Cost-benefit analysis model of badger (Meles meles) culling to reduce cattle herd tuberculosis breakdowns in Britain, with particular reference to badger perturbation
Wilkinson, D., Bennett, R., McFarlane, I., Rushton, S., Shirley, M. and Smith, G. C. (2009) Cost-benefit analysis model of badger (Meles meles) culling to reduce cattle herd tuberculosis breakdowns in Britain, with particular reference to badger perturbation. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 45 (4). pp. 1062-1088. ISSN 0090-3558
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Bovine tuberculosis (TB)is an important economic disease. Badgers (Meles meles) are the wildlife source implicated in many cattle outbreaks of TB in Britain, and extensive badger control is a controversial option to reduce the disease. A badger and cattle population model was developed, simulating TB epidemiology; badger ecology, including postcull social perturbation; and TB-related farm management. An economic cost-benefit module was integrated into the model to assess whether badger control offers economic benefits. Model results strongly indicate that although, if perturbation were restricted, extensive badger culling could reduce rates in cattle, overall an economic loss would be more likely than a benefit. Perturbation of the badger population was a key factor determining success or failure of control. The model highlighted some important knowledge gaps regarding both the spatial and temporal characteristics of perturbation that warrant further research.