England Begins Controversial Badger Cull

England is about to cull 5,000 badgers, asserting that they spread bovine TB. Some scientists are against it. And badger lovers are bereft.

The badger has been around long enough to have survived two ice ages, but thanks to a Conservative-dominated coalition government plan, some 5,000 will not survive a culling policy that aims to reduce the spread of tuberculosis (known to be carried by badgers) in cattle.

In 1971, a dead badger was discovered in a barn in Gloucester, autopsied, and found to be infected with TB. The concern—that badgers transmit the bacterium to cows, thereby putting a farm at risk of being shut down until the infection has cleared—has enmeshed scientists, politicians, government bureaucrats, and farmers ever since.

Last year, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced its intention to test the "safety, humaneness, and efficacy" of culling by targeting

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