Penwith badger vaccination project is launched

Posted on: 5th November 2013

Local MP, Andrew George, was pleased to assist at the recent commencement of the badger vaccination project which Professor Rosie Woodroffe (of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL)) and he had proposed as the most effective method of combating TB transmission from badgers to cattle.

Mr George and Professor Woodroffe were pleased that the plan had commenced without any hitches or impediments. Once the pilot is completed, the intention is to roll out the badger vaccination project across the whole of the 200 km2 of the Penwith peninsula over the next five years.

This year the small pilot – on four or five contiguous farms – will provide essential information to assist with the preparations for the roll out of a large-scale project from spring next year. This year’s pilot will continue until sufficient badgers have been vaccinated.

Professor Rosie Woodroffe said: “Bovine TB is a huge problem for farmers in Cornwall and elsewhere in Britain. As controversy rages around badger culling in other parts of the country, it’s exciting to see wildlife groups working alongside farmers to try to help find a sustainable solution.”

Mr George said: “If we find – as we expect – that the practical challenges of undertaking the vaccination project are manageable then it will be significantly scaled up over the next five years. I am delighted that the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) has now appointed a Project Co-ordinator and is planning for project success.

“There is of course much further work to be done. I have a meeting with the Madron and Praze Young Farmers Clubs members next week to explore ways in which they could help and also with Defra Minister, George Eustice MP, in a couple of weeks time when Professor Rosie Woodroffe and I will update Defra officials and Ministers on the progress of the pilot project and compare our results with the Government’s pilots in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

“Badgers are remarkable creatures and I’m certain that the many people who have volunteered to take part will learn a lot and have great fun.”

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