§ Mr. Ron Davies
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what scientific evidence he has concerning the spread of bovine TB from badgers to cattle.
§ Mr. Soames
Experimental control areas in Dorset and Gloucestershire, set up in 1975, provided evidence of the causal link between infection in badgers and cattle herds. Two independent reports, by Lord Zuckerman in 1980 and Professor Dunnet in 1986, concluded from the evidence obtained, under laboratory conditions at the central veterinary laboratory and from the field that badgers can and do harbour bovine tuberculosis and represent a potential threat to cattle. All cattle tuberculosis breakdowns are the subject of detailed epidemiological investigation by MAFF veterinary staff. These show that badgers are implicated in at least three-quarters of cattle herd tuberculosis breakdowns in the south-west of England.