This is a very contentious and complicated topic, which has been subject to much mis-information and propaganda. The Group recognises that the loss of cattle and income which results from Bovine TB can be devastating for farmers.
Extensive, prolonged and peer reviewed research (the Randomised Badger Culling Trial which killed 11,000 badgers) concluded that cattle based measures of disease control could resolve the problem. It also concluded that although badgers were considered to be implicated, that badger culling would make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control.
Despite the fact there is no evidence that the inhumane culling of badgers is reducing bTB in cattle, Government have continued to extend the badger culls across 10 counties covering over 5,500 square miles, mostly in the South West. Since 2013, 67,318 badgers have already been killed (7,906 in Somerset) and it is expected that there will be further areas licensed in 2019.
Vaccination of badgers and cattle has the potential to reduce bovine TB without the negative impacts of killing wildlife. Several Wildlife Trusts and other organisations including our group are carrying out successful vaccination programmes.
Our Group believes that Government must urgently progress cattle vaccination and increase the funding available for badger vaccination to include the high risk areas.
In the meanwhile our Group continues to collaborate with others to support farmers and landowners by providing an effective and inexpensive badger vaccination programme.