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 recommendation to Defra
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.
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.
Somerset Wildlife Trust activity includes:
Working closely with other Wildlife Trusts and other partners to help Defra and the industry define how a strategic programme of badger vaccination is most effectively delivered, using the resources available.
Lobbying decision makers within the county, including key MPs.
Working closely with the Somerset Badger Group to share data and work together on badger vaccination deployment.
Somerset Wildlife Trust have three staff trained in badger vaccination and are undertaking regular monitoring of active badger setts on its nature reserve in West Somerset, adjacent to the badger cull zone.