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Public values for badgers, bovine TB reduction and management strategies

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This paper applies an attribute-based stated choice experiment approach to estimate the value that society places on changes to the size of the badger population in England and Wales. The study was undertaken in the context of a rising incidence of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle and the government's review of current bTB control policy. This review includes consideration of culling badgers to reduce bTB in cattle, since badgers are thought to be an important wildlife reservoir for the disease. The design of the CE involved four attributes (size of badger population, cattle slaughtered due to bTB, badger management strategy and household tax) at four levels with eight choice sets of two alternatives presented to respondents. Telephone interviews were undertaken with over 400 respondents, which elicited their attitudes and preferences concerning badgers, bTB in cattle and badger management strategies. The study estimated a willingness to pay of £0.10 per household per year per 100,000 badgers and £1.52 per household per year per 10,000 cattle slaughtered due to bTB which aggregated to £22 per badger and £3298 per bTB slaughtered animal for all households in England and Wales. Management strategy toward badgers had a very high valuation, highlighting the emotive issue of badger culling for respondents and the importance of government policy towards badgers.
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Keywords: badgers; bovine TB; choice experiment; willingness to pay

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Agricultural and Food Economics, University of Reading, UK 2: Centre for Research in Environmental Appraisal and Management, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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