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#UK Badger cull study ‘was watered down’ over issue of whether it stopped cattle catching TB  #UKnews

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#UK Badger cull study ‘was watered down’ over issue of whether it stopped cattle catching TB  #UKnews

Badger cull study ‘was watered down by high civil servant’ over issue of whether badger cull stopped cattle catching TB 

  • Experts discovered no hyperlink between badger culling and decline in bovine tuberculosis
  • However this was after a Defra civil servant wished findings ‘watered down’ 
  • Vets Iain McGill and Mark Jones and biologist Tom Langton carried out the study

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A senior civil servant compelled a journal to make adjustments to scientific analysis which revealed there was no proof the badger cull stopped cattle catching tuberculosis.

Experts who analysed statistics on the illness from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) discovered no hyperlink between culling and any decline in bovine TB between 2013 and 2019.

Their analysis was revealed in main unbiased journal the Vet Record in March – however solely after Eleanor Brown, a senior Defra civil servant and deputy director of the bovine TB programme, pressured the editor into forcing the authors to ‘water down’ their findings.

Vets Iain McGill and Mark Jones – head of coverage for charity Born Free, which opposes the cull – and biologist Tom Langton, who carried out the study, at the moment are demanding the Government reveal whether Environment Secretary George Eustice was conscious of the bid to intervene.

A senior civil servant forced a journal to make changes to scientific research which revealed there was no evidence the badger cull stopped cattle catching tuberculosis

A senior civil servant compelled a journal to make adjustments to scientific analysis which revealed there was no proof the badger cull stopped cattle catching tuberculosis

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The paper discovered that whereas the illness declined throughout the study, there was no proof the lower was any completely different in areas the place badgers had been shot, in contrast with areas the place there was no cull. 

Emails obtained through Freedom of Information requests reveal Miss Brown wrote to Suzanne Jarvis, editor-in-chief of the British Veterinary Association Journals, which publishes Vet Record, to ‘raise our grave concerns about this article as it … has fundamental scientific flaws’.

In a extremely uncommon transfer, Miss Brown demanded feedback from Defra had been revealed ‘alongside this paper, to make clear the errors in the methodology’, including: ‘If published as it stands… this would reflect badly on the British Veterinary Association and the Vet Record.’

Mr Langton mentioned the transfer was ‘unethical and a serious offence’, including: ‘The demanded changes… watered down the paper’s conclusions. 

The paper found that while the disease declined during the study, there was no evidence the decrease was any different in areas where badgers were shot, compared with areas where there was no cull

The paper discovered that whereas the illness declined throughout the study, there was no proof the lower was any completely different in areas the place badgers had been shot, in contrast with areas the place there was no cull

What occurred was a critical breach of educational publishing protocol.’ He known as for Miss Brown to be suspended pending an inquiry.

The Vet Record agreed to publish a crucial letter from Government chief vet Christine Middlemiss and Defra chief scientific adviser Gideon Henderson. 

It additionally included information from Defra purporting to point out increased charges of decline of bovine TB in areas with culling. 

Defra later admitted some of this information had been calculated incorrectly.

Miss Jarvis mentioned: ‘We followed established editorial processes. All changes were agreed with the paper’s authors.’ 

A spokesman for Defra mentioned the paper’s conclusions had been ‘wrong’, including: ‘Any decision on publication… was made by Vet Record.’

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