The Government has now set out the next phase of their strategy to combat bovine tuberculosis and it appears to be good news for Cornwall’s badgers with culling gradually being phased out and replaced by badger vaccination.
Badger vaccination is already being delivered successfully in partnership with farmers in parts of West Cornwall and a small area of Mid-Cornwall. The announcement by Government means vaccination will play a greater role in the future as part of the national TB eradication strategy.
Cheryl Marriott, Head of Conservation at the Trust said, “We know from scientific research that badger vaccination has the potential to significantly reduce TB prevalence in the badger population. It is very heartening to see that the Government is taking this on board and is moving towards non-lethal control of TB in badgers.”
A group of farmers in mid-Cornwall approached Cornwall Wildlife Trust in 2018 to find out more about badger vaccination as an alternative to culling. Last year the farmers and Cornwall Wildlife Trust staff worked together across 18 farms, vaccinating 75 badgers including 25 cubs. There is also a vaccination programme happening in Penwith led by Zoological Society of London. These vaccination programmes will continue and with more government support expected for vaccination in future we may see them expand to cover new areas.
Cheryl Marriott said, “We are so grateful to the farmers in mid-Cornwall who all paid to cover the costs of badger vaccination, and to our supporters who have helped us to fund vaccination on Trust nature reserves. We have demonstrated that we can work well together with the common aim of reducing TB in cattle.”
For more information on Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Badger Vaccination Programme please see here.