Badger cull delay welcomed by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust
1:24pm Tuesday 23rd October 2012 in News
GLOUCESTERSHIRE Wildlife Trust has welcomed a decision to delay a cull of badgers in the county.
But GWT chief executive Dr Gordon McGlone said while the delay was welcome, he was disappointed by the motive given by the Government.
The delay was announced on Tuesday amid concerns that higher than expected badger numbers, and delays in licensing the cull in both West Gloucestershire and West Somerset, would make it impossible to achieve the 70 per cent reduction in the animal's numbers needed for the cull to be a success.
Dr McGlone said they would use the reprieve to continue pushing for the Government to instead roll out the use of vaccines to eradicate bovine tuberculosis from both cattle and badgers.
"The Trust has again shown that the current badger bTB vaccine can be used practically as it has just completed its second year badger vaccination programme on nature reserves," he said. "Badger vaccination must be used more widely and fully integrated in to the Government’s bTB control programme.”
GWT is one of 12 UK wildlife trusts working on badger vaccination programmes. Gloucestershire's 2011 trial was the first of its kind and suggested vaccination was could be an affordable and viable alternative to culling.
The National Farmers Union (NFU), which was responsible for implementing the cull, has written to Environment Secretary Owen Paterson requesting that the pilot badger culls in both regions go ahead as planned next year.
Mr Paterson said he remained committed to a cull next summer.
"I am utterly convinced that badger control is the right thing to do," he said. "The higher than expected badger numbers only serve to underline the need for urgent action."