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The badger cull and bovine TB

Posted: Friday 2nd September 2016 by ColinsBlog

Badger (c) Jon Hawkins Surrey Hills PhotographyBadger (c) Jon Hawkins Surrey Hills Photography

Colin responds to the disappointing Government announcement of an extension of the badger cull...

So the government has agreed to seven new licences to cull badgers. Although none of these are in Worcestershire, this is an important issue for the county as two neighbouring counties (Gloucestershire and Herefordshire) are involved;  so Worcestershire Wildlife Trust will be re-doubling its efforts to get this ineffective and ill-judged approach stopped.

First of all it is important to re-state that everyone recognises that this is a very difficult issue to deal with and that the consequences of bovine TB can be disastrous to the lives and businesses of farmers. However, culling goes against the clear recommendations of the scientists that the government employed to advise them – indeed they say it risks making the problem even worse. I heard Professor John Krebs on the radio the other day saying just that.

We have joined the call to Andrea Leadsom, the new appointed Secretary of State, to reverse this decision immediately, and we are promoting The Wildlife Trusts’ new e-petition on the government website as part of this. Please support this.

It may be unpopular in certain circles but we shall continue to press the same points we have been making for many years:

  • Reduce cattle-to-cattle transmission by tightening movement controls – these, not badgers, are the major cause of infection
  • Accelerate research into cattle vaccination and testing to detect outbreaks – this must be the long term solution
  • Improve standards of biosecurity on farms

Ironically, this year there is no vaccine available for use in vaccinating badgers as the Government’s source is unable supply due to an increased demand for human use. This is very unfortunate for those Wildlife Trusts who have been vaccinating for several years already so we are also calling for the Government to secure vaccine from alternative sources to allow this important work to resume.

In Worcestershire we stand ready to protect badgers on our reserves should this be necessary in the future.

For more information about bovine TB, visit our Badgers Matter pages.

To take action for badgers, visit The Wildlife Trusts badger cull pages.

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