I respect the government for having the courage of conviction to follow through on a controversial option that isn’t popular with the general public.

As a dairy farmer, I understand first hand the impact of Bovine TB. An unhealthy badger population will always act as a reservoir of infection. Whilst a blanket cull may be a step too far, I believe that farmers should be licensed to reduce badger populations in affected areas.

Everyone understands culling when rabbits or red-deer multiply out of control. We create the worst possible conditions for animal populations by allowing rampant proliferation. Poor health is a by-product of too many animals competing for food and habitat, and disease is nature’s way of weeding out the weak.

It is important to recognise that maintaining optimal population levels in animals increases their overall health. Animals that are well-nourished and not struggling to survive, develop strong immune systems which allow them to resist and fight disease. If a population is resilient and healthy then the disease will begin to breed itself out. Howard’s Theory of Positive Health recognises that the key to healthy populations is building strength, having limited-sized populations in a suitable environment, and properly divided resources that lead to increased nutritional health. The key to the badger/TB issue is a policy that understands the need to build healthy, resilient populations in both the cattle and badger communities.

Featured image by Andreas Photography

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