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Dozens volunteer to carry out badger vaccinations

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: March 29, 2013

By Lyn Barton

Andrew

Andrew George

Comments (8)

A volunteer army of people prepared to administer a TB vaccine to badgers in the wild began to take shape yesterday.

The group emerged from a meeting called by St Ives MP Andrew George as part of a bid to tackle the growing problem of bovine TB in cattle without the need to resort to a cull.

He said it was a very encouraging start: "I am delighted that so many people are prepared to offer to become trained and licensed volunteers to assist in a vaccination project.

"It certainly won't be easy and could not proceed without the co-operation and support of local farmers."

The meeting in Penzance attracted about 40 people and in a show of hands most supported proceeding with the project and many said they wished to become more involved and knew people who would also want to lend a hand.

Professor Rosie Woodroffe, a senior fellow at the Institute of Zoology and one of the Government's independent scientific advisors, and the keynote speaker, said she was delighted but cautioned that farmers must be brought on board.

"I'm really excited by this level of support," she said.

"We can be as keen as we like, but it's not going to work if we can't get onto farmers' land and we won't get to do that if farmers see us as anti and against them."

Prof Woodroffe told the meeting that she was convinced a cull would lead to perturbation, a phenomenon where normally sedentary badgers are disturbed and flee their setts, spreading infection.

However, she said vaccination was also problematic as there were many unknowns, such as how quickly the benefits would emerge.

The meeting also heard from Alex Raeder from the National Trust about an on-going project to vaccinate badgers on the Killerton estate near Exeter.

He said that two-and-a-half years in and the results were quite positive.

However, he cautioned "if you want to have an impact on the disease you have to look at both (badger and cattle) together."

Cheryl Marriott, of Cornwall Wildlife Trust, told the meeting that vaccinating badgers on the Penwith peninsula would be an expensive undertaking and, according to her "very rough estimates" could cost over £4 million

However the meeting, held in Penzance, was not all plain sailing and at one point Mr George was heckled by a farmer in the 40-strong audience.

The man accused the coalition Government of being disinterested in the industry and caring more about internal wrangling, referring in particular to the controversial resignation of former chief whip Andrew Mitchell.

"You're more interested in Plebgate than you are worried about industry," he said, before other members of the audience called for more constructive comments.

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8 comments

  • farmersupport  |  April 04 2013, 9:58AM

    Clued-Up - the study you refer to also says that TB is transmitted by cattle grazing where badgers defacate. It is not just an airborne disease, it is transmitted in bodily fluids. That is the link. Try to take a balanced view, not just one side of the story. http://tinyurl.com/bmvfedd

  • Caz123  |  March 30 2013, 9:02PM

    I attended this meeting, everything in the article is absolutely true, but I do feel it, necessary, to add 1 or 2 things with reference to the farmer, which have possibly been forgotten, he started by asking about cattle vaccine and laying the blame at Brussels feet, granted, could've been a little calmer, but its understandable, he has lost a lot of cows to TB, but he is intelligent enough to know, badgers have little to do with it, there is no badger activity on his farm whatsoever and hasn't been for quite some time but he still has TB. So he hasn't got the luxury of being able to blame badgers, but he does want answers. He is not pro-cull! And I, would like to thank him for being the ownly farmer to attend. Thank-you, hope you get to read this! #badgercull 't'

    |   4
  • Caz123  |  March 30 2013, 8:59PM

    I attended this meeting, everything in the article is absolutely true, but I do feel it, necessary, to add 1 or 2 things with reference to the farmer, which have possibly been forgotten, he started by asking about cattle vaccine and laying the blame at Brussels feet, granted, could've been a little calmer, but its understandable, he has lost a lot of cows to TB, but he is intelligent enough to know, badgers have little to do with it, there is no badger activity on his farm whatsoever and hasn't been for quite some time but he still has TB. So he hasn't got the luxury of being able to blame badgers, but he does want answers. He is not pro-cull! And I, would like to thank him for being the ownly farmer to attend. Thank-you, hope you get to read this! #badgercull

    |   3
  • Caz123  |  March 30 2013, 8:58PM

    I attended this meeting, everything in the article is absolutely true, but I do feel it, necessary, to add 1 or 2 things with reference to the farmer, which have possibly been forgotten, he started by asking about cattle vaccine and laying the blame at Brussels feet, granted, could've been a little calmer, but its understandable, he has lost a lot of cows to TB, but he is intelligent enough to know, badgers have little to do with it, there is no badger activity on his farm whatsoever and hasn't been for quite some time but he still has TB. So he hasn't got the luxury of being able to blame badgers, but he does want answers. He is not pro-cull! And I, would like to thank him for being the ownly farmer to attend. Thank-you, hope you get to read this!

    |   4
  • fischadler  |  March 30 2013, 12:00PM

    Vaccinating badgers is the sensible approach to the problem of Bovine TB as is being proved in Wales and also being carried out by the RSPB, National Trust and Wildlife Trusts all over the country. Now that tourism is being hit by the badger cull it is time to call a halt to this uneconomic, unscientific and inhumane policy which will have little or no effect on Bovine TB. I have already contributed towards badger vaccination and I will continue to do so as it is the only way to combat Bovine TB together with better bio security, proper animal husbandry and a reduction in cattle movements.

    |   8
  • manicstreet  |  March 29 2013, 9:14PM

    why dont we have a george cull

    |   -7
  • Clued-Up  |  March 29 2013, 2:45PM

    There's a recent study which shows cattle and badgers very rarely have ANY direct contact with each other (ie there's a 1% chance of them meeting). TB is primarily an airborne disease so the lack of direct contact between cattle and badgers demonstrated by this research is yet more proof that badgers are virtually irrelevant to the spread of cattle bTB.

    |   8
  • Clued-Up  |  March 29 2013, 2:44PM

    There's a recent study which shows cattle and badgers very rarely have ANY direct contact with each other (ie there's a 1% chance of them meeting). TB is primarily an airborne disease so the lack of direct contact between cattle and badgers demonstrated by this research is yet more proof that badgers are virtually irrelevant to the spread of cattle bTB.

    |   5

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