Badger Cull - our position on the proposed roll-out

Tuesday 1st August 2017

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust strongly opposes the extension of the badger cull to new areas which we believe will be ineffective and could risk making the situation worse. Culling on this scale raises concerns about the removal of a key species on local ecosystems and Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, as a conservation charity, will not allow any culling on our nature reserves.

We are very conscious of the hardship that bovine TB (bTB) causes in the farming community. Through management of our own land and while in partnership with farmers across the county, we have seen the devastating effects of this disease first-hand. This only reinforces our commitment to find the right mechanisms to control this disease to the benefit of all.

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust will not allow badgers to be culled on its nature reserves. Herefordshire Wildlife Trust is very concerned that with the current rate of roll out, our reserves will become the last refuge of badgers in large area where badgers will be culled to near extinction.

The primary route of bTB infection is via cattle-to-cattle transmission, and Herefordshire Wildlife Trust believe that the control of bTB in cattle should be the main focus of efforts to control this problem.

Cattle vaccination offers the ultimate solution to reduce and eliminate bTB in the cattle population. Herefordshire Wildlife Trust calls on the Government to:

  • accelerate and prioritise research into cattle vaccination and the oral badger vaccination where progress so far has been slow and inadequate.
  • evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot culls on the rate of bTB incidence in cattle, the impact of culling on the local badger population (namely, the target of removing over 70% of the population) and the humaneness of the cull

In the absence of cattle vaccination, Herefordshire Wildlife Trust believe that more priority should be given to improved:

  • biosecurity on farms (especially in the light of new evidence which shows how slurry management practices may be exacerbating transmission)
  • testing of cattle for bTB
  • controls on cattle movements.

We also believe that the vaccination of badgers is a more humane and cost-effective solution than culling to helping stop the spread of bTB.

We welcome the Government’s announcement that supplies of the vaccine are sufficient to allow Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme to resume in 2018 and the programme should be extended.

The Wildlife Trusts have identified the actual cost of vaccination is £82 per badger in 2015 compared to the cull which costs £6,800 per badger. 

Click here to go to Herefordshire Wildlife Trust's full policy statement.