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Five-year badger jab project starts
10:00am Friday 27th December 2013 in Headlines
A FIVE-year programme of badger vaccinations has started on selected Dorset Wildlife Trust reserves, ahead of a possible cull in 2014.
The trust aims to demonstrate a safe, humane alternative to badger culling as the government’s controversial pilot culls fail to meet its targets – but is due to be extended.
DWT says it wants to see the eradication of the devastating disease Bovine Tuberculosis and understands the serious effects on farmers who lose stock.
But it 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.
They say badger vaccination has the potential to reduce bTB without increasing the transference of the disease among infected and healthy badgers and cattle that culling would bring.
“We were extremely disappointed to see the government drive forward with the badger cull in Somerset and Gloucestershire in August this year,” said Dr Simon Cripps, chief executive of Dorset Wildlife Trust. “The recent news that the pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset have finished with low numbers of badgers being shot, strengthens the need for the government to support alternative methods to culling.
“Our understanding from Defra is that if badger culling continues despite these failures, shooting in Dorset is highly likely to start in 2014.
“Thanks to our successful badger vaccination appeal, Dorset Wildlife Trust is pleased to be able to start a vaccination programme on selected nature reserves in Dorset, to both protect badgers and support farmers,” he said.
A small team of volunteers and staff completed a badger vaccination course run by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency and a licence was obtained from Natural England.
Humane traps baited with peanuts were set on some of the 40-plus reserves and the animals were vaccinated and released unharmed as quickly as possible.
There is more information and video clips on www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.
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