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Badger vaccination begins in Derbyshire

Tuesday 20th May 2014

Badgers about to be vaccinatedBadgers about to be vaccinated

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has begun vaccinating badgers in the county, with the first vaccinations taking place at the Trust’s Hartington Meadows Nature Reserve in the north of the county.

The Trust began fundraising last year for the programme, which aims to focus on alternatives to culling as a solution to the problem of bovine tuberculosis (TB). Earlier this year it reached its initial target of £50,000 and is continuing to fundraise to enable it to broaden the programme.

The first vaccinations, including badger cubs, have been carried out by the Trust working closely with a team of volunteers from three Derbyshire Badger Groups. Trust Conservation Manager Tim Birch commented: “This is the first time that badgers have been vaccinated in the county and we are delighted to be working with a wide variety of partners on this – badger groups throughout the county, the National Farmers’ Union, individual farmers, the National Trust, Derbyshire County Council, British Mountaineering Council and the police.”

The vaccinations are the start of a five-year vaccination programme being run by the Trust. Along with other Wildlife Trusts, it is working to convince the Government that resources and funding should be put into badger vaccination and other solutions to bovine TB and not into culling. Tim explains: “Badgers are only one small part of the bovine TB problem – by far the biggest part of this problem is to do with cattle and the way our herds are managed and moved around the country and tested. So we are continuing to campaign for a cattle vaccine and for tighter regulations around cattle movement and biosecurity on farms. We are also deeply disturbed by recent revelations that the Government is carrying out gassing trials. This has already been proven to be inhumane and was banned for that reason in the 1980s. ”

Debbie Bailey of the High Peak Badger Group has been leading the volunteers. She said: “The vaccination programme is off to a good start thanks to the dedication and commitment of our volunteers. We were particularly pleased that we have been able to vaccinate virtually all the badger cubs on the Hartington Meadows nature reserve which is very important given the lifespan of a badger and the benefits of long term immunity within the social groups we have now vaccinated.. Derbyshire is leading the way, through working in partnership with many organisations and is a great model for other counties to follow.”
You can donate to the Trust’s badger vaccination programme at www.derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/badgers