RECENT statistics released by the government prove that bovine TB (bTB) could be wiped out without culling badgers as the disease is at its lowest rate for 10 years.

The national incidence rate, which records the proportion of new outbreaks discovered through testing, was at 3.25% in March this year - the lowest figure since 2004.

Figures from the Somerset region show the number of cattle slaughtered because of the disease has dropped 50% to 375, compared to last year's total of 752.

Dominic Dyer, member of the Badger Trust and Care for the Wild, said: “These are pretty sensational figures and highly significant. There is no way that the badger culls from last year could have influenced these numbers at all, so the drop is purely because of the tighter farming controls that have come in over the last couple of years. If I was in the government I'd be shouting these numbers from the rooftops, but unfortunately they would rather keep quiet - because these figures don't justify a badger cull.

“If any farmer, beleaguered by years of this disease, was told that by following a few rules it could lead to the number of his cattle slaughtered for bTB to be cut in half in a year, they'd take it. That is what has happened. So let's now direct all our energy to ensuring that we repeat this success across the country, by doing what works, and not focussing on a badger cull which will achieve nothing.”