A badger cull is expected to soon be announced by the Government and to begin across over 50 areas in England this Autumn. A list of the cull areas, believed to have been leaked by Government, revealed several areas including Derbyshire appearing on the list for the first time.
Shadow Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Daniel Zeichner, joined the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust vaccination team on Thursday morning to take part in a vaccination.
“Bovine TB is a horrible disease, causing distress and heartbreak for British farmers, and huge costs for the taxpayer,” said Zeichner. “We all want to see an end to it. This requires improved livestock management systems and vaccination for badgers and cattle. But the Government seems determined to keep culling more and more badgers. This must stop.”
A recent study by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has shown that a badger cull cannot be justified in Derbyshire, including in the Government’s own terms, because there is no evidence that TB is endemic in badgers in the county (1).
Earlier this year the Government said in response to the Godfray review (2) that it intended to move away from culling and wanted to expand badger vaccination across the country.
This is not the first time Derbyshire residents have resisted a badger cull. Last year over 4,000 residents voiced their opposition, contacting local MPs and national government. The campaign was a success and the cull license was not issued.
Tim Birch, Director of Nature’s Recovery at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, believes that this reversal has angered the local community. “Following the decision last year not to kill Derbyshire badgers, and the governments apparent commitment to expanding vaccination, a cull here would be senseless. It is a betrayal of the hundreds of volunteers what have worked so hard on badger vaccination, goes against the government’s own criteria and completely ignores the wishes of local residents. If it comes the cull will not discriminate. Thousands of badgers, vaccinated or not, will be shot unless we prevent it. The thought is horrifying.”