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Level of spend on culling needed to reduce TB


This page looks at what other countries are spending on wildlife control before levels of TB reduced. For easy reference to what may need to be spent in England and Wales, figures are presented in terms of spend per bovine.

New Zealand

Number of TB restricted herds and cull spend in New Zealand

The above graph was sent by Dr Paul Livingstone in an email dated 8th July 2014. Paul is the TB Eradication and Research Manager for the TBfree New Zealand programme.

There are about 10 million cattle and calves in New Zealand3. If about 50 million New Zealand dollars are spent on wildlife control each year and each New Zealand dollar is worth about 0.50 pounds sterling, about £2.50 per bovine is spent in New Zealand each year controlling wildlife.

Irish Republic

Number of cattle reactors due to bovine TB in the Irish Republic.

About 4.5 million euros are spent on wildlife control each year in the Irish Republic1. There are about 6 million cattle and calves in the Irish Republic Ireland4. Each euro converts to about 0.80 pound sterling (current Aug 2014) so about £0.60 per bovine is spent in the Irish Republic each year controlling wildlife.

England and Wales

In England and Wales there are about 6.5 million cattle and calves5. If £1 per bovine was to be spent on wildlife control each year, this would cost about £6.5 million each year. To put this into perspective, in recent years (current Aug 2014) DEFRA has been spending about £5 million each year on vaccination research2.

TB levels and spend in each country

Please click on the following two thumbnails to see graphs of TB levels in New Zealand, Ireland and Great Britain together with the spend on TB control in each country. These graphs show absolute numbers and percentages respectively.

For explanation of how costs were calculated in the above graphs, please see the above paragraphs.

For sources of data used to calculate TB levels in the above graphs, please see the following table.

New Zealandslaughtered cattle7
New Zealandrestricted herds7
Irish Republicslaughtered cattle4,9
Irish Republicrestricted herds9
Great Britainslaughtered cattle6,5,8
Great Britainrestricted herds6,5,8


  1. Eradication of bovine TB in the Irish Republic including a detailed description of badger culling and vaccination strategy. Released in April 2010.
  2. Badger Culling : Alternatives. Standard Note: SNSC6447. House of Commons Library. Science and Environment Section. Author: Dr Elena Ares. Last updated: 11 June 2014.
  3. Tb reactors slaughtered in New Zealand from 1972
  4. TB stats to 2012 for the Irish Republic. Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. ERAD Division. Reply to request. Sent 09 May 2013.
  5. Cattle and calves. Key Crop Areas and Livestock Numbers. UK and Country Level Data 1866 - 2014. DEFRA.
  6. Statistics - national statistics. Latest statistics on the incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in cattle in Great Britain. National statistics. From: DEFRA & APHA. Updated monthly and available on 29th August 2015 from
  7. Bovine TB data for New Zealand 1972 to 2014 supplied by Paul Livingstone, Technical Manager of the Animal Health Board (AHB) in New Zealand. Data supplied in March 2015.
  8. TB test reactors from 1956 to 1997 in Great Britain extracted from Chief Veterinary Reports. Supplied by Defra - Customer Contact Unit on 1st Dec 2011.
  9. TB Statistics - Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Ireland
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