The Wildlife Trusts are calling on the Government to stop the killing of badgers as a fresh wave of culling begins over a much wider area than in previous years.
Badger culls have been given the go-ahead in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Cheshire and Somerset. The Wildlife Trusts are concerned that this culling is putting local populations of badgers at risk in affected parts of the British countryside. Almost 15,000 badgers have been killed since culls began in 2013.
The Wildlife Trusts are asking that a vaccine for cattle is developed and made a top priority in tackling Bovine Tuberculosis, rather than badger culling, as this will not eradicate Bovine TB in cattle.
Trusts director Steve Trotter says: “A healthy wildlife rich natural world is valuable in its own right, and badgers are an important part of our countryside and culture. We work closely with many farmers, day in, day out, and we recognise the pain and hardship of those whose cattle herds have been devastated by bovine tuberculosis (bTB), but killing badgers will not solve the problem.
Badgers are not the primary cause of the spread of bTB in cattle as the main route of infection comes from cattle-to-cattle contact. The Wildlife Trusts believe the Government’s badger cull is flying in the face of science and that it should be putting more resources into speeding up the development of an effective cattle vaccine, amongst other measures.
If a suitable cattle vaccination cannot be found, The Wildlife Trusts believe that the vaccination of badgers is a more humane and effective solution to helping stop the spread of bTB than culling.
Although The Wildlife Trusts don’t agree with the policy of badger culling, it does believe that monitoring programmes should be implemented in all cull zones.
More information about the badger cull is available on The Wildlife Trusts’ website