What is the plan for vaccination in Cornwall? The badger cull is happening now across 54% of Cornwall.
There is no doubt that badgers are an adaptable species and have recovered from past persecution, but might we now be pushing them too far? Badgers deserve a place in our countryside and no Wildlife Trust will allow badger culling on its land.
We feel strongly that vaccination of badgers against TB is a viable cost effective alternative with many practical advantages.
Cornwall Wildlife Trust has been working on the issue of badgers and bovine TB (bTB) for several years. We have received overwhelming support for our Badger Vaccination Appeal since its launch in January 2019, including many letters written to us, showing how powerfully this appeal has captured the hearts of people in Cornwall and the rest of the country.
Although the initial Appeal target was met in just a few weeks, we now want to raise additional money to extend the vaccination programme for the next four years. Please do keep giving- it’s making a real difference!
Your support has so far has helped buy equipment and cover the costs of our work to start vaccinating badgers on our nature reserves in order to reduce the prevalence of bovine TB in badgers on our land. We are delighted as this has now catalysed a mid- Cornwall farmer-led vaccination project including several 1,000 acres of farmland in Cornwall. This is a huge un-planned bonus that could have a far-reaching positive impact, and we want to keep this momentum going, leading to a wider project on farmland that might encourage others farmers and land managers to follow suit.
Please help us to keep up this good work. The future of Cornwall’s badger population is far from clear. It is estimated that the badger cull is currently happening across more than 54% of Cornwall, and could well be expanded by the end of 2019.
Our important work will bring us closer to a cull-free future. Without your support we simply cannot do it. 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 our four-year programme to add to our understanding and give farmers confidence in the technique- please help us do this!
The Godfray Review, published in November 2018, supported the Trust’s views on badger vaccination. It won’t fix the problem of cattle bTB on its own, but it could take badgers out of the equation. We are concerned that accurate information about the potential of badger vaccination isn’t reaching farmers. We suggest that anyone interested has a look at the badger vaccination factsheet on the Government’s TB Hub website for reliable information: www.tbhub.co.uk
“We feel that the controversy surrounding badger control in Cornwall detracts from working positively in partnership on other measures which will help to reduce and eventually eradicate bovine TB. It can be easy to forget that we all want the same thing- for Cornwall to be free of this disease. We need to work together on this long-term if that vision is to ever become a reality.Trustee and Chair of the Trust’s Conservation Strategy Committee
Head of Conservation, Cheryl Marriott's article 'Focus on Badgers' addresses how we can live with badgers, in harmony, and move forward with vaccination programmes, The science is becoming more widely accepted, with Cornwall Wildlife Trust's vaccination programmes on our Nature Reserves aiming to demonstrate this as a more successful option.
There are 3 main ways in which we are raising the profile of badger vaccination
1. Supporting the West Cornwall Community Badger Vaccination Project
We featured this project led by the Zoological Society of London, in issue 127 of our Wild Cornwall magazine. Over a 5 year period researchers and local volunteers are vaccinating badgers across the entire Penwith peninsula. The Trust sits on the oversight committee for this project and our Wild Penwith volunteers have been involved in the practical side. The Trust’s Nature Reserves in the area are included in the project
2. Sitting on the Cornwall TB Eradication group
Cornwall Wildlife Trust is working with farmers, vets, academics, and others as part of the new Cornwall TB Eradication Group. Initiated by Defra, the group will be tasked with formulating locally relevant, practical solutions towards eradication. We want to ensure that all potential measures for reducing bovine TB in cattle will be considered, in proportion to their potential impact. This is a useful forum to highlight the practical advantages of badger vaccination to farming groups and vets.
3. Vaccinating badgers on our Nature Reserves
We support badger vaccination as the best option for Cornwall and are beginning our vaccination programme on our North Cornwall nature reserves, hoping to roll this out more widely.
Donate to the Badger Vaccination Campaign
The Badger Vaccination Campaign is raising money to expand the vaccination programme to include several thousand acres of farmland in Cornwall. Farmers in mid-Cornwall will pay towards the vaccine and running costs, but we still need to raise funds to buy extra cage-traps and other expenses so we can vaccinate across the whole area. With your help, our ultimate goal is to vaccinate badgers throughout Cornwall as part of our long-term badger vaccination project.
“Badger vaccination is a promising way to control TB. It is good to see Cornwall Wildlife Trust showing leadership by vaccinating badgers on its reserves, protecting wildlife while also acting as a good neighbour to nearby farmers"Zoological Society of London