A change in Government policy has been welcomed by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. Last week Defra, the environment department announced that culling badgers to tackle the spread of TB in livestock is to be phased out in favour of vaccination.
Badgers are protected species and special licences are needed to shoot them. Culling was introduced in 2013, there were no culling licences granted on the Island, and this announcement means that none are likely to be granted in the future.
Defra plans to gradually phase out “intensive culling” following a breakthrough by the Animal and Plant Health Agency. Previously it was not possible to vaccinate cattle as tests for the disease could not differentiate between vaccinated animals and those infected by bovine TB, but an effective test has now been developed which can be trialled alongside the vaccine.
Debbie Tann, CEO of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, said: “The badger is one of our most beloved and remarkable native species and I urge the Government to rapidly invest in a strategic and widespread badger and cattle vaccination scheme, that can finally bring the wanton destruction of a precious protected species to an end.”