HC Deb 18 April 1983 vol 41 c37W
Mr. Cryer

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will institute a comprehensive scientific research programme into the alleged carriage of bovine tuberculosis by badgers; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Fenner

The inquiry by Lord Zuckerman, undertaken at my request, concluded that by any rational epidemiological standards badgers constituted a significant reservoir of the bovine strain of the tubercle bacillus and that conditions in then affected areas favoured the transmission of the disease from badgers to cattle. Further evidence, both circumstantial and direct, in support of these conclusions has accumulated since his report was published.

The Government already support an extensive programme of research covering bovine tuberculosis in badgers and its transmission to cattle which has been fully endorsed by the consultative panel on badgers and tuberculosis. Results from this major programme have been published in Lord Zuckerman's report, in successive annual reports of my Ministry and in appropriate scientific and professional journals.