As debate continues over controversial plans to cull badgers to stop the spread of TB in cattle, Derbyshire campaigners aim to raise £50,000 to vaccinate the county’s badger population...
With Bovine Tuberculosis causing devastation to many farmers – and even posing a threat to human safety – it is obvious that action needs taken to curb the problem.
This is why the Government has given the go-ahead to kill approximately 5,000 badgers, or 70 per cent of the estimated population, in Somerset and Gloucestershire.
If these culls are deemed successful at reducing bovine TB in the area, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson plans to extend them to a further 40 zones – including Derbyshire – within four years resulting in the elimination of an estimated 100,000 badgers.
Problem solved then, you may think. However, many don’t share the coalition’s optimism.
Edd Green, of Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, believes the Government is “misguided” and is taking a stand against the policy.
“Science has already proven that culling provokes disturbed behaviour in badgers, leading to movement between normally settled groups. This could make the bovine TB situation worse as badgers move from a cull zone and spread the disease to new areas,” said Edd.
Owing to this, Debyshire Wildlife Trust is launching a campaign to raise £50,000 so they can vaccinate badgers across the county.
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s Conservation Manager Tim Birch explains: “We are aiming to trap and vaccinate badgers in specific locations over a five-year period. This will involve obtaining licences, buying vaccine and traps and training vaccinators. The costs over five years will come to around £50,000.”
Thirteen other wildlife trusts in TB affected areas have started badger vaccination programmes.
In Wales, the Government opted for a vaccination programme of badgers rather than a cull and their programme has been underway now for over a year.
Chair of the trust Tony Hams said: “Badgers are iconic and beautiful as well as being a protected species. We believe the Government is wrong to go ahead with shooting these creatures.”
To support the Trust’s badger vaccination work, you can send a cheque made payable to Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to Derbyshire Wildlife Trust Badger Appeal, East Mill, Bridge Foot, Belper, Derbyshire, DE56 1XH. To find out more online visit www.derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk.