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Calls for badger vaccination to be rolled out

Calls for badger vaccination to be rolled out

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 4:20pm 24th January 2020.

Written by Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

A councillor is leading calls for Cornwall Council to roll out a programme of vaccinating badgers against TB on council-owned land.

Sue James tabled a motion at today’s full council meeting suggesting that the council should try to help in efforts to eradicate TB in badgers.

Bovine TB has been a big problem for farmers across the country and one of the ways of tackling the issue has been to cull badgers – an approach taken by the government.

But Cllr James said the council should work with partners including the National Trust and Cornwall Wildlife Trust to vaccinate badgers instead.

Under her proposal the council would roll out a vaccination programme on council-owned and council-managed land including the county farms estate.

In her motion she stated: “Whilst the causes and route to eradicating Bovine TB is controversial, vaccinating badgers against the disease can eliminate them from being transmitters leaving farmers to focus on improving biosecurity and testing standards to reduce transmission within and between
cattle herds.

“The rationale behind this motion is that not all badgers in a sett will have TB, just a percentage, and Cornwall Wildlife Trust suggests this might be up to 20%.

“Badgers, in the wild, live for three to five years. So vaccination for four or five years will mean almost all diseased animals have died and the cubs born into the sett are protected. So, it does not take many years of this approach to change a sett from one with some infected individuals into a ‘clean’ one.”

Chairman of the council Hilary Frank did not allow the motion to be debated but instead referred it to Cabinet due to the resource implications of the motion if approved.

Cllr James addressed councillors and insisted that she was not trying to tell farmers what to do.

She said that TB had a “devastating effect” on farmers and she believed that vaccination of badgers was the best way forward.

“If we have the potential to eliminate TB from our badger population, why would you not support this?”

She added: “I am not saying that vaccinating badgers is the solution to bovine TB but a combination of vaccination and movement control could help. We will have played our part.”

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