Council backs Government decision to phase out badger culling

9 March 2020

The Council welcomes the Government’s decision to phase out badger culling and to ramp up vaccination instead.

The culling of badgers is currently allowed under licence in the UK and is intended to reduce tuberculosis in cattle. TB in cattle is a significant problem for farmers and more than 30,000 cattle are slaughtered each year due to infection.

In West Cheshire however, the Council had already taken the initiative to begin vaccinating badgers in September 2019, when it launched the first phase of a four year programme.

Councillor Karen Shore, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, said: “We welcome the news that the Government has announced its intention to phase out badger culling. 

"In Cheshire West and Chester, we took the decision to begin a badger vaccination programme last year because bovine TB (bTB) can have a devastating effect on the farming community in Cheshire. There is also significant evidence that vaccination is more impactful at controlling the spread of the disease. 

“Vaccination results in a 74 per cent reduction in the proportion of wild badgers testing positive to a blood test for bTB. We received a positive response from farmers and landowners in the vaccination area, and this announcement means we will now look to upscale the vaccination programme.”

The vaccine is administered by trained volunteers from Cheshire Badger Vaccination Programme (CBVP), who are working in partnership with the Council to deliver the planned vaccination programme. Volunteers from Northwich Woodlands including Marbury Park have also assisted with the vaccination programme.

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