Cornwall

Badgers TB vaccine: Cornwall expansion plans

  • 25 March 2015
  • From the section Cornwall
A badger
Image caption Prof Rosie Woodroffe, from the project, said up to 1,000 badgers could be vaccinated in the "next few years"

A trial to give Bovine TB vaccines to badgers will expand after it was deemed a success by scientists in Cornwall.

Eighty badgers were vaccinated between September and November and an expansion across Penwith, Cornwall, is planned.

Prof Rosie Woodroffe, from the project, said up to 1,000 badgers could be vaccinated in the "next few years" and it may be an alternative to the cull.

But the government said it was pursuing a "comprehensive 25-year strategy to deal with the disease".

The seven-year project is costing about £1m and is being funded by the Badger and Cattle Vaccination Initiative, the National Trust and through fundraising, with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) providing the trial with vaccinations for free.

Prof Woodroffe, who started the pilot in 2013, said it had so far been deemed a success because of "good participation from land owners" and meeting the 80 badger vaccination target.

She said: "TB is a terrible problem for farmers and badgers are part of that problem.

"It's been tested on badgers and reduces the risk. It has the potential to reduce the spread."

Sue James, who allowed the vaccination to take place on her land in West Cornwall, said: "It seems to me if there's a chance vaccinations can help farmers we should give it a go."

Defra said: "England has the highest incidence of bovine TB in Europe and that is why we are pursuing a comprehensive 25-year strategy to deal with the disease, which includes cattle controls, badger vaccination and culling badgers where TB is rife."

The Penwith peninsula covers the far west of Cornwall.

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