Badgers and Bovine TB

Badger by Tom Skinner www.seeing.org

The Wildlife Trust believes that culling badgers is not the answer to tacking bovine tuberculosis (bTB)

We are 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. Lord Krebs, who designed a previous trial, concluded that that culling is not a viable policy option.

The Wildlife Trusts have been working on the issue of bovine TB and its links to badgers for many years, as different Governments have put forward proposals for culling badgers as a strategy for controlling bovine TB.

We are 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. Lord Krebs, who designed a previous trial, concluded that that “culling is not a viable policy option”.

We recognise the seriousness of the situation for farmers but the emphasis of all our efforts should be to find a long-term solution. We are urging the Government to drop badger culling from its bTB strategy and prioritise badger vaccination, alongside a comprehensive package of cattle measures: better biosecurity, stricter movement controls, improved TB testing and development of a cattle vaccine.

Tackling the disease should therefore include the following measures:

  • Better biosecurity: all possible measures should be pursued to prevent disease transmission on-farm
  • Stricter movement controls: to minimise the risk of spreading disease when cattle are transported
  • Improved TB testing: to increase detection of the disease - currently, many infected cattle are missed
  • Badger vaccination: support landowners to use the injectable BadgerBCG vaccine and continue development of an oral badger vaccine
  • Cattle vaccination: complete development of a cattle vaccine and secure changes to EU regulation to permit its commercial deployment Back bench 

Read our briefing on badgers and bTB and briefing on bTB vaccination. More information on the petition and the reasons for a renewed debate on the approach to control Bovine TB can be found on the blog from Dr Gordon McGlone.

The activities of the Wildlife Trusts include:

Lobbying the Government and MPs
We continue to do this both nationally and at a local level at key moments and have facilitated meetings of MPs on the topic. We have also been lobbying the European Commission on cattle vaccination.

Encouraging our members to take action
We have been encouraging our members to write to their MPs. We've also encouraged people to contact their MEPs about the EU ban on a bTB cattle vaccine.

Submitting evidence to Government
The EFRA (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Select Committee

Organising local badger vaccination programmes
In 2011 Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust was the first non-governmental organisation to begin deployment of the injectable BadgerBCG vaccine. 

Standing up for badgers
in the media including on national television and radio

Promoting the anti-cull petition
on the Number 10 website - which reached more than 300,000 signatures
 

Downloads

FilenameFile size
Bovine TB briefing.pdf38.25 KB
Badger vaccination briefing. pdf40.61 KB