Vaccines for badgers and cattle are urgently needed

Vaccines for badgers and cattle are urgently needed

Badger by Bertie Gregory/2020VISION

Colin explains why we need the UK Government to speed up its promised transition from badger culling to vaccination in England…

18 months ago I wrote a blog in which we celebrated a Government announcement to replace badger culls with badger vaccinations. Just six months later I found myself disappointed and shocked as the Government announced the largest ever badger cull. Now we hear that badger culling is taking place this autumn in new areas in Worcestershire.

Evidence shows the culling of badgers is ineffective in fighting bovine tuberculosis (bTB), an infectious disease that affects cattle. The main cause of bovine TB is cattle-to-cattle transmission; badgers are not the main culprit yet they are being culled in their thousands. 

The culling will have repercussions on the health of natural habitats because badgers are vital to a thriving ecosystem. A quarter of the European badger population is found in the UK and we believe that the UK has an international responsibility to conserve them. Worcestershire Wildlife Trust opposes the badger cull and we will not allow culling to take place on our land.

We recognise the hardship that bovine TB causes in the farming community and the need to find the right mechanisms to control it. We want to see the Government prioritise badger vaccination.

You can help our badgers

Your MP can help ensure that the Environment Secretary, Rt Hon George Eustice MP, understands the huge public demand there is to see the Government speed up its delivery on its promise for badgers. 

Instead of badger culling, we want the Government to:

1. Develop and deliver a badger vaccination strategy

2. Roll out a cattle vaccine

3. Improve testing of cattle for bTB and limit the movement of cattle across the country

4. Ensure higher standards of biosecurity on farms to prevent the spread of bTB

Take action now

Public consultation ignored

Earlier this year, Defra launched a public consultation on its proposals to help eradicate bTB in England. Almost 40,000 people responded to the consultation asking the Government not to grant any new intensive badger cull licenses and, instead, prioritise vaccinations. Despite overwhelming public opposition to continuing the badger cull, the Government granted seven more licences this year. 

We want the Government to follow the scientific evidence, by prioritising vaccinations and ending culling. 

With 140,000 badgers already killed, and the possibility of that total reaching 200,000 by the end of the year, the Government needs to support badger vaccination on a much larger scale by developing and delivering a badger vaccination strategy. 

We need MPs to carry the message to the Environment Secretary George Eustice MP that the public wants the Government to fast track its transition from culling to vaccinating.

Use our template email to write your MP and ask them to speak up for you in Parliament. You can add your own comments to the email. The more you personalise it, the more likely your MP is to take notice

Help our badgers now