Vaccinating badgers against bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is an affordable and viable alternative to culling according to a new report, published today, by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.

The Badger Vaccination Deployment Programme, which took place this summer, was the first of its kind in the UK undertaken by a private organisation. Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust ran the programme at seven of its nature reserves, including a dairy farm; a total of 170 hectares.

The report outlines the full costs involved in the trial and demonstrates that if groups of land owners join together to vaccinate badgers against bTB, it would become affordable with no associated negative impact. Culling, as its most vocal supporters admit, may increase bTB in neighbouring herds through perturbation and as yet no proven benefit.

“We are delighted with the results. The report provides proof that there is an affordable alternative to the proposed cull” Said Dr. Gordon McGlone OBE, Chief Executive of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.

“Bovine TB is a big problem but local culling of one of our much-loved native animals is not the answer. Scientists have spent that last 12 years investigating whether killing badgers will halt this serious disease in cattle and the answer they are getting is that it could well make the problem worse.”

The report suggest ways in which badger vaccination could be made cheaper, such as the removal of the Certificate of Competence costs and also recommends a free bTB vaccine advisory service is set up.

Costing only £51 per hectare, The Trust wants the Government and landowners to take badger vaccination seriously as a viable alternative to the proposed cull.