Wildlife Trusts to vaccinate in pilot badger cull areas

Media release

Immediate: 19 January 2012

Wildlife Trusts to vaccinate in pilot badger cull areas

Local Wildlife Trusts will pursue badger vaccination as a means of tackling bovine TB in the pilot badger cull areas announced today.

Badger (Meles meles) © Neil Aldridge

Badger (Meles meles) © Neil Aldridge

Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, said:
“The Wildlife Trusts are taking the lead in using vaccination to address the problem of bovine TB. During 2011, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust pioneered a badger vaccination programme on its reserves, which it is now expanding. Should the pilot cull go ahead, Gloucestershire and Somerset Wildlife Trusts will vaccinate badgers on their nature reserves within the pilot areas.
“A badger cull is not the right solution and the Government should be focusing on other measures to tackle bovine TB. The priority should be preventing transmission of the disease on-farm, through improved biosecurity, badger vaccination and making swift progress on a cattle vaccine.”

The Wildlife Trusts believe that Defra should pursue the following as a matter of priority:
• Support landowners to improve on-farm biosecurity and the deployment of the injectable BadgerBCG vaccine;
• Continue to develop an oral vaccine for badgers;
• Complete development of a cattle vaccine and secure change to EU regulation to permit its commercial deployment.

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 the first year of this five-year vaccination programme are available in a published report at: www.wildlifetrusts.org/badgers-and-bovineTB.

Contact information:

Anna Guthrie (Media & PR Manager)
Office: 01636 670075
Mobile: 07887 754659
Email: aguthrie@wildlifetrusts.org

Tanya Perdikou (Media & Campaigns Officer)
Office: 01636 670057
Mobile: 07887 754657
Email: tperdikou@wildlifetrusts.org

Emma Bradshaw (Marketing Manager – Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust)
Main Switchboard: 01452 383333
Mobile: 07740 922193
Email: emma.bradshaw@gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk

Beth Jerrett (Communications & PR Manager – Somerset Wildlife Trust)
Office: 01823 652413
Email: Beth.Jerrett@somersetwildlife.org

Notes for editors:
The Wildlife Trusts (TWT) wildlifetrusts.org
There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK. All are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. We have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of our junior branch Wildlife Watch. Our vision is to create A Living Landscape and secure Living Seas. We manage around 2,300 nature reserves and every year we advise thousands of landowners and organisations on how to manage their land for wildlife. We also run marine conservation projects around the UK, collecting vital data on the state of our seas and celebrating our amazing marine wildlife. Every year we work with thousands of schools and our nature reserves and visitor centres receive millions of visitors. Each Wildlife Trust is working within its local communities to inspire people about the future of their area: their own Living Landscapes and Living Seas.