Help us vaccinate more badgers
We are firmly opposed to the badger cull and will not allow culling on our land.Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
Our badger vaccination programme
With the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border and the Derbyshire/Cheshire border identified as hotspots for bovine TB, a cull could be carried out in Derbyshire.
In order to prevent this we created a badger vaccination programme. Working with a range of partners including Derbyshire's local badger groups, National Farmers' Union, individual farmers and the National Trust amongst others. This will contribute to the local control of bovine TB by creating immunity in a population of Derbyshire badgers.
Badger BCG vaccine alone is not the solution to bovine TB, but it does have an immediate effect with no known negative impact other than cost. Our vaccination programme aims to make a worthwhile contribution towards finding a solution to a serious animal disease problem and to explore the practicalities of vaccination.
Let us tell you more:
Our results so far
• 486 badgers across Derbyshire, predominantly in the Edale valley in the North have been vaccinated since our vaccination programme began in 2014 - 2018 over 4 years (no badgers were vaccinated in 2016 as there was no vaccine available)
• We have been vaccinating on over 30 km2 of land predominantly in North Derbyshire where 25 landowners are signed up to the project and where we are working in close partnership with the National Trust
• We have 15 Government trained lay vaccinators in Derbyshire that can legally vaccinate badgers
• Our trapping success of badgers at targeted badger setts is running at over 80% of the individual animals we know are present
• Vaccinating one badger is costing approx. £82 compared to over £6,000 to shoot one badger so vaccination is massively cheaper and makes financial sense
• We have developed positive working relationships with a wide variety of organisations including the National Trust, the National Farmers Union, Country Landowners Association, Derbyshire Badger Groups, Derbyshire County Council, British Mountaineering Council and private landowners. This shows that a multi stakeholder partnership approach to vaccinate badgers can work.
• The project has received strong support from Derbyshire Police and the Police Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire
• We sourced our own vaccine from Canada in 2017 when the Government were unable to obtain any supplies of vaccine at all and we were able to continue our vaccination programme when no one else in the country was vaccinating badgers
• We have over 100 volunteers available to work on the vaccination project and they are trained up in sett survey work, pre baiting of traps with peanuts and siting of setts for the trapping of badgers for vaccination. Having such a dedicated group of volunteers has also helped to drive down costs of the project considerably
• We have developed a strong positive working relationship with the Department of Environment and Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) who are deeply impressed by our vaccination programme
• We are by far the largest vaccination programme now in the UK and we are recognised as leading the field nationally on badger vaccination
• We continue to provide training, support and advice to smaller vaccination projects both new and established in other areas of the country
Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB)
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a highly infectious disease of cattle which devastates thousands of farming businesses annually. Since the mid-1980s, the incidence of bTB in cattle has increased substantially creating an economic burden on the taxpayer and the farming industry, as infected cattle must be culled.
Government research shows that TB is not a major cause of death in badgers. Generally, infected badgers do not show any sign of infection and can survive for many years before suffering from severe emaciation.
83% of badgers culled in government trials 2002-2005 tested TB free.
Final Report of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB, June 2007
The badger cull
The badger cull now operates across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Somerset and our neighbouring county Cheshire.
Badgers are being culled as part of a government initiative to reduce the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle.
Pilot badger culls commenced in 2013 in Gloucester and Somerset amid much opposition. More than 300,000 people supported a petition opposing the cull. An Independent Expert Panel (IEP) was appointed by Defra to assess the effectiveness, humaneness and safety of the 2013 culls. The panel deemed the culls 'ineffective' and 'inhumane' in 2013, with no significant improvement - and further failures - in 2014.
Despite two parliamentary debates, a prominent opposition campaign and the support of numerous experts and high profile figures, the number of areas has increased year on year. In September 2017 the Government announced the cull will be rolled out to 11 new areas, and they authorised two new supplementary licenses in Gloucestershire and Somerset. This brings the total number of badger cull areas to 21.
Other measures to tackle the disease
We believe tackling the disease should include the following measures
- Better biosecurity: all possible measures should be pursued to prevent disease transmission on-farm
- Stricter movement controls: to minimise the risk of spreading disease when cattle are transported
- Improved TB testing: to increase detection of the disease - currently, many infected cattle are missed
- Badger vaccination: support landowners to use the injectable BadgerBCG vaccine and continue development of an oral badger vaccine. Vaccination project are currently on hold due to a global shortage of BCG vaccine.
- Cattle vaccination: complete development of a cattle vaccine and secure changes to EU regulation to permit its commercial deployment
The latest news
The first ever national conference on badger vaccinations is to take place at Derby University this April.
The first ever National conference on badger vaccinations will take place at Derby University on 27th April, 2019. Organised by…
Two weeks in the life of a badger vaccination volunteer
Paul Hobson, Wildlife Photographer, talks us through his experience of volunteering with our badger vaccination team.
The Wildlife Trusts call for more investment in badger vaccination
The Wildlife Trusts' response to new figures released by the government.
How you can help
This important work takes a great deal of our time and resources. Thanks to donations received so far, we have been able to train a team of vaccinators and other volunteers to support the vaccination programme.
Please continue to give to this appeal. The more money we raise, the more we can do to help protect Derbyshire’s badgers and fight the scourge of bovine TB.