Badger Vaccination Project
BBOWT, along with other Wildlife Trusts, has demonstrated that vaccinating badgers is a viable alternative to culling in the battle against bovine TB
In 2014 BBOWT set up a Mammal Project to vaccinate badgers on key nature reserves in order to protect our own and graziers’ cattle from bovine TB and to promote the use of vaccination rather than culling badgers.
Four BBOWT staff trained with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to be able to carry out badger vaccinations in a safe and humane way.
The scheme was subsequently extended and we are currently vaccinating on key nature reserves in west Oxfordshire, and in West Berkshire where the vaccination project includes nature reserves, local authority land and private farmland.
Why we are vaccinating badgers against bovine TB
The Wildlife Trusts believe an evidence-based and scientifically reliable approach must be developed to counteract the risk posed to cattle by bovine TB. The government has seen no definitive benefits from three years of industry-led culling of badgers in England.
There is robust, scientific evidence to prove that badger vaccination reduces the transmission of bovine TB in badgers. BBOWT would like to see more strategic and widespread badger vaccination schemes along with a focus on the significantly larger problem of cattle to cattle transmission bovine TB.
Thursday 5th March 2020 latest news: Culling of badgers across England will begin to be phased out in the next few years, the government has announced, with vaccination of the animals being increased.
BBOWT – which has campaigned for a halt to the badger cull ever since it began – is delighted that vaccination gets priority in the fight against bovine tuberculosis.
The history of BBOWT's badger vaccination project
2012: BBOWT starts its first vaccination programme at Chimney Meadows. At this point there are no dedicated BBOWT staff for the vaccination project and staff do not have appropriate qualifications, so the Oxfordshire Mammal Group is commissioned to carry out the vaccinations for the first two years.
April 2014: BBOWT sets up a Mammal Project to vaccinate badgers on BBOWT reserves in west Oxfordshire. Four members of BBOWT staff train with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to be able to carry out badger vaccinations in a safe and humane way.
2015: BBOWT establishes a new vaccination scheme covering 15km2 of nature reserves, local authority land and private farmland in West Berkshire. The project is supported by DEFRA under the Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme.
2016: A shortage of vaccine results in the suspension of all badger vaccination programmes during 2016.
2017: BBOWT successfully imports an alternative vaccine to use and vaccinations resume.
February 2018: BBOWT receives £66,000 from DEFRA to continue and expand our vaccination scheme in West Berkshire over the next four years under the Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme 2 (BEVS 2). BBOWT is also committed to continuing to fund and implement vaccinations on our key nature reserves in Oxfordshire.
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