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RSPB: Badger vaccination is the best step for farmers, cattle and wildlife

Last modified: 17 September 2012

Badger emerging from sett

Image: Steve Round

The RSPB will this autumn be taking positive steps towards controlling bovine Tb by vaccinating badgers on its land at Highnam Woods in Gloucestershire.

The announcement comes after Natural England today issued the first licence permitting the control of badgers in West Gloucestershire.

The Society's Highnam Woods reserve lies just outside this trial zones.

The national wildlife charity believes vaccination is the best way to both ensure the health of the badgers on its land and act as good neighbours to nearby farmers who could be affected by the forthcoming trial.

Martin Harper said: "The dairy industry has endured terrible times while trying to cope with this devastating disease.

"However, we have never been convinced that the best way to help farmers is to force them to foot the bill for a contentious cull that is only expected to reduce outbreaks by about 16 per cent.

"This is a lot of effort for a small gain. Bovine Tb needs tackling properly and we believe vaccination offers the best hope for cattle, badgers and the industry."

In addition the RSPB is concerned that if, after the trials, a cull in all affected areas is sanctioned then up to 30 per cent of the English badger population could be removed. This reduction through a cull would be unprecedented and would severely affect the conservation status of one of Britain's most-loved mammals.

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