We are very conscious of the hardship that bovine TB causes in the farming community and the need to find the right mechanisms to control the disease
- The proposed badger cull
- How a cull could make things worse
- Tackling the bovine TB problem
What Wildlife Trusts are doing
- Help stop the badger cull
- Simon King on Newsnight
- David Attenborough: stop the cull
Letter to the Prime Minister
- Our badger vaccination programmes
- Donate to help our vaccination work
On 27 February 2013 the Government announced that two pilot culls of badgers, originally due to start in 2012, would go ahead in the summer of 2013. It has since been confirmed that these could take place from 1 June onwards.
The culls are designed to test the 'controlled shooting' method of culling badgers, even though free shooting of badgers will be also permitted. The pilot culls will not measure the impact on bovine TB. They are due to take place in Gloucestershire and Somerset and a reserve area has also been identified in Dorset.
The Wildlife Trusts are firmly opposed to a cull. We believe there are alternative methods which should be used to tackle the bovine TB problem. You can read more about this below. Dorset Wildlife Trust, like Gloucestershire and Somerset Wildlife Trusts, has announced it will not allow culling on its land.
The Wildlife Trusts have been working on the issue of bovine TB and its links to badgers for many years, as different Governments have put forward proposals for culling badgers as a strategy for controlling bovine TB.
We have always opposed the culling of badgers, and have pressed the case for badger and cattle vaccine and improved biosecurity. Read our briefing on Bovine TB and Badgers and briefing on Bovine TB Vaccination
A number of other Wildlife Trusts have joined Gloucestershire in carrying out local vaccination programmes
Our activities have included:
Lobbying the Government and MPs
We have done this both nationally and at a local level at key moments and have facilitated meetings of MPs on the topic. We have also been lobbying the European Commission on cattle vaccination.
Encouraging our members to take action
We have been encouraging our members to write to their MPs. We've also encouraged people to contact their MEPs about the EU ban on a bTB cattle vaccine.
Submitting evidence to Government
The EFRA (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Select Committee
Organising badger vaccination programmes in specific places.
In 2011 Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust was the first non-governmental organisation to begin deployment of the injectable BadgerBCG vaccine - read their report. A number of other Wildlife Trusts have joined Gloucestershire in carrying out local vaccination programmes - see the full list
Standing up for badgers
in the media including on national television and radio
Promoting the anti-cull petition
on the Number 10 website - now at more than 220,000 signatures
Here's a film of our President Simon King appearing on BBC Newsnight in Autumn 2012 to argue against a cull.
You can find out if your MP spoke or voted in the badger debate on 25 October.
Email your MP to ask them to call for the cull to be stopped
MPs voted against the cull on 25 October 2012 but the vote was not binding on the Government.
Email your local MP to ask them to continue to put pressure on the Government to scrap their cull plans and prioritise badger vaccination. We have produced this template letter to give you some ideas, but it is much better if you can personalise it with your own thoughts. You can find out if your MP spoke or voted in the badger debate on 25 October.
Sign the anti-cull epetition
The No 10 petition to stop the cull has now passed 220,000 signatures.
But the more signatures it gets the stronger the message it sends to the Government so keep signing! http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/38257
Email your MEP
Ask your MEP to press for the EU ban on a cattle vaccine to be lifted.
Find the details of your MEP. A cattle vaccine is the long term solution to the bTB problem, but EU rules currently prevent it from being tested and used in this country - find out why.
Support our badger vaccination programmes
You can also donate and support this work
Jump to the list of badger vaccination programmes and appeals
The Wildlife Trusts believe that culling badgers is not the answer to the bovine TB problem
The Wildlife Trusts are very conscious of the hardship that bovine TB (bTB) causes in the farming community and the need to find the right mechanisms to control the disease. However, we believe that a badger cull is not the answer. Biosecurity and vaccination should be at the centre of efforts to tackle this disease rather than a badger cull.
Tackling the disease should therefore include the following measures:
- Biosecurity: All possible measures should be pursued to prevent disease transmission on-farm.
- Badger vaccination: Support landowners to use the injectable BadgerBCG vaccine. We also urge Defra to continue development of an oral badger vaccine.
- Cattle vaccine: Complete development of a cattle vaccine and secure change to EU regulation to permit its commercial deployment.
The 'perturbation effect'
Badgers typically live in social groups of four to seven animals with defined territorial boundaries. Culling disrupts the organisation of these social groups, increasing the risks of disease transmission as shown below.
This is known as the 'perturbation effect'. The Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB concluded in its final report (2007) that it was 'unable to conceive of a system of culling, other than the systematic elimination, or virtual elimination, of badgers over very extensive areas, that would avoid the serious adverse consequences of perturbation'.
The Wildlife Trusts’ President Simon King OBE and our President Emeritus Sir David Attenborough have, along with others, articulated their views on the badger cull in this short film produced by the Badger Trust.
|Simon King's letter to David Cameron about the badger cull||273.71 KB|