Vaccinating badgers against bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is still a practical and cost effective way of dealing with the disease – according to Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.
The progress of a badger vaccination scheme on two undisclosed nature reserves in Staffordshire is part of a new report published last week by the Wildlife Trusts.
The report outlines that although offering the most effective approach to dealing with bovine TB in badgers, vaccination represents only one element of an bigger strategy in dealing with the disease in cattle, and should be delivered alongside a comprehensive package of cattle measures.
Helen Dale, head of people and property at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust said: "We are calling for a nationally co-ordinated, and funded, badger vaccination strategy to be delivered in conjunction with measures to tackle the disease in cattle.
"We firmly believe that vaccination offers the most effective, long-term and sustainable approach to bTB in badgers, and there is a strong scientific evidence base supporting this view.
"It can play a real role in reducing transmission of bTB between cattle and badgers.
"Working with many farmers and landowners across the county, we are well aware of the hardship that bovine TB can cause, and it is vital that we find the right mechanisms to control this disease and the emphasis of all our efforts should be to find an effective, long-term solution."
The trust is in the second of a five-year vaccination programme on the two badger communities.
During the vaccination process, wild badgers will be captured overnight in 'live' traps, before being treated with the vaccine the following morning and then released.
Vaccinated badgers will be humanely marked, with the traps reset and the process repeated for unmarked badgers.
The same areas will be revised annually for five years, to ensure the majority of the local population is vaccinated.
Donations to the vaccination scheme can be made online, via text message or by post.
Either visit www.justgiving.com/badgerappeal, donate £10 by text message by texting BADG1210 to 70070, or to donate via post send a cheque payable to Staffordshire Wildlife Trust to, Badger Appeal, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, Freepost NAT4847, Stafford, ST17 0BR.
To download the report visit www.wildlifetrusts.org.