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leading the Way?
Badger vaccination programme underway at
The controversial subject of badger culling has been a hot topic in the West
Country for a number of years. To cull or to vaccinate has split farmers and
land owners across the country, leaving those with smallholdings confused by
what options are available to them.
A luxury holiday resort in Portreath has joined in the debate, by signing up
to a five-year vaccination programme for the 100 acre holiday site and
Feadon Farm, part of the Gwel an Mor five star lodge complex, has teamed up
with Cornwall Badger Rescue to undertake a vaccination trial.
Gary Zammit Wildlife Ranger at Feadon Farm said: “Being a centre for
conservation and promotion of British Wildlife it seemed preposterous for us
to consider culling the local badger population.
“When we found out about the assistance offered by Cornwall Badger Rescue in
vaccinating against Bovine TB it seemed like a logical and pro-active step
Working with a team of volunteers, the group found the entrances to a number
of sets, dug in the traps and monitored them over a period of a week. At the
end of surveillance they humanely caught the badgers, vaccinated them and
released them unharmed back into their sets.
The vaccinations were paid for by Feadon Farm at Gwel an Mor, while the
traps and labour were provided by Cornwall Badger Rescue. The vaccination
protects the animals from TB for the next five years.
Gary said: “The debate between farmers is very well played out in the media.
What is less covered is what smallholders, and indeed residents with a
badger population in their garden can do to combat the spread of TB. What we
need are more people to get in contact with the Cornwall Badger Rescue group
to volunteer and help fund the project. We need to get out there and start
Bob Speechley, Co-ordinator at Cornwall Badger Rescue said: “It is not known
how badgers contract bTB from cattle and while it is acknowledged that about
one in seven badgers may be infected, they are not all infectious.
“Vaccinating badgers stops TB in badgers and reduces the severity of the
disease in those that are infected. A reduction in the prevalence and
severity of disease in the badger population will reduce the potential for
transmission of TB from badgers to cattle.
“Cornwall Badger Rescue firmly believes that vaccinations for badgers, and
in the long term for cattle, is the real solution to reducing the incidence
of bTB. We are encouraging farmers and land owners to vaccinate their
badgers rather than to kill them. There are many, farmers who have no wish
to have their badgers killed.”
For more information see www.cornwall-badger-rescue.co.uk or for more
information on Feadon Farm see www.feadonfarmwildlife.co.uk
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