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Badger vaccination inspires volunteer boost!

Tuesday 18th July 2017

Vaccinators still looking perky after a 3am start!Vaccinators still looking perky after a 3am start!

Following the news about the badger vaccinations against Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) resuming, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has been inundated with people offering their services to help with the vaccination programme.

A huge amount of volunteers are now in touch with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust wanting to help with the badger vaccination programme. Since the resumption of vaccination last week more volunteers have come forward to offer their services and numbers are increasing all the time. We currently have over 80 volunteers willing to help with badger vaccination and this number continues to increase. With the cull widening across the country the Wildlife Trusts argue that increasing vaccination of badgers and not shooting them is the answer.
The Government says it is committed to securing vaccine for badger vaccination programmes for 2018 and discussions are due to take place in Birmingham this week with the Government about how a new Government vaccination programme for 2018 would work and how it would be funded. The Trust hopes this groundswell of goodwill can be put to good use, as with so many volunteers ready and able to help, the vaccination programme could be expanded across the North of England and the Midlands.
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s Tim Birch points out “Vaccination is so much cheaper than shooting badgers. According to the Government's own figures, it costs over £6000 to shoot a badger. Currently our costs to vaccinate are running at around £280 per badger and these costs will become even lower in time. Because we have so many volunteers we are able to keep costs very low, and unlike shooting, vaccination does not attract protestors so there are no policing costs incurred either.”
He continued “We would like the Government to provide more money to expand the vaccination programme because it is better value for money than shooting badgers - vaccination makes financial sense. It also reduces the risk of spreading bovine TB, which is a big concern with shooting badgers. Add in the lack of social unrest through anti cull protects, and vaccination is good for farmers and wildlife all round! We have the expertise and the people to deliver vaccination – what we need now is money from the Government to allow us to increase our vaccination programme and also more landowners to come forward and request vaccination.”

Emma Heneghin joined the project as a volunteer in 2014. She has received training as a lay vaccinator and contributes regularly to the project. She says "It’s been very exciting and rewarding to be volunteering for such a ground breaking project. I feel very proud of what we've achieved so far and I feel like I’m making a difference."

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust developed the badger vaccination programme with a number of partners including the National Trust, and has been working with famers and landowners to vaccinate badgers across Derbyshire since 2014, with the help of their dedicated volunteers. Since the Trust sourced the supply of Tb vaccine from Canada this year, volunteers have been trained in the new vaccine delivery system and over 50 badgers have been vaccinated already this year, including 14 badger cubs. Vaccinations will continue throughout this summer and into the autumn.

The Trust’s success in acquiring a vaccine has allowed other vaccination programmes across the country to restart, including those of Chester Zoo, other badger groups, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT).

You can find out more about badger vaccination here. The Wildlife Trusts are firmly opposed to the badger cull.