Badger in hole

Member Article

Wildlife charity outraged at badger cull decision

As badger culling again hits the headlines, Northumberland Wildlife Trust remains firm in its opposition to a cull, exasperated after so many years of explaining why a cull won’t help tackle bovineTB (bTB).

The Wildlife Trust movement has, in recent years, been taking matters into their own hands by simply leading the way. Eleven Wildlife Trusts are now working on badger vaccination programmes to prove that vaccination is the best way forward to tackle bTB.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust will continue the vaccination programme it began last year while others, including Shropshire, Cheshire, South & West Wales, Warwickshire and Somerset Wildlife Trusts are working on their own vaccination projects.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s Badger Vaccination Deployment Programme, which took place over the summer in 2011, was the first of its kind in the UK undertaken by a voluntary organisation.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust ran the programme at seven of its nature reserves, including a dairy farm; covering a total of 170 hectares. Results of the first UK badger vaccination trial results were published in October demonstrating it to be an affordable and viable alternative to culling.

As a movement, The Wildlife Trusts is keen for 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 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.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Mike Pratt said: “Northumberland Wildlife Trust is very conscious of the hardship that bovine TB (bTB) causes in the farming community and the need to find the right mechanisms to control the disease. However, we believe that a badger cull is not the answer. Our involvement with this issue over a long period of time has led us to the conclusion that a sustained programme of vaccination, alongside improved biosecurity measures, would be the best means of tackling bTB. We will continue to press the Government to reject the badger cull and to push forward with badger vaccination. We will also continue to push the EU to change the rules to allow the cattle vaccine to be deployed once development is complete.”

Two of Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s Patrons, TV presenters and renowned naturalists Chris Packham and Bill Oddie are standing up for badgers and have been tweeting their comments all week via Twitter; Chris said: “I feel sick that the science has been forsaken and that Badgers will be sacrificed for our stupidity and selfishness. It’s unforgivable!” a feeling which was endorsed by Bill Oddie who said: “Please go to TEAMBADGER.org and get as cross as we are. The badgers aren’t too thrilled either. ACTION! HELP! Must be stopped.”

Northumberland Wildlife Trust is urging everybody who cares about wildlife to contact their MPs and sign the anti-badger cull online petitions by logging on at: directgov.co.uk/petitions/38257, 38degrees.org.uk/page/badgers-petition and teambadger.org

The Wildlife Trust movement throughout the UK will continue to support cattle testing measures and promote good biosecurity and husbandry in its work with farmers.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Fiona Dryden .

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