Trail-blazing farmers to start badger vaccination in mid-Cornwall

Monday 11th February 2019

A surge of interest in badger vaccination from farmers in mid-Cornwall has led them to team up with Cornwall Wildlife Trust. The Trust has started to vaccinate badgers on their nature reserves in order to reduce the prevalence of bovine TB in badgers on their land.

Badger vaccination is expected to have a knock-on reduction in TB in cattle. A fundraising appeal by Cornwall Wildlife Trust has captured the hearts of Cornwall’s public, nearly reaching the target of £18,000 in just one month. The appeal will buy equipment and help cover the costs of this work on the nature reserves. The Trust now hopes to raise additional money to expand the vaccination programme to include several 1000 acres of farmland in Cornwall.

Cheryl Marriott, Head of Conservation for the Trust says,

“We were so pleased to be approached by this group of farmers in mid-Cornwall who were interested in finding an alternative to badger culling. They realise the potential of vaccination and want to start this spring, so we are doing everything we can to support them. Each farmer will pay towards the vaccine and running costs, but we need to raise funds to buy extra cage-traps and other expenses so that we can vaccinate across this whole area”.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust is concerned that accurate information about the potential of badger vaccination isn’t reaching farmers, and they suggest that anyone interested has a look at the badger vaccination factsheet on the Government’s TB Hub website to make sure they are getting reliable information. Researchers from the Zoological Society London based in Cornwall are already involved in a research trial on badger vaccination in the far west of Cornwall. The same researchers have agreed to blood-test badgers in the mid-Cornwall vaccination area so that they can track the reduction of TB in the badgers over the four-year programme to add to our understanding and give farmers confidence in the technique.

Prof Rosie Woodroffe, Zoological Society of London explains the science behind the programme,

“Badger vaccination is a promising way to control TB. It is good to see Cornwall Wildlife Trust showing leadership by vaccinating badgers on these nature reserves, protecting wildlife while also acting as a good neighbour to nearby farmers”.

To help Cornwall Wildlife Trust lead the way in vaccinating badgers, please go to https://www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/badgervaccinationappeal
or text BDG19 £3, £5 or £10 to 70070.