Dorset Wildlife Trust has reacted with disappointment and regret to the Government’s decision to press ahead with a cull of badgers in pilot areas in England. The Wildlife Trusts are calling on the Government to put biosecurity and vaccination at the centre of efforts to tackle this disease and avoid wasting more time and money on a badger cull.
The cull could make the problem worse
Simon Cripps, Chief Executive of Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “We are very keen to see the eradication of Bovine TB but this not the answer. At the Government’s own best estimates, a cull would only reduce bTB by 16%. It could actually make the problem worse by spreading the disease onto farms previously unaffected.”
The Wildlife Trusts believe that Defra should concentrate effort on supporting landowners to improve on-farm biosecurity and in using the injectable BadgerBCG vaccine, continue to develop an oral vaccine for badgers and, best of all, complete development of a cattle vaccine and secure change to EU regulation to permit its commercial deployment.
Do what is right
Simon Cripps added: “We have a great deal of sympathy for farmers who lose stock as a result of bTB and are acutely aware of the problems this disease causes in Dorset. This is why we want to see an effective solution based on scientific advice and evidence. We urge the Government to do what is right by farmers and wildlife by eradicating this disease in cattle rather than wasting time and money on this cull.”
Earlier this year, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust was the first non-governmental organisation to begin deployment of the injectable BadgerBCG vaccine on seven of its nature reserves. The outcomes from this first year of a five-year vaccination programme are available in a published report at: www.wildlifetrusts.org/badgers-and-bovineTB.
Notes to Editor
1. For more information please contact Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
Wild About Weymouth and Portland is a partnership project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund through Natural England’s Access to Nature programme, involving Dorset Wildlife Trust, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Dorset Countryside (DCC) and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council. The project aims to improve access in and between important wildlife sites in the borough and encourage local people and visitors to discover, enjoy and help conserve the wonderful natural environment of Weymouth and Portland.
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Additional funding has been provided by Portland Gas Trust and the AONB.
2. Access to Nature is run by Natural England and is part of the The Big Lottery Fund’s
3. Natural England manages this £28.75 million Lottery-funded programme on behalf
Changing Spaces programme launched in November 2005 to help communities enjoy and
improve their local environments.
of a consortium of twelve national environmental organisations comprising BTCV,
British Waterways, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Greenspace,
Groundwork UK, Land Restoration Trust, The National Trust, Natural England,
RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts and the Woodland Trust.
4. Through this programme, it is Natural England’s ambition to create opportunities
5. Access to Nature closed to applications in May 2010 but for further information
for people from all backgrounds to have greater access to our natural environment
and bring a lasting change to their awareness and understanding as well as
improved links to the natural world, which many of us can take for granted.
about the programme visit www.naturalengland.org.uk/accesstonature
6. The Big Lottery Fund is the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004.For further information about the Big Lottery Fund, its programmes and awards visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk
Badger by Wildstock
Simon Cripps - Debbie Dye