Although the Government has promised on several occasions to move away from badger culling to vaccination and other methods to control bovine TB, sadly the reality is that more areas have been licensed for culling, with larger targets for badgers to be killed.
As the scientific evidence shows that bovine TB is primarily caused by cattle-to-cattle transmission, Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust believes that badger culling cannot meaningfully contribute to reducing bovine TB in cattle. We need the Government to speed up its promised transition away from culling to vaccination of badgers in the shorter term, and speed up the development and deployment of a vaccine for cattle as a long term solution.
Your MP can help to ensure the Environment Secretary, Rt Hon George Eustice MP, understands the huge public demand there is to see the Government speed up delivery of its promise for badgers.
The main cause of bovine TB is cattle-to-cattle transmission. Yet despite the fact that badgers are not the main culprit, they are continuing to be culled in their thousands.
Instead of badger culling, we want the Government to:
1. Develop and deliver a badger vaccination strategy
2. Roll out a cattle vaccine
3. Improve testing of cattle for bTB and limit the movement of cattle across the country
4. Ensure higher standards of biosecurity on farms to prevent the spread of bTB
Earlier this year, Defra launched a public consultation on its proposals to help eradicate bTB in England. More than 40,000 people responded to the consultation asking the Government not to grant any new intensive badger cull licenses, and instead prioritise vaccinations. But despite overwhelming public opposition to continuing the badger cull, the Government granted seven more licences this year.
We want the Government to follow the scientific evidence, by prioritising vaccinations and ending culling.
For the past decade, The Wildlife Trusts nationally have been undertaking badger vaccination programmes on our nature reserves and beyond, with more than 1,000 badgers vaccinated by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust alone.
But with 140,000 badgers already killed, and the possibility of that total reaching 200,000 by the end of the year, the Government needs to support badger vaccination on a much larger scale by developing and delivering a badger vaccination strategy.