MP proposes badger vaccination programme for West Cornwall

Following the Government’s decision not to proceed with a badger cull in Somerset and Gloucester, West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, is to call on the support of farmers and wildlife experts to undertake a badger vaccination programme to bear down on the problem of bovine TB outbreaks in local cattle herds.

West Cornwall had been identified by the Government as the origins of the growth of bovine tuberculosis across the British cattle herd and which is still most prevalent in the west of the country. Mr George had supported the previous Government’s trial which included the proactive culling of badgers over a decade ago and has, in recent parliamentary debates, strongly advocated a science-based response to the problem of bovine tuberculosis outbreaks in British cattle herds. He doubts whether the Government will actually be able to proceed with their badger cull and is not persuaded that there is sufficient scientific evidence that it will be effective and fears that the Government’s approach may only make the situation worse. In the light of that, he is asking local stakeholders not to wait for the Government to act but to come together and act collectively to bear down on the problem of bovine TB.

Mr George said, “The most useful thing that we can now do is to galvanise the support of the local community, many of whom are up in arms at the idea of culling badgers, and ask them to offer their voluntary support in a vaccination programme across West Cornwall. Some local landowners have already commenced a vaccination programme on their own land, so there is gathering experience.

“I’m also delighted that one of the lead scientists behind the original RBCT experiment, Professor Rosie Woodroffe, has offered her support for this project.

“In the absence of any other likely constructive initiative, I believe that our local cattle farmers deserve the support of a wider community in attempting to get on top of this devastating cattle and badger disease.”

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