Badgers win reprieve

Badger by Andrew Parkinson/2020VISION

At last the government has announced that culling of badgers will be halted and replaced by vaccination – just what we have been calling for since the first culling was approved.

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has joined us in writing to MPs, ministers and government departments to draw attention to the nonsense of continuing with a cull that ignored the independent scientific studies. These studies showed that culling actually makes matters worse, whilst badger vaccination programmes reduce the likelihood that the infection would be passed on once a badger is infected.

Of course, this doesn’t mean the end of Bovine TB, which remains a significant threat to farming in many parts of the country, including Worcestershire, which are designated as High Risk Areas. That’s why it is so important that trial vaccination programmes, mostly pioneered and led by Wildlife Trusts, are now rolled out across every High Risk Area and beyond.

The Government’s new proposals include support and funding for local vaccination programmes through training; more vaccinators will speed things up – that’s good news for badgers and for the farmers that want to get on with this too.

In the longer term, the best solution is through improved testing for Bovine TB in cattle and the development of an effective vaccine for cattle.

We must hold the government to account on their pledges and ensure they accelerate the programme in the quest for a cattle vaccine.