Contraception for badgers to be studied in bid to curb bovine TB
RESEARCH is under way to see if badgers can be given contraception to control their numbers and battle bovine tuberculosis (bTB), which is endemic in the South West.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has begun research into whether badgers can be given a contraceptive either orally or through injection.
Scientists are exploring the potential to administer contraceptives to captive badgers and those living free. The plans were outlined in a draft strategy from central government to get rid of bTB in the UK in 25 years.
A Defra spokesman said: "We are testing the science and the application of both injectable and oral contraceptives in badgers. Contraceptive products are already used to control other wildlife species in other countries.
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"We know that badgers and cattle spread TB, and no country has dealt with the disease without tackling infection in both wildlife and cattle. No one wants to cull badgers, but there is currently no other proven way to quickly and effectively reduce disease in TB hotspots."