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Trust appalled that 20,000 badgers culled in 2017

Thursday 21st December 2017

Badgers, Elliott NeepBadgers, Elliott Neep

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is appalled that almost 20,000 badgers have been culled this year.

The shocking number was announced earlier today by the BBC. The animals were culled in 19 counties including Cheshire, each badger sadly killed as part of the Government plan to control the spread of bovine TB.

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and the Wildlife Trusts across the UK are strongly opposed to the badger cull. Killing badgers can lead to increasing the spread of bovine TB.

Jo Smith, Chief Executive at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust said “With figures like this being released, now more than ever we need to look at more effective and ethical ways of controlling bovine TB. Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has been leading the way for 5 years with a hugely successful badger vaccination programme and we will continue to vaccinate Derbyshire’s badgers and prove that vaccinating is more humane and less costly to the UK Tax Payer than the cull.

vaccinating is more humane and less costly to the UK Tax Payer than the cull

The Trust remains steadfast that the focus for eliminating the disease should be on cattle and their movements across the country. A vaccine for cattle remains a top priority and we continue to call for the cull to end.”

Whilst the cull figures are not welcomed, the Trust is pleased to hear that DEFRA are making grants available once again to vaccinate badgers against bovine TB in 2018. 

A fund worth £700,000 is becoming available in the New Year for organisations who want to vaccinate badgers. Under this scheme the Government will provide 50% of the funds that are spent on vaccinating badgers. 

Tim Birch, who heads up the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust vaccination project said “We are pleased to hear there is some good news today and the Government are making funds available to vaccinate badgers from 2018 for 4 years. We are currently in close discussions with DEFRA about our vaccination programme in 2018 and will be seeking Government funds to help support this work.”

The Trust remains steadfast that the focus for eliminating the disease should be on cattle and their movements across the country

“We have ambitious plans to expand the area that we currently vaccinate. The level of interest in vaccinating badgers in Derbyshire is growing and we have more landowners approaching us wanting badgers on their land vaccinated. We are showing that a badger vaccination programme with multiple partners involved such as the National Trust, National Farmers Union and private landowners can be delivered. We continue to strongly oppose shooting badgers and believe that badger vaccination is the way forward.”

In addition Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is pleased that stronger measures to test cattle for bovine TB have also been announced by DEFRA. In the statement released by DEFRA this morning (Thursday 21st December 2017) they announced six monthly routine tests for all cattle herds in areas considered at high risk of the disease. The statement confirms that annual testing (as it is now) will only be reserved for herds of cattle that have been clear of bovine TB for five years or more and for farms accredited under the Cattle Herd Certification Standards (CHeCS) scheme which requires tougher biosecurity measures to be observed.

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has been carrying out the badger vaccination programme across Derbyshire since 2014 – working with farmers and landowners and showing that a successful programme of badger vaccination can be achieved in partnership with the help of dozens of trained volunteers. Our badger vaccination programme is considered one of the most successful models in the country and has been developed in close partnership with the National Trust, National Farmers Union (NFU), Derbyshire’s Badger Groups and the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).

How can you help? 

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has raised over £54,000 and is continuing to raise funds to support their vaccination programme. You can donate here or by text. To donate £1.50: WILD1 to 88833 or to donate £10 text WILD3 to 88833. If you would like more information on ways to help, please contact the Trust on 01773 881188 or email enquiries@derbyshirewt.co.uk