West Cornwall Badger Vaccine Project to start soon
Local MP, Andrew George, has announced that the community-led badger vaccine project he proposed nearly a year ago will get off the ground next month with a pilot on a number of Penwith farms. He will meet with a group of the 60 people who have volunteered to help today, Friday 13th September, to update supporters on progress of the project to tackle the growing problem of Bovine TB in cattle.
The meeting will take place at Cornwall Council offices, St Clare, Penzance. Mr George will be joined at the meeting by Professor Rosie Woodroffe of the Zoological Society of London.
Mr George said: “I’m pleased we can now confirm that the project will get underway in a few weeks time. Government funding will enable a monitored pilot project on 5 farms. This will help us with the scoping of the roll out of the vaccine in the next 5 years.
“This disease has had a devastating effect on cattle herds in this area for decades. Concerted action is necessary. It is clear that we cannot wait for solutions to arrive from Whitehall. Whatever is done needs to be scientifically sound and evidenced based.
“The badger culling pilots require a 70% cull of the badger population in a given area. When the culling trials were undertaken in West Cornwall about a decade ago, despite strenuous efforts and Government resources they couldn’t manage to kill more than 50% of the badger population within the trial area. It is therefore highly unlikely that West Cornwall will ever be identified as an area where the Government’s policy can proceed. Therefore, in the light of that, and for many other reasons, we cannot simply leave this disease to ravage our dairy and beef herds without taking action. Local farmers are at their wits end.
“I am delighted that so many people have volunteered to assist in a vaccination project. It is brilliant that the Zoological Society of London will manage the project and that we have secured the support of one of the most respected scientists in this field, Professor Rosie Woodroffe. It won’t be easy and could not proceed without the cooperation and support of local farmers and landowners.”