Extending a flawed approach to managing Bovine TB must not go ahead. Biosecurity and cattle vaccination must be the focus of future public investment in Bovine TB eradication. The Government recently consulted on a proposal to extend the badger cull in to areas such as Sheffield and Rotherham.
This consultation is an extension to the Government’s Strategy for achieving Officially Bovine Tuberculosis Free (OTF) status for England, originally published in April 2014. In that strategy, South Yorkshire is identified as a Low Risk Area because there are relatively few cases of Bovine TB occurring in cattle here. As a result, the Strategy clearly stated that the focus in these areas should be on good farm biosecurity.
The Government consulted on changing this approach, to include badger culling as an option in all Low Risk Areas across England. This would effectively mean badger culling is permitted by licence from Natural England across the whole country, potentially leading to a near eradication of this native, protected species.
UPDATE – 10th March 2021:
We’re joining The Wildlife Trusts’ call for people to respond to the Government’s badger cull consultation and ask for an immediate stop to all cull licenses. Click the following link to respond to the consultation by Wednesday 24th March 2021: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/stand-up-for-badgers
Following the Government’s announcement in 2018 to expand the badger cull to Low Risk Areas, Sheffield and Rotherham’s badgers are now at threat of being culled.
Although there are currently no licences for badger culling in Sheffield and Rotherham, a licence to cull could be granted for Low Risk Areas like ours at any time.
We’ve launched a Badger Appeal to raise funds protect our local badger population and deter culling from taking place – but we need your help to make this happen.
The UK has 25% of the global population of the Eurasian badger Meles meles.
We therefore have an international responsibility to conserve the species, and that includes protecting the range of genetic variation within the UK population.
We agree with the strong scientific evidence that culling badgers will make no meaningful contribution to the management of bovine TB and may even be counterproductive to the reduction of bovine TB.
We are very conscious of the hardship that bovine TB causes the farming community, with an increasing number of cattle contracting this awful disease each year. We understand the need for action and have concluded, from our knowledge of previous scientific cull trials, that in the short-term a nationally-co-ordinated sustained programme of badger vaccination, improved biosecurity measures and improved testing and control of cattle movement would be the best means of tackling the disease.
Badgers and bTB Updates
What we have done and will do
Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust will continue to monitor the developments of Government’s Strategy for ‘Achieving bovine TB free England’.
This report identifies Sheffield and Rotherham as a low risk area because currently there are very few cases of bovine TB found in cattle in Yorkshire.
What you can do to help
Write to your MP
Contact your MP about this and ask what they will do to help.
Donate to our appeal
Support our appeal for funds to vaccinate badgers in Sheffield
Evidence and References
View evidence and references related to our position on badger culling and bovine TB.
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