Badger cull to be phased out to be replaced with a cattle vaccine, the government has announced.

Badger Meles meles Portrait of an alert adult badger backlit by evening sunlight Derbyshire, UK - Andrew Parkinson/2020VISION

Last week the Government set out the next phase of their strategy to combat bovine tuberculosis. The Wildlife Trusts – who have campaigned for a halt to the badger cull ever since it began – support the Government’s new approach.

Martin Varley, Operations Manager at Cheshire Wildlife, says:
“We are pleased with the announcement that the Government will be phasing out the badger cull and instead using vaccinations to control bTB. We fully appreciate bTB can have a devastating impact on the lives of farmers but we have always felt that culling is not the answer. We really welcome the Governments plans to push forward with improved diagnostics in cattle, vaccinating badgers and the development of a bTB cattle vaccine”.

Katherine Hawkins, The Wildlife Trusts’ senior living landscape officer, says:
“We welcome the transition from culling to vaccinating badgers – yesterday’s announcement is really good news. It’s an open acknowledgement that culling badgers to control bTB is not a viable long-term strategy. It is hugely heartening to know that the large areas in which badgers have been vaccinated – most of which has been carried out by Wildlife Trusts – will be protected and potentially ‘buffered’ to ensure culling will not happen in those places.”

The Wildlife Trusts have long called for an end to culling, arguing that it makes more sense to:
o    Invest in and promote a strategy for badger vaccination – led and funded by Government
o    Invest more time and resource in supporting improved farm biosecurity and movement controls
o    Accelerate development of more effective tests for bTB in cattle and put serious investment into a bTB cattle vaccine

The Wildlife Trusts have opposed the badger cull since it first started and no Wildlife Trust will allow badger culling on its land. For more information, go to
www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-and-wild-places/saving-species/badgers

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