Following the latest cull announcement NFA has offered a new grant to support the vaccination of badgers in the Somerset cull zone.

Last week the Government announced their intention to press ahread with plans to kill thousands of badgers in Somerset and Gloucestershire in June – ignoring widespread opposition to their policy of ‘free shooting’ badgers to combat bovine tuberculosis in cattle and a vote which saw Parliament rubbish the plans.

Along with voices from the scientific and animal welfare community, NFA has long been calling for humane alternatives to replace the misguided policy of culling. The call for a package of measures including effective biosecurity measures, improved cattle welfare and the rolling out of vaccination for both badgers and cattle has formed the basis of the campaign against the cull.

The Somerset Badger Group commenced their vaccination programme in the Somerset cull zone in summer 2012 with the support of NFA and Secret World Wildlife Rescue, offering vaccination to landowners who favoured vaccinating badgers on their land. The new grant from NFA will enable the group to reach out to new prospective landowners who favour a sustainable alternative to badger culling.

During last summer’s vaccination efforts, Adrian Coward, Chairman of the Somerset Badger Group said, “[we] are delighted to be working jointly with farmers in a positive and practical way; to help constructively with the battle against bovine TB.  Vaccinating badgers has been proved to be effective in at least 74% of badgers vaccinated.”

Explaining NFA’s support of the project, Founder Brian Davies says, “We want badger vaccination to be an affordable and accessible alternative to culling badgers, which is why we have pledged our support to a number of badger vaccination projects. Until the Government put their money where their mouth is and commit to effective and humane approaches to tackling bTB, we will do what we can to support those who don’t want blood on their hands.”

NFA produced a short film explaining the process of vaccination during a visit to land in Somerset: