Trust "extremely pleased" after announcement badger cull is to be phased out

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust says it is extremely pleased following the Government’s announcement that badger culling to tackle the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in livestock is to be phased out.

The badger cull, intended to cut tuberculosis, has seen 100,000 badgers killed since 2013. The Government has announced the intention to phase out badger culls over the next few years and replace with cattle and badger vaccinations, along with incentives for better biosecurity on farms.

The county’s largest nature conservation charity has been carrying out a successful badger vaccination scheme since 2012, vaccinating badgers across the county against bTB.

Lucy O’Toole, coordinator of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s badger vaccination programme, said: “This is certainly a step in the right direction with regards to halting the cull and we are really pleased with the new approach being taken by the Government.

"The Trust has been calling for an end to the cull for years, and has welcomed this week’s announcement that badger culling is not the solution to eradicating bTB in cattle"

The news comes just two years after it was announced that licensed badger culling was extended into Staffordshire.

The Trust has been passionate in its campaign to oppose the cull while being very conscious of the hardship that bTB causes in the farming community and the need to find the right mechanisms to control the disease.

However the Trust has long campaigned that to control the disease, a combination of badger vaccination, the development of a new vaccine for cattle along with stricter biosecurity on farms was the answer.

After hearing the news, the Trust now wants a timeframe to be published on when the cull will be phased out.

Lucy added: “Time is of the essence here. The Government’s own research has shown that culling badgers isn’t the solution. Vaccinating badgers is cheaper, more humane and more environmentally friendly. We call on the Government to engage with organisations like Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and who have been vaccinating badgers for years."