# IMAT 2018 Q8 [Argument | Bovine Tuberculosis]

Action has to be taken now to stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB). Experts agree that reducing the number of badgers in the most heavily infected areas will help to break the cycle of infection between badgers and cattle and begin to reduce TB in both species. Although badgers can be vaccinated, there is no vaccine available to protect our cattle, and best estimates suggest it will be ten years before one is available. The only way to stop bovine TB spreading is to kill badgers.

Which one of the following, if true, most strengthens the above argument?

A. Five annual vaccinations are necessary to protect a badger fully against bovine TB.

B. Less than ten per cent of the dairy cows destroyed each year are destroyed because of bovine TB.

C. In a trial, killing ten thousand badgers reduced the TB rate in cattle by only fifteen per cent.

D. Shooting large numbers of badgers is more expensive than vaccinating them.

E. When efforts are made to remove badgers, many are injured rather than killed outright.

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Steps:

• Find the Argument
• Find supporting evidence in the text, this is needed before we analyse our possible answers.
• Eliminate easy options
• These will be the answers that are opposite to what you want (ex. Strengthen instead of weakening)
• Determine which answer strengthens or weakens the argument THE MOST

So the argument is in favour of killing badgers to stop bovine TB from spreading. To strengthen this, we need to find reasons that show us why killing the badgers is the best solution and why there is no better alternative.

A. Five annual vaccinations are necessary to protect a badger fully against bovine TB.

This strengthens the argument by showing that the alternative to shooting them, is much more difficult and unviable. It would be much more difficult to continually vaccinate every badger 5 times a year, rather than shooting them dead once. Therefore A must be correct as it strengthens the argument by weakening the alternative solutions.

B. Less than ten per cent of the dairy cows destroyed each year are destroyed because of bovine TB.

This would be weakening the argument because it shows that it is a less urgent need to take action. The wording is important here, â€śless than 10% is very different from: â€śas much as 10% are killed by bovine TBâ€™. Notice how the wording here can have such a large impact? This should be the first clue to show us that this answer choice is actually showing that there are greater concerns causing the death of these cattle. Therefore B is incorrect as it lessens the severity of the threat.

C. In a trial, killing ten thousand badgers reduced the TB rate in cattle by only fifteen per cent.

This is another example of the importance of language. â€śOnlyâ€ť is showing that it is actually not that big of a difference when you are killing ten thousand badgers (which seems like a large number). It undermines the worth and mixes numbers and percentages. For all we know the 15% could mean that 1 000 000 cows are saved. Therefore C is also incorrect as it undermines the effectiveness-badger death ratio.

D. Shooting large numbers of badgers is more expensive than vaccinating them.

This is also weakening the argument because it makes it seem like vaccinating the badgers is better than killing them, so it makes more sense to vaccinate them. Therefore D is incorrect.

E. When efforts are made to remove badgers, many are injured rather than killed outright.

This again weakens the argument because it does not stop the problem: of badgers being carriers of bovine TB and infecting cattle. If the badgers are not killed, then they are still capable of infecting the cows, therefore E cannot be correct.