Culling is not the answer says wildlife chief

Posted on 12th August 2011 | in Community , Heritage & Tourism

Northumberland Wildlife Trust is extremely disappointed at the Government’s decision to pursue yet more trials of badger culling, as the wildlife charity does not see culling as the solution to the problem of bovine tuberculosis (bTB).

To press ahead with these pilots ignores the main body of scientific evidence relating to culling, which shows that at best it is ineffective, and at worst can exacerbate the problem.

The Trust acknowledges bTB is a significant problem that causes hardship for many in the farming community but believes there will be no winners from continuing to pursue badger culling as an option.

Mike Pratt, Northumberland Wildlife Trust Chief Executive said: “This issue demands a scientific and practical approach.  The rationale for, and practicality of, any cull of native species needs to be extremely clear and well proven. In this case it is not.

The Wildlife Trusts throughout the UK strongly support the development of the bTB vaccine for cattle and an oral vaccine for badgers.  It welcomes the Government’s continued funding for this and urges wide-scale deployment. It sees vaccines as a critical ‘tool in the toolkit’ to help break the disease cycle and significantly reduce the levels of infection in cattle.

Mike continued: “There is already an injectable vaccine available for badgers, yet last year the Government cut funding for trialling it.

“Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust embarked on the first such injectable vaccination trial, of its own initiative, at the end of June.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust strongly supports the development of the bTB vaccine for cattle and an oral vaccine for badgers and is keen for the farming community, conservation organisations and the Government to continue to work together to confront this disease.

Photo: Darin Smith

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