Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Badgers and Bovine TB

We base our views on science and evidence

Somerset Wildlife Trust is firmly opposed to the badger cull.  No Wildlife Trust allows badger culling on its land. We are now in the fifth year of culling in Somerset, and our views on the issue remain the same.  We are a science and evidence based organisation. All the scientific evidence indicates that culling badgers will not reduce bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) - in fact it could make the problem worse with the possibility of the disease being spread by badgers moving between setts post-cull.

We understand the issues

The work we do as an organisation sees us working closely with many of Somerset’s farming communities, so we are acutely aware of the economic  hardship that bovine TB (bTB) causes for farmers and land managers, as well as appreciating the environmental and social impact on conservation organisations and the general public. We believe there needs to be a co-ordinated effort to find a cost effective, long-term and sustainable solution to control the disease.

We believe in a long term solution

The evidence shows that  cattle-to-cattle transmission represents the most primary route of disease spread, and we are of the view that the Government’s strategy to eradicate bTB should be focused on vaccination; a long term vaccination programme for cattle - alongside more effective testing,  improved cattle movement controls and more stringent biosecurity measures;  and the vaccination of badgers as a means to controlling TB in badger populations.  However as it stands, the Government has failed to develop a cattle vaccination and currently it is not possible to vaccinate badgers in any volume due to a global shortage of vaccine.

What are we doing to help?

Somerset Wildlife Trust is 100% committed to bringing about a change in the government’s approach to solving the problem of bTB.   Whilst culling affects our county more than many, as an organisation with limited funds and resources we have to prioritise what we do to help bring about change on this scale, and to undertake activity that we believe has the best chance of having impact.  Behind the scenes we are in constant conversation with scientists, politicians, farmers, landowners and the relevant specialist groups who are involved in the debate, and we work hard to bring people together to discuss a suitable way forward for Somerset.  It’s a complex issue that won’t be solved immediately, but we believe that the strength of these relationships is what will best support finding a solution for safeguarding  Somerset’s badgers and managing bTB.  Fortunately, we are one of 47 Wildlife Trusts across the country and, as such, can rely on the strength of voice of the entire movement to help us make a difference.

Here’s some of the activities Somerset Wildlife has been involved in:

  • Standing up for badgers in local and national media

  • Petitioning the Prime Minister to drop the Government’s failed badger cull policy and develop an alternative strategy to tackle bTB

  • Lobbying the government to develop a cattle vaccine and implement an all-encompassing badger vaccine strategy

  • Collating, summarising and presenting the science on the spread of bTB

  • Encouraging our members and supporters to write to their MPs to press for a different approach to eradicating Btb, without culling badgers.

  • Supporting and promoting e-petitions to stop the cull


You can find out more about badgers and Bovine TB here
What can you do? Click here to take action for badgers

 

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