Project update May 2023: Please note that badger carcass collection for this project ended as of 30 April 2023. Work is now progressing on testing samples obtained and reporting the results to Defra.
The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), in collaboration with the University of Nottingham, is conducting a research project to detect the presence and location of TB infection in badgers in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Hampshire and East Sussex. These counties are collectively known as the Southern Edge Area.
Our aim was to collect a significant number of fresh, found-dead badger carcasses, especially those killed on roads in these counties, which are now undergoing examination and testing for TB. Defra funded a similar project in the Southern Edge Area counties in 2016-17. Methodological issues may have affected the quality and availability of data. Noting the concerns regarding the methodology, APHA in conjunction with the University of Nottingham, has repeated the survey in the southern counties of the Edge Area. The collection of carcasses started in April 2021 and continued until the end of April 2023.
Bovine TB (bTB) has a devastating impact on the British cattle farming industry. The Government is implementing an ambitious, evidence-based 25-year strategy to eradicate TB in England. A key feature of the strategy is the division of the country into three bTB ‘risk areas’ – High Risk, Low Risk and the Edge Area which lies between the two. These risk areas determine the disease control measures used in cattle and wildlife, such as the frequency of routine TB testing of cattle herds. Evidence of the presence and location of TB infection in badgers within each area is extremely valuable to inform future bTB policy as the eradication strategy evolves.
How have you been helping?
Volunteers have been helping to locate and collect badger carcasses which were collected from their premises by a specialist courier and taken to the University of Nottingham. Carcasses were kept fresh and collected according to a simple protocol. Collection kits containing everything needed by collectors were provided.
Test results from individual badger carcasses are provided to collectors upon request and the project produced data summaries on a monthly basis. All personal details and information provided in connection with this project will be protected according to current data protection law and used only for purposes in connection with this project, for example to provide collectors with further information or to process a claim for payment of expenses.
We are grateful for the assistance collectors have provided to the project. If you have any queries, please contact a member of the project team using the contact details below.