Wildlife Trust’s dismay at Government announcement

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has condemned the Government’s decision to pursue trials of badger culling in parts of England.

Secretary of State for the Environment Caroline Spelman announced last month that, along with other measures, a controlled trial culling programme would begin in an attempt to reduce the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB).

Derby North Labour MP Chris Williamson was among those taking part in the House of Commons debate. Mr Williamson referred to the proposed cull as “a new bloodsport” and pointed out that scientific evidence suggests that culling badgers could increase the likelihood of bTB.

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust chief executive Ed Green said: “We congratulate Mr Williamson for the stand he took during the debate. The Independent Scientific Group has concluded that badger culling provides no meaningful contribution. It is at best ineffective and at worst can exacerbate the problem. We are acutely aware of the devastating impact of bTB on farmers, but there will be no winners if badger culling is pursued.”

The Wildlife Trusts support the development of a bTB vaccine for cattle and an oral vaccine for badgers.

Ed Green added: “We welcome the Government’s continued funding for the development of a vaccine and would press for this avenue to be vigorously pursued alongside improved husbandry practices. We all – the farming community, Government and conservation organisations – need to work together to confront this devastating disease.”