Badger cull expansion makes no sense

Defra has announced an expansion to the badger culls in Cornwall and horrifyingly, 83% of Cornwall is now in a badger cull zone. This is one of ten new badger cull areas covering a huge area across the UK. The culls are Government policy and are being carried out by cull companies in an effort to reduce TB in cattle. However, opinion is divided on how effective the culls are and whether they should be happening at all. There is huge frustration amongst wildlife groups because badger vaccination, which is a viable alternative, is not being sufficiently recognised or funded by Defra.

Cheryl Marriott, Head of Conservation at Cornwall Wildlife Trust says,

“The cull expansion is hard to stomach. We have shown in Cornwall that roll-out of badger vaccination in partnership with farmers is practical and viable and we are here ready and willing to expand it. Vaccination is in everyone’s interest and is supported by the public who are ultimately the customers of our farmers. Why continue to drive a wedge between the farming community and the wider public with more badger culls when we have a non-lethal alternative ready to go?”

Badger by Richard Birchett

Badger (c) Richard Birchett

Cornwall Wildlife Trust has already started to vaccinate badgers on their nature reserves and in an area of mid-Cornwall in partnership with farmers. There is also a vaccination programme happening in Penwith led by Zoological Society of London. These vaccination programmes will continue and the Trust would like to hear from farmers and landowners who are interested in joining them. 

Vaccinated badger being released by Seth Jackson

Vaccinated badger being released (c) Seth Jackson 

Cheryl Marriott continues,

“We will keep working alongside farmers to vaccinate badgers. It won’t fix cattle TB on its own because badgers are only a relatively small part of the problem, but it should help. From my many discussions with farmers, it’s clear that factual information on vaccination is not reaching them. We will keep vaccinating to demonstrate what current government policy is failing to recognise; that badger vaccination is a viable alternative in the high-risk area and should be the obvious choice”.

For more information on Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Badger Vaccination Programme please see: www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/badger-vaccination-information