With badger vaccination already underway in the Intensive Action Area (IAA) in Wales, the spotlight this month has turned on England, where the High Court has decided not to quash the Coalition Government’s proposals to kill badgers during a two-day judicial review in June which resulted from a legal challenge by the Badger Trust.
David Williams, Chairman of the Badger Trust, said “Scotland is officially bTB-free and the Welsh Government has decided to vaccinate badgers and step up its cattle-focussed measures rather than kill badgers unnecessarily. However, despite a constant stream of evidence that culling will make matters worse and growing consternation from many farmers, the Coalition Government intends to press ahead with its expensive and pointless policy.”
The Badger Trust says it will now study the judgment closely and consider the next steps in its campaign.
Meanwhile the Wildlife Trusts have also responded to the result of the judicial review, with the following statement being released in England: “The Wildlife Trusts’ involvement with this issue over a long period of time has led us to the conclusion that a sustained programme of vaccination, alongside improved biosecurity measures, improved testing and controls on cattle movement would be the best means of tackling bTB. There is an available badger vaccine already being deployed by the Government in Wales and the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust in England. Despite spending millions on developing a badger vaccine, the Government has yet to provide incentives for landowners to use it.”
“The Wildlife Trusts are concerned that the current approach to vaccination is piecemeal. Many landowners interested in deploying the badger vaccine have approached their local Wildlife Trust for advice, as the information is not available centrally. We urge the Government to develop a clear strategy for the deployment of badger vaccination to help increase private deployment of the vaccine. A more coordinated approach to badger vaccination would help to increase use of the vaccine by allowing information to be shared more effectively and could also help to reduce to reduce costs to landowners.”
Meanwhile in Wales, WTSWW is deeply saddened to learn this month of the death of Gareth Morgan, the ‘Mid Wales Badger Man’. Gareth, who spent decades visiting his local badger sett, was an incredibly knowledgeable badger ecologist who was always delighted to share his knowledge and passion, and was a staunch supporter of the anti-cull campaign. WTSWW’s thoughts are with Gareth’s family and friends at this difficult time.