Prince Charles felt Donegal badger cull should be emulated

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Prince Charles wrote to Tony Blair in 2005 arguing that the destruction of Donegal badgers had helped reduced instances of tuberculosis in cattle in the North West and should be an example followed in Britain.

Writing on February 24, 2005, from Clarence House, the heir apparent, referred to a recent discussion with the former Prime Minister concerning the “agricultural situation.”

“The most pressing and urgent problem is, without doubt, the rising numbers of TB cases in cattle,” he wrote. “As I think I mentioned, TB is affecting 5,000 farms each year, 20,000 head of cattle are being slaughtered and the cost to the taxpayer is £100million annually.

“As you know, all the evidence is that TB is caused and spread by badgers.”

He went on to suggest the culling of badgers, as witnessed in Donegal, was the answer.

“You said that you were aware of the recent study in the Republic of Ireland, which proved that badger culling is effective in ridding cattle of TB - in Donegal, for instance, by the fifth year of the trial there was a 96 per cent reduction of cattle infection in the badger ‘removal’ areas.”

Mr Blair replied: “You raised the issue of bovine TB, and the link to badgers. The Irish trials have indeed changed everything here, as I know Ben Bradshaw acknowledges.

“The crucial thing is now rapidly to work up the case for action, so as to enable an early decision. (If we do not work through the case properly we will be challenged in the courts). While I can personally see the case for culling badgers, I would not wish to prejudge the decision.”