 50,000 badgers to reach their conclusions.

A study from the Queen Mary University of London has cast doubt about the extent to which badgers cause bTB in cattle. Image © kyslynskyy / fotolia.

They were able to quantify the relationship between the animals and used a big data approach to show the route of infection for cattle is from other cattle, rather than another species.

Reciprocally, badgers are mainly infected by other infected badgers. As such, the big data analysis shows a weak link between badgers and cattle for TB transmission.

As the largest simulation to date of the numbers of cattle and badgers infected with TB, the study casts serious doubts about the extent to which badgers cause bTB in cattle, the researchers said.

Research welcomed

The BVA supports the policy of culling trapped badgers, though it does not endorse the killing of free ranging badgers.

BVA junior vice-president John Fishwick said: “We welcome new research and will take the time to carefully consider this study and its findings alongside other evidence. Any findings from this or other studies that may change our policies are subject to our usual processes and any subsequent change in our policies is reported in due course.”

Modelling exercise

The modelling exercise employed followed more than a million cattle and 50,000 badgers over different scenarios to understand how the movement of one species affects the transmission of bTB in the other.

Aristides Moustakas, from QMUL’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences and who led the study, said: “If badgers are causing TB in cattle, we would see a similar pattern of infection in both species; however, our analysis reveals this isn’t the case and could have implications for a strategy to vaccinate badgers as an efficient control strategy, if policymakers were to pursue this option.”

  • Read the full story in the 17 October issue of Veterinary Times.
View your activity >

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of


Jobs from vet times jobs

Veterinary Opportunities in the UKJ69155

United Kingdom | Competitive Salary Plus More | Prospect Health

Prospect Health is one of the country's leading Veterinary Recruitment Consultancies, with over 200 veterinary jobs on our books at any one time. I...

view details End Date: 23/03/17

Area Sales Manager Ruminant - Ireland - 2110921109

Dublin, Leinster (IE) | Excellent Salary | Noble Futures

A position has come up with a leader in the world of animal health. We are looking for a candidate who is passionate about livestock.

view details End Date: 21/03/17

Veterinary Surgeon - Otley, West YorkshireVT47.0821

Otley, West Yorkshire | Salary Dependent on Experience | Cross Green Veterinary Centre

Assistant vet required due to the travelling bug striking again.

view details End Date: 15/03/17

LA Vet - South Devon Farm & Equine - DevonLA - LA Vet - South Devon Farm & Equine

Devon | Competitive salary and benefits package | MiFarmVets

The large and equine work from three mixed practices has been merged together. Colleagues less experienced are very well supported.

view details End Date: 09/03/17

Ruminant Technical & Marketing Manager - Nationwide - 2106621066

Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol | Excellent Salary | Noble Futures

Our client, a leading Animal Health Company is recruiting a Veterinary Surgeon for a Technical Services and Marketing role.

view details End Date: 09/03/17
view more jobs

related content

Scientists in China say they have successfully engineered genetically modified cows that show an increased resistance to TB.

4 mins

Scientists studying the Komodo dragon believe they have discovered an important lead with the potential to develop drugs to combat antimicrobial resistance.

3 mins

A charity that provides free vet care to pets of homeless and vulnerably housed people is racing against time to find funds to remain operational.

3 mins

VetEd's 2017 edition – to take place in July at the University of Liverpool – aims to provide vets and VNs the chance to explore how education could be used to support the future of the professions.

4 mins

Members of the RVC Zoological Society have swooped to the rescue of oft-malign vultures by supporting a charity dedicated to their conservation and protection.

3 mins

Mick Millar details his experience of examining a dead adult female African elephant.

13 mins