Type

Journal Article

Authors

S. Wayne Martin
James O'Keeffe
Guy McGrath
Paul W White
Andrew W. Byrne

Subjects

Environment

Topics
historic britain and ireland interventions bovine tuberculosis intervention badger policy options cull cattle ireland tuberculosis in cattle cattle large scale density

Risk of tuberculosis cattle herd breakdowns in Ireland: effects of badger culling effort, density and historic large-scale interventions. (2014)

Abstract Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) continues to be a problem in cattle herds in Ireland and Britain. It has been suggested that failure to eradicate this disease is related to the presence of a wildlife reservoir (the badger). A large-scale project was undertaken in the Republic of Ireland during 1997-2002 to assess whether badger removal could contribute to reducing risk of cattle herd breakdowns in four areas. During the period of that "four area" study, there was a significant decrease in risk in intensively culled (removal) areas relative to reference areas. In the present study, we revisit these areas to assess if there were any residual area effects of this former intervention a decade on (2007-2012). Over the study period there was an overall declining trend in bTB breakdown risk to cattle herds. Cattle herds within former removal areas experienced significantly reduced risk of breakdown relative to herds within former reference areas or herds within non-treatment areas (OR: 0.53; P < 0.001). Increased herd breakdown risk was associated with increasing herd size (OR: 1.92-2.03; P < 0.001) and herd bTB history (OR: 2.25-2.40; P < 0.001). There was increased risk of herd breakdowns in areas with higher badger densities, but this association was only significant early in the study (PD*YEAR interaction; P < 0.001). Badgers were culled in areas with higher cattle bTB risk (targeted culling). Risk tended to decline with cumulative culling effort only in three counties, but increased in the fourth (Donegal). Culling badgers is not seen as a viable long-term strategy. However, mixed policy options with biosecurity and badger vaccination, may help in managing cattle breakdown risk.
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Full list of authors on original publication

S. Wayne Martin, James O'Keeffe, Guy McGrath, Paul W White, Andrew W. Byrne

Experts in our system

1
James O'Keeffe
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 48
 
2
Guy McGrath
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 52
 
3
Andrew W. Byrne
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 16