(Above) badger © Wild Stock, (below) badger vaccinations in Dorset © Sam Stewart
Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) is disappointed to hear that applications have been submitted to Natural England to carry out badger culls in Dorset later this year.
DWT supports and promotes alternative solutions to help control the spread of the devastating disease Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB). To demonstrate alternatives to badger culling, the wildlife conservation charity has been carrying out a badger vaccination programme in west and north Dorset, which is now in its third year.
"Sympathetic to the farmers"
Chief Executive of DWT, Dr Simon Cripps, said: “As an owner of a herd of cattle, Dorset Wildlife Trust is extremely sympathetic to the farmers whose cattle are affected by this devastating disease, but we urge the Government to consider the scientific evidence which indicates that the cull will not reduce Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle.The problem could even be made worse as increasing the movement of potentially infected badgers into an area cleared of badgers could risk contact between them and uninfected cattle.”
Culls cost £3,350 per badger
In 2013 pilot badger culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire ended in failure to meet required targets. In Somerset just 65% of the badger population was removed in a nine week period, when the cull aimed to remove at least 70% in six weeks. In Gloucestershire only 39% were removed in eleven weeks. The two culls cost £3,350 per badger on average, according to The Telegraph.*
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.
To support the badger vaccination programme DWT is carrying out on selected reserves in Dorset, please click here. To find out more about donating to DWT’s badger vaccination programme click here.
*Telegraph article with cull costs: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/11229710/Badger-campaigners-lose-legal-battle-over-cull.html
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Follow us on Twitter @dorsetwildlife and facebook.com/dorsetwildlife
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.