Record number of badgers vaccinated in Cornwall

According to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust (CWT) a record number of badgers have been vaccinated against bovine tuberculosis (bTB).

251 badgers have been vaccinated in Cornwall so far in 2022.

The trust, working with farmers and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), hopes to expand the program across more of Cornwall in the future.

The government said its strategy to eradicate TB included “expansion of badger vaccination projects”.

Last month it announced new slaughter licences, including two in Cornwall, but said it does not plan to issue any more in the future as part of its long-term plan.

Emma Ead said the vaccination program on her farm had been a success

Emma Ead is a farmer near Stephen and has been part of the mid-Cornwall vaccination program for four years.

Her farm had previously lost about 25 cattle to TB over a three-year period, which she described as “heartbreaking”.

She said: “Since the vaccinations started four years ago, we’ve been clear of TB. They caught seven last year and also tested the badger’s blood, and everyone came back negative for TB, so there’s Let’s hope now that they have received vaccination.

“It’s also really great to tell members of the public that we’re vaccinating badgers, not killing them.

“We are vaccinating and these badgers are living.”

Emma Jealous

In total the mid Cornwall project has provided more than 200 badger vaccinations in four years

In 2021, 188 badgers were vaccinated in Cornwall.

ZSL vaccinations currently work on around 10% of the trust’s nature reserves, but they would like to expand this further.

Defra said: “Our bovine TB eradication strategy is working and there has been a significant reduction in this disease.

“As a result of the progress made, we are now in a position to move on to the next phase of the long-term eradication strategy, which includes expanding badger vaccination projects together with better cattle testing and working towards a vaccine develop cattle.”

A cow

Current vaccination projects are taking place in central Cornwall, Penwith and the Cober near Helston

Rosie Woodroffe, professor at ZSL and head of the Cornell Badger Project, said: “Badgers play a small but important role in the bovine TB problem, and scientists predict that vaccinating them could help eradicate bTB, when combined with combine it with controls aimed at. cattle.

“As government policy moves towards badger culling and badger vaccination, the on-the-ground evidence we are gathering should help landowners across the country decide whether to continue pioneering farmers who are working with Cornwall Wildlife Trust and ZSL. “

Tom Shelley

Cornwall Wildlife Trust is asking farmers and landowners to contact them to learn more about vaccination

The trust is asking farmers or landowners to contact them if they want to learn more about vaccination.

Tom Shelley, conservation manager, said: “We’re trying to stimulate a bit more interest across the county.

“We have an appeal on our website, to try and raise more funding for more badger vaccinations. And we also want to hear from those landowners who want to see vaccination on their land – that is the really important part of enabling us to do more. vaccination across Cornwall.”

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