New figures show a marked drop in bovine TB levels, which undermines the argument for badger culling, says the Badger Trust.

It says Defra, the Government department “which continues to justify the planned prolonged slaughter of tens of thousands of badgers” has issued new figures which reveal a notable decrease in the incidence rate of TB in cattle over the past six months.

“This is mainly as a result of an increased number of tests on unrestricted herds compared to last year. The provisional June 2012 incidence rate is 4.2 per cent, compared to 6.0 per cent in June 2011.

“Combined with previous figures that equates to a 30per cent decline in 12 months. That’s twice the 12-16 per cent reduction achieved in the randomised badger culling trials over nine years and 10 times faster than the Government’s predicted reductions from the planned badger culls.”

“This very encouraging trend dramatically undermines the Government’s justification for a widely condemned policy.”

Says Badger Trust chairman David Williams: “Defra publicly attempt to justify an unprecedented slaughter of a protected animal. At the same time, tucked away in a routine report, they admit in effect that the way to bring the spread of bTB under control was not by killing badgers but by toughening up cattle-based measures.”