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Bovine TB (bTB) costs the UK millions of pounds every year and The Wildlife Trusts recognise the hardship that it 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. We believe the Government should put biosecurity and vaccination at the centre of efforts to tackle this disease rather than a badger cull.
The Wildlife Trusts believe that Defra should pursue the following as a matter of priority:
This briefing on Bovine TB and Vaccination explains why The Wildlife Trusts believe biosecurity and vaccination should be at the centre of efforts to tackle this disease.
Despite strong public opposition, a string of Government failures and MP recognition that an alternative strategy to deal with bovineTB is needed, plans to continue - and extend - badger culling - are expected this week. The Wildlife Trusts today launch an appeal aimed at the Prime Minister to bolster support for alternatives. Read more here.
MPs today overwhelmingly backed a motion calling on the Government to drop culling and instead vaccinate badgers. Read more here.
Badger culling must be dropped from Government plans and priority given to a strategic vaccination programme. Read more here.
Results from the extended pilot badger cull in Somerset - out today - confirm a complete failure to meet required targets and should lead the Government to abandon its culling policy. Read more here.
Natural England yesterday (23/10) announced it will be extending the badger cull in Gloucestershire. The Wildlife Trusts believe that the granting of extensions to licences to cull is simply not justifiable. Read more here.
With an extension period now under consideration for the pilot badger cull in Somerset, The Wildlife Trusts believe the failure to meet required targets should lead the Government to abandon its culling policy. Read more here.
Despite strenuous on-going efforts to halt the Government’s badger cull, through lobbying nationally and within Somerset, the cull started on the evening of August 26 and ran for six weeks in west Somerset. More information here.
As the first shots of the badger cull are reported in West Somerset, Somerset Wildlife Trust warns that culling is a tragic distraction to tackling a devastating disease. More information here.
June 6: The results of the Opposition debate - calling on the Government to stop the cull of badgers - were not a surprise as there was a three line whip. MPs voted in favour of a badger cull by 298 votes to 237. In October 2012 in a free vote MPs voted against a badger cull. Read our response.
Feb 27: Natural England has today confirmed that all criteria have been met to allow control of badgers to begin in west Gloucestershire and west Somerset.
Colleagues at Dorset Wildlife Trust, which has been named as a reserve pilot area, issued this statement.
Email your MEP (find their details) to ask them to press for the EU ban on a cattle vaccine to be lifted
A cattle vaccine is the long term solution to the bTB problem, but EU rules currently prevent it from being tested and used in this country. Find out why here.
Sign the government epetition
The petition has now passed 225,000 signatures. But the more signatures it gets the stronger the message it sends to the Government so keep signing and sharing the link to hit 1million http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/38257at. Thank-you to everyone that signed the epetition - it reached more than 300,000 signatures and is now closed.
Badgers typically live in social groups of four to seven animals with defined territorial boundaries. Culling disrupts the organisation of these social groups, causing surviving badgers to range more widely than normal and increasing the risks of disease transmission.
This is known as the 'perturbation effect' and you can download The Wildlife Trust leaflet which explains more about this.
In December 2011 the Government announced its intention to go ahead with a cull of badgers in two pilot areas in England, including parts of West Somerset and Gloucestershire.
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 nature reserves.
Somerset Wildlife Trust plans to vaccinate badgers, where there is an active sett on our nature reserves that fall within the trial cull area, to ensure the Trust plays its part in controlling the reservoir of disease in badgers on Trust land.
Until the exact area of the cull zone is published by the government’s environment department Defra, we are unable to confirm exactly how many, or which, of our nature reserves are likely to be affected.
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust has been involved in bovine TB for over 30 years. Last year Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust was the first non-governmental organisation to begin deployment of the injectable BadgerBCG vaccine on seven of its nature reserves.
You can read more about Gloucestershire’s extensive work on badgers and bovine TB, including a report on the outcomes from the first year of the vaccination programme, on the Trust’s web pages www.gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk/badgers