Somerset Wildlife Trust is working behind the scenes to respond to the news, announced by Defra in January, that west Somerset has been identified as one of the two badger cull pilot areas to be trialled later this year.
Cull not the answer
We are extremely disappointed at Defra’s decision to go ahead with a trial cull. Science shows that a badger cull is not the solution to bTB and the Government’s proposals could even make the problem worse. We know many landowners share our views.
We are joining forces with other Wildlife Trusts and our colleagues at the national level to persuade Defra that other measures to tackle bovine TB should be pursued urgently.
A matter of priority
The Wildlife Trusts believe that Defra should pursue the following as a matter of priority:
• Support landowners to improve on-farm biosecurity and the deployment of the injectable BadgerBCG vaccine;
• Continue to develop an oral vaccine for badgers;
• Complete development of a cattle vaccine and secure change to EU regulation to permit its commercial deployment.
The Wildlife Trusts are taking the lead in using vaccination to address the problem of bovine TB. During 2011, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust pioneered a badger vaccination programme on its reserves, which it is now expanding.
Should the pilot cull go ahead, Somerset Wildlife Trust intends to vaccinate badgers on our land within the pilot area.
The Wildlife Trusts’ position statements on badgers and bTB, and badger vaccination, can be found on the Wildlife Trusts’ website, with regular updates on this challenging issue.
Go to www.wildlifetrusts.org/badgers-and-bovineTB