Wildlife Trusts to vaccinate in pilot badger cull areas

Thursday 19th January 2012

Image credit: Eliot SmithImage credit: Eliot Smith

Local Wildlife Trusts will pursue badger vaccination as a means of tackling bovine TB in the pilot badger cull areas announced today.

Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, said:
“The Wildlife Trusts are taking the lead in using vaccination to address the problem of bovine TB. During 2011, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust pioneered a badger vaccination programme on its reserves, which it is now expanding. Should the pilot cull go ahead, Gloucestershire and Somerset Wildlife Trusts will vaccinate badgers on their nature reserves within the pilot areas.

“A badger cull is not the right solution and the Government should be focusing on other measures to tackle bovine TB. The priority should be preventing transmission of the disease on-farm, through improved biosecurity, badger vaccination and making swift progress on a cattle vaccine.”

The Wildlife Trusts believe that Defra should pursue the following as a matter of priority:
• Support landowners to improve on-farm biosecurity and the deployment of the injectable BadgerBCG vaccine;
• Continue to develop an oral vaccine for badgers;
• Complete development of a cattle vaccine and secure change to EU regulation to permit its commercial deployment.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust was the first non-governmental organisation to begin deployment of the injectable BadgerBCG vaccine on seven of its nature reserves. The outcomes from the first year of this five-year vaccination programme are available in a published report at: www.wildlifetrusts.org/badgers-and-bovineTB.