Somerset Wildlife Trust

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The Wildlife Trusts continue to oppose cull

 19th Sep 2012

The Wildlife Trusts continue to oppose badger cullAs culling again hits the headlines, The Wildlife Trusts remain firm in their opposition to a cull, exasperated after so many years of explaining why a cull won’t help tackle bovineTB (bTB). 

Leading the way

The Wildlife Trusts have in recent years been taking matters into their own hands by simply leading the way.  Eleven Wildlife Trusts are now working on badger vaccination programmes to prove that vaccination is the best way forward to tackle bTB.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust will continue the vaccination programme it began last year while others, including Shropshire, Cheshire, South & West Wales, Warwickshire and Somerset Wildlife Trusts are working on their own vaccination projects.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s Badger Vaccination Deployment Programme, which took place over the summer in 2011, was the first of its kind in the UK undertaken by a voluntary organisation.  Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust ran the programme at seven of its nature reserves, including a dairy farm; covering a total of 170 hectares.  Results of the first UK badger vaccination trial results were published in October demonstrating it to be an affordable and viable alternative to culling.

Working together to confront bovine TB

As a movement, The Wildlife Trusts is keen for the farming community, conservation organisations and the Government to continue to work together to confront this disease through the following measures:

  • Biosecurity:  All possible measures should be pursued to prevent disease transmission on-farm
  • Badger vaccination:  Support landowners to use the injectable BadgerBCG vaccine.  We also urge Defra to continue development of an oral badger vaccine
  • Cattle vaccine:  Complete development of a cattle vaccine and secure change to EU regulation to permit its commercial deployment.

Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said: 

"The Wildlife Trusts are very conscious of the hardship that bovine TB (bTB) causes in the farming community and the need to find the right mechanisms to control the disease.  However, we believe that a badger cull is not the answer.  Our involvement with this issue over a long period of time has led us to the conclusion that a sustained programme of vaccination, alongside improved biosecurity measures, would be the best means of tackling bTB.  We will continue to press the Government to reject the badger cull and to push forward with badger vaccination.  We will also continue to push the EU to change the rules to allow the cattle vaccine to be deployed once development is complete.

“The Wildlife Trusts will continue to support cattle testing measures and promote good biosecurity and husbandry in our work with farmers.”

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Notes for editors:
The Wildlife Trusts (TWT)  

There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK.  All are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone.  We have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of our junior branch Wildlife Watch.  Our vision is to create A Living Landscape and secure Living Seas.  We manage around 2,300 nature reserves and every year we advise thousands of landowners and organisations on how to manage their land for wildlife. We also run marine conservation projects around the UK, collecting vital data on the state of our seas and celebrating our amazing marine wildlife.  Every year we work with thousands of schools and our nature reserves and visitor centres receive millions of visitors.  Each Wildlife Trust is working within its local communities to inspire people about the future of their area: their own Living Landscapes and Living Seas.