The UK Government is due to announce several new areas for badger culling this September. The Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) is deeply saddened and concerned that Oxfordshire will be among those counties where shooting of badgers will be allowed in an attempt to control the spread of bovine TB in cattle.
A leaked report appears to indicate that culling will be licenced for the first time in several counties including Oxfordshire, next month. If this happens the badger cull will begin in September 2020 resulting in the death of thousands of healthy badgers, including those that may have already been vaccinated.
Since 2014, BBOWT has been running a successful badger vaccination programme. The results have proven that there is a much more humane way to tackle bovine tuberculosis that is also at least 60 times cheaper per badger than culling.
Alongside other Wildlife Trusts, BBOWT has also worked tirelessly to lobby MPs, respond to Government consultations, and garner support from the public, which has so far been successful at preventing culling being introduced in Berkshire and Oxfordshire. In March 2020 BBOWT welcomed the announcement that culling of badgers across England will begin to be phased out in the next few years, with increased support for badger vaccinations.
However, the threat has now returned, and BBOWT will be contacting members and supporters in the next few days, asking them to urge the Government not to press ahead with the widespread destruction of this iconic protected species.
For more information and facts about the science behind the badger culls, visit The Wildlife Trusts' website which summarises some of the key scientific evidence on bovine TB, with papers available to download in full.