(Above) Badger by Wildstock (Below) Vaccinator releasing badger straight after vaccination by Sam Stewart.
Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) hopes that the first step to changing Government policy on badger culling has been taken, as 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 it.
DWT welcomes the support for the motion put forward by Anne Main MP to halt the current policy, and believes it is the right decision to drop badger culling, with a priority given to a strategic vaccination programme.
Last year, pilot 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.
This shows MPS finally understand culling is not the way forward
Chief Executive of Dorset Wildlife Trust, Simon Cripps said: “This overwhelming vote in favour of halting the cull, which has failed in both Somerset and Gloucestershire, shows that MPs finally understand that culling is not the way forward in attempting to control the disease Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle. Dorset Wildlife Trust would like to encourage those farmers who favour a cull in Dorset to consider alternative options, such as badger vaccination.”
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.
Now is the time for hard - but right- decisions from the Government
After fantastic support from the public for a badger vaccination, a five-year programme started on selected DWT nature reserves last autumn, to demonstrate that there is a safe, humane alternative to badger culling.
Simon Cripps added: “Dorset Wildlife Trust’s understanding from Defra is that if badger culling continues despite the failure of the pilots, it would be highly likely to start in Dorset in 2014, so now is the time for Government to make the hard but right decision to end culling and back a vaccination plan.”
Find out more and support badgers in Dorset
To find out more information about DWT’s vaccination programme and to donate, click here.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
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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.