IMAT 2012 Q13 [Flaw | Farmer]

The National Farmer’s Union (NFU) approves of controlled killing of badgers to reduce their numbers, saying that it is needed to help farming. Badgers are animals believed to be responsible for the spread of bovine tuberculosis which results in large numbers of cows having to be destroyed every year. Animal rights supporters have criticised the proposal, but it is clear that the lives of more cattle can be saved by destroying a smaller number of badgers. This controlled killing should be allowed to go ahead.

Which one of the following is the best statement of the flaw in the above argument?

A. It attacks the animal rights supporters rather than their argument.
B. It assumes that the animal rights supporters believe that animals that are living freely have a greater right to life than those that are being bred on farms.
C. It assumes that the animal rights supporters believe that badgers have a greater right to life than cows.
D. It assumes that the arguments from the animal rights supporters are about the number of deaths.
E. It assumes that animal rights supporters always disagree with the NFU.


  1. Read the question first
  2. Read the passage
  3. Find the conclusion, highlight keywords
  4. Find assumptions that the argument lies on
  5. Attack these assumptions with the answer options
  6. Discard any invalid options and you’ll have your answer

The text is about the controlled killing of badgers, and although there is some criticism from animal rights supporters, the controlled killing should go ahead. It is basically arguing that it is better to kill a few badgers to save more cattle than to let things continue and have the badgers infect the cattle. The argument’s opposite is the animal rights groups.

A The argument is not attacking the animal rights supporters, and it does not even mention their argument. It treats them like opposition, but rather than attacking them, the text is providing evidence to reinforce why this controlled killing is needed. Therefore A is incorrect.

B There is no mention of this in the text. It manipulates you because it is easy to figure out that these cows are bred on farms and badgers are free, but this is not explicitly talked about in the text. Regardless, this does not change anything, this does not impact the argument. Therefore B cannot be the correct answer.

C This is not found anywhere in the text. There is no mention of the value of life and there is also no mention of why the animal rights groups were being critical, so it is not necessarily this answer. Therefore C is incorrect.

D It says that the animal rights supporters have criticized the proposal but we do not know the reasons, so it is flawed to believe that they are arguing over the numbers of deaths. If they were criticizing the plan due to smaller reasons, but still agreed that it should continue, everyone in the passage would be in favour and so there would not be a need for the author to prove that the killings should go ahead because all parties are convinced already. Therefore D is the answer.

E This last statement cannot be inferred from the text because it only talks about their criticism of the proposal, which can mean many things. The NFU could also have positive initiatives to protect wildlife, so to generalize this and say that animal rights supporters always disagree with the NFU would be most likely incorrect. Therefore E is not the answer.

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