Earlier this year, a cull licence application was submitted for an, as yet unidentified, area within Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, but Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust believes that any local cull would undermine the progress made with the vaccination programme and constitute a considerable waste of public and private money at a time when public resources are under unique pressure. Efforts to stop the spread of bTB should instead be focused on stopping cattle to cattle transmission through movement of infected cattle, developing a cattle vaccine, improved biosecurity and vaccination of badgers.
Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust believes that the pace of policy development and a recent High Court ruling call into question the current application process and would like to see it halted.
In March the Government issued its response to the Godfray review, a review of its 25 Year Bovine TB Strategy, making clear that it wishes to see badger vaccination programmes substantially expanded. Earlier this month the High Court rejected the National Farmer’s Union (NFU) Appeal against a ruling to not allow culling in Derbyshire, where Derbyshire Wildlife Trust have successfully been delivering badger vaccinations across a wide area, and on Friday 14th May Defra announced a new 6-week consultation on proposals to manage the delivery of both badger vaccination and culling in Edge counties such as Leicestershire.
Speaking on behalf of Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, Head of Conservation, John Clarkson, said: “
The new consultation on badger vaccination and culling in Edge areas as a result of the Godfray Review is a significant development and it is frustrating that the continuing threat of a potential cull is undermining the success of our vaccination programme.”