Following the announcement made by MP Owen Paterson, Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) is pleased that the Government’s badger culling policy is not currently being rolled out to further areas in the UK, including Dorset.
The failure of the pilot culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire, which were met with strong public opposition, has strengthened the need to explore alternatives to badger culling. In March, a debate in the House of Commons saw 219 MPs vote in favour of the Government to drop culling, with only one who voted against the motion.
DWT wants to see the eradication of the devastating disease Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) and understands the serious implications for farmers who lose stock as a result, but believes there are more effective and reliable ways of controlling the disease, such as better biosecurity, badger vaccination and, in the long term, cattle vaccination.
DWT’s Director of Conservation, Imogen Davenport, said: “Dorset Wildlife Trust does not view this as a victory and is very sympathetic to farmers who suffer as a result of the devastating Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) disease. However scientific study has concluded that badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to the control of bTB in cattle. We believe that there are alternative ways to control the disease and we welcome Defra’s announcements in relation to these measures.”
A five-year badger vaccination programme started last year started on selected DWT reserves, which will continue in 2014 and beyond to demonstrate there are viable alternatives to culling.
Despite DWT’s successful appeal to start vaccinating badgers, more funds are needed to cover the costs of the five-year vaccination programme. To donate from a mobile, simply text BADG13 and £(amount) to 70070, or you can find more information and donate online by visiting www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/badgers.