POST Online Media Lite Edition


Cows twice as likely to contract Bovine Tuberculosis from other cattle than from badgers

Christian Fernsby |
Farmers have insisted that culling is here to stay as a new study indicates cows are twice as likely get Bovine Tuberculosis by other cattle than badgers.

Article continues below


The research by the University of Edinburgh over a 30 year looked at the spread of Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) within cows and badger populations in Gloucestershire.

Scientists found that although cows are ten times more likely to be infected with TB by badgers than they are to pass the disease to badgers, cattle are twice as likely to be infected by their own species than they are by the black and white creatures.

This has prompted academics to claim that farmers must priorities controlling transmission of TB between cattle in order to tackle the disease which results in the tens of thousands of cattle being killed a year.

Prof Lord John Krebs, Emeritus Professor of Zoology, University of Oxford, said: “This valuable study uses genomic information to work out the pathways of transmission of TB in Woodchester Park in Gloucestershire.

“The genetic data demonstrate conclusively that TB is transmitted both from badgers to cattle and from cattle to badgers.

“Although nearly ten times as much infection goes from badgers to cattle than from cattle to badgers, there is even more transmission of infection within each of the species.

What to read next

Bovine TB in a fifth of roadkill badgers in Cheshire
Badgers to be vaccinated against TB in Ireland
Trich causes greater reproductive losses to cattle than any other disease