Badgers and bovine TB - our view

Badgers - c Elliott NeepBadgers - c Elliott Neep

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is very conscious of the hardship that Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) causes in the farming community and the need to find the right mechanisms to control the disease. However, we believe that a badger cull is not the answer.

June 2018 update

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust was dismayed to hear about the proposals to extend licensed badger culling in our county.

In addition to these proposals, the government has announced it will allow badger culling to take place in low-risk areas of England.

We remain very conscious of the hardship that Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) causes in the farming community and fully support the need to find the right mechanisms to control the disease. However, we do not believe that a badger cull is the answer. Scientific research funded by the Government has shown that badger culling, unless carried out in line with strict criteria including the requirement to be across very large areas, could be counterproductive.

We have strongly put our case forward during the consultation process on why we feel a badger cull is not the answer and are maintaining a very close eye on the outcomes.

We will not give permission for a cull to take place on our nature reserves and are currently undertaking a badger vaccination programme on a number of locations across the county.  

Tackling the bovine TB problem

Scientific research funded by the Government has shown conclusively that badger culling, unless carried out in line with strict criteria including the requirement to be across very large areas, could be counterproductive.

Large-scale badger culling trials show an initial worsening of the disease due to territorial boundaries being disturbed leading to increased movement of badgers. Over the longer term, there may be a positive impact of a 12 - 16 per cent reduction of bTB in cattle, but this still leaves at least 84 per cent of the problem. 

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust believes therefore that the disease should be tackled by the following measures:

  • Cattle vaccination: The development and deployment of a cattle vaccine is the long-term solution to bTB.
  • Badger vaccination: Until cattle vaccination is available, the use of an injectable BadgerBCG vaccine is curently the most effective way of tackling badger to cattle transmission of the disease. 
  • Biosecurity: All possible measures should be pursued to prevent disease transmission on-farm.

What Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is doing

Badger vaccination: Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is working on a five-year badger vaccination programme on two of its nature reserves.

Lobbying the Government and MPs: The Wildlife Trusts have been campaigning both nationally and at a local level, and lobbying the European Commission to change regulation relating to cattle vaccination.

Encouraging our members to take action: We have been encouraging members to wirte to their MPs and MEPs.

What you can do

Our badger vaccination programme

The Trust is working on a five-year badger vaccination programme on two nature reserves.

Find out more about how we vaccinate the badgers from an article in Staffordshire Wildlife members' magazine.

It will cost £25,000 to run the vaccination programme for the next five years. We need your help to fund this important work - to pay for essential veterinary supplies, equipment and staff training.

Make a donation today.

Summer 2018 magazine update

The Trust is dismayed by proposals to extend badger culling to Staffordshire, and earlier this
year resumed its badger vaccination programme. Head of Conservation Delivery Helen Dale shares the Trust’s views on the issue and answers some commonly asked questions for our summer 2018 magazine. Click here to read the page one of the article and here for page two.

To keep updated on national news, click here.