Badgers To Be Vaccinated Against TB
8:41am 11th December 2013
(Updated 11:38am 11th December 2013)
A vaccination programme to curb Bovine TB in Badgers has been launched on land owned by Dorset's Wildlife Trust.
The charities made the move to demonstrate that treating the animals is safer and more humane than killing them.
Dorset was on standby to join the pilot cull that ran in Somerset and Gloucestershire this autumn with marksmen ready to enter fields around the county.
Dr Simon Cripps is Chief Executive of Dorset's Wildlife Trust told Wessex FM a number of local farmers have welcomed the move;
"We're doing it to protect cattle in the area and we've chosen nature reserves that are in the vicinity of cattle, and we're doing as a mark of support for the farming industry because this is a terrible disease that's causing significant damage to cattle farmers."
The pilot culls in Somerset and Gloucester were largely unsuccessful with marksmen failing to reach their kill targets - the Gloucestershire cull was abandoned in November. Dr Cripps says a cull was never a good idea and Dorset's Wildlife Trust has been working hard to find a more humane solution;
"The long term solution is to vaccinate cattle, that's where the problem is, but in the interim let's do what we can and there's a number of initiatives out there being developed in Dorset that are an alternative to a cull."
News of the vaccination programme has been welcomed by campaigners.
Andrew Butler from the group Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare told us he was pleased;
"It's fantastic that the Dorset Wildlife Trust is going to be vaccinating badgers on their land. We know for a fact that vaccinating badgers is effective and it can reduce TB in badgers, opposed to culling which is ineffective and could actually spread TB in cattle."
(Photo thanks to Dorset Wildlife Trust)