Somerset Wildlife Trust

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House of Commons badger cull debate welcome

 19th Oct 2012

badger2 DSAhead of the House of Commons debate on Thursday 25 October, Somerset Wildlife Trust is urging the Government to heed expert opinion and public feeling and call a halt to the imminent pilot badger cull. 

A letter to the Prime Minister & contact your MP

In a letter sent to the Prime Minister earlier this month, The Wildlife Trusts’ President Simon King OBE urged David Cameron to ‘withdraw the controlled shooting licences, help farmers with improved biosecurity, commit to a badger vaccination strategy and push for changes to allow the cattle vaccine’ in order to ‘get on top of this disease in an effective way’. 

There is still a chance for people to contact their MPs and urge them to vote against a cull and we urge them to do so. Email your local MP

Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said:  “We welcome the debate in the Commons.  It will allow MPs to test the Government on their rationale.  

“We continue to press the Government to demonstrate much greater commitment to badger vaccination and we shall continue to push the EU to change the rules to allow a cattle vaccine to be deployed, once development is complete.”

Badger vaccination programmes

Twelve Wildlife Trusts are working on badger vaccination programmes including Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.  GWT’s 2011 programme was the first of its kind in the UK to be undertaken by a voluntary organisation.  The Trust ran the programme at seven sites, including a dairy farm and covering a total of 170 hectares.  Initial results regarding the practicalities of vaccination demonstrate it to be an affordable and viable alternative to culling.

The Wildlife Trusts strongly urge 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 develop a comprehensive vaccination strategy and 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.

Read more 

Visit our badger and bovine TB web pages for more information