Somerset Wildlife Trust has today learned that west Somerset has been identified as one of the two badger cull pilot areas to be trialled later this year.
Cull not the solution
Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Chief Executive Simon Nash said: “Somerset Wildlife Trust is extremely disappointed at Defra’s announcement today. 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.”
Vaccination to address the problem
Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, added:
“A badger cull is not the right solution and the Government should be focusing on other measures to tackle bovine TB. The priority should be preventing transmission of the disease on-farm, through improved biosecurity, badger vaccination and making swift progress on a cattle vaccine.”
“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, Gloucestershire and Somerset Wildlife Trusts will vaccinate badgers on their nature reserves within the pilot areas.”
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.
Photo © Brian Phipps