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Localised Badger Culling Increases Risk of Herd Breakdown on Nearby, Not Focal, Land

Bielby, J; Donnelly, CA; Woodroffe, R; Vial, F; (2016) Localised Badger Culling Increases Risk of Herd Breakdown on Nearby, Not Focal, Land. PLoS One , 11 (10) , Article e0164618. 10.1371/journal.pone.0164618. Green open access

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Abstract

Bovine tuberculosis is an important disease affecting the UK livestock industry. Controlling bovine tuberculosis (TB) is made more complex by the presence of a wildlife host, the Eurasian badger, Meles meles. Repeated large-scale badger culls implemented in the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) were associated with decreased cattle risks inside the culling area, but also with increased cattle risks up to the 2km outside the culling area. Intermediate reductions in badger density, as achieved by localised reactive culling in the RBCT, significantly increased cattle TB. Using a matched-pairs case-control study design (n = 221 pairs of cattle herds), we investigated the spatial scale over which localised badger culling had its biggest impact. We found that reactive badger culling had a significant positive association with the risk of cattle TB at distances of 1-3km and 3-5km, and that no such association existed over shorter distances (<1km). These findings indicate that localised badger culls had significant negative effects, not on the land on which culling took place, but, perhaps more importantly, on adjoining lands and farms.

Type: Article
Title: Localised Badger Culling Increases Risk of Herd Breakdown on Nearby, Not Focal, Land
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0164618
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0164618
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016 Bielby et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1522168
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