NFU and Owen Paterson accused of misrepresenting facts

Lord Krebs, who headed the government-funded 10-year Randomised Badger Culling Trials, spoke on the Radio 4 ‘Farming Today’ programme (from 8-13 minutes in) this morning, saying that Meurig Raymond, the president of the NFU, has given “false hope” to farmers about the badger cull by claiming it is reducing TB.

Founder of the Save Me Trust Brian May has also accused former Defra Secretary Owen Paterson of lying after he said “An extraordinary reduction’ in bovine TB disease levels seen in the Somerset and Gloucestershire pilot areas prove badger culling works”.

Both Krebs and May say the figures published by the government do not support these claims. Krebs said government figures say herds affected in the year before and after the culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire went from 28 to 29, and 17 to 28. Numbers of ‘reactors’ (cattle who reacted to a skin test) were shown to go from 246 to 208 in Somerset, but 91 to 161 in Gloucestershire. Krebs disputes that you could interpret these figures as a success for the cull.

The NFU declined to be interviewed for the programme, but said in a statement that the figures they point to are anecdotal and based on the reports of farmers and vets.