Badger culls 'undermine search for TB vaccine'

A A A

The search for an effective vaccine to combat TB in badgers could be undermined if the Government goes ahead with proposals for widescale culls, ministers have been warned.

Animal rights groups believe the "rush to slaughter" looks likely to go ahead at the cost of the only existing vaccine study, due to start in September.

They are dismayed after the Government this week appeared to give the go-ahead to a culling policy in the worst-affected areas while making no extra provision in the hunt for a vaccine.

According to maps published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, some of the most intensive slaughtering will be in and around Cirencester in Gloucestershire. This is where earlier this week the minister responsible for animal welfare, Ben Bradshaw, confirmed that a 50km-square area would be set aside to trial a BCG vaccine for the mammals. Mr Bradshaw said the trial would start in the autumn and last for three years. But the RSPCA believes the culls, which could begin as early as May, are likely to seriously impinge on the area under study. Culling has been shown to cause perturbation in badgers - the process whereby social groups break up and move to new territory. It is the main reason, it is argued, why culling trials have resulted in a net increase in the number of cases of TB in badgers.

Colin Booty, the RSPCA's senior scientific officer, said: "The area where they are conducting the vaccine trials would be surrounded. Culling has been proved to cause badger perturbation. What affect will this have on the vaccine trial?"

Meanwhile, Professor John Bourne, chairman of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle and TB, said he was "disappointed" by the Government's reading of his report into the effects of the culling trials. "They seem to have ignored the fact that limited culling will inevitably lead to perturbation and an increase in disease incidence," he told BBC Radio.

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk