Farmers urged to report dead badgers

As the warmer spring weather leads to a marked increase in badger activity, farmers have been urged to report badgers killed by vehicles to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) so they can be tested for bovine TB.

“Badgers are relatively inactive over the winter but as spring arrives and the weather heats up, there is a step change in their patterns of activity and foraging, meaning they are far more likely to be hit by vehicles,” said FUW TB spokesman Brian Walters.

Mr Walters said testing badgers killed by vehicles contributed important information to our understanding of where badger populations are likely to be passing disease on to other animals.

“Last year almost two-million cattle TB tests were carried out in Wales, yet only a handful of badgers were tested for the disease. Identifying the presence or absence of disease in local badger populations can help inform policies which help eradicate the disease,” added Mr Walters.

However, Mr Walters acknowledged that finding the time to report dead badgers would be difficult for farmers, given the fact that many would be working around the clock, particularly those who are lambing.

“The number of dead badgers people are likely to see on roads will rise significantly over the coming weeks and I would urge anyone who sees a dead badger to try and find the time to contact APHA.”

Mr Walters also warned that dead badgers should not be approached or handled, and pets should not be allowed to come into contact with carcasses as they could be infected with dangerous pathogens, including TB.