NFU Joins Discussion on Edge Area Vaccination

UK - The NFU has joined other farming, wildlife and animal welfare groups at a workshop to discuss the practicalities of setting up badger vaccination projects in the ‘edge area’ in an attempt to slow the spread of bovine TB.
calendar icon 1 July 2014
clock icon 2 minute read
National Farmers Union

The proposal to develop projects in the edge area is being backed by the government as part of its 25-year strategy to eradicate bovine TB.

John Royle, NFU chief farm policy adviser who attended the workshop, said: “We’ve always said that we would support the idea of vaccinating badgers in the edge area as one of the measures to help slow disease spread.

“The day looked at the practicalities of delivering effective and sustainable badger vaccination projects and how it could be done successfully on a large scale. The key will be to develop something that is workable and demonstrate to farmers that the people undertaking the work will do so with skill and professionalism.

“We stressed the need to focus on the edge area to slow the spread and that some of the different organisations will need to work in partnership if it is going to succeed. It’s important that everyone is realistic about how much can be achieved with the resources that are available and a slow but considered start is inevitable.

“The next steps will be to identify suitable areas where we can secure farmer and landowner support and have the networks within the volunteering sector that are able to deliver a sustained programme of vaccination over many years.

“It’s also important farmers in the edge areas buy into the idea and are willing to allow vaccination to take place on their land if it’s practical. Until there is conclusive proof that vaccinating badgers will reduce the incidence in cattle we do not believe that farmers should be expected to contribute financially to projects.

“The workshop was a good first step and there was a sense of cautious optimism that if all the groups work together in a genuine joint partnership it could be successful.

“However, in high risk areas like Somerset and Gloucestershire we still believe controlling the disease in wildlife remains a crucial element of tackling TB and remain confident that the pilot badger culls will help deliver a reduction of TB in cattle in those areas.”

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