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Cheshire badger vaccination group ‘ahead of the game’ says MP

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Press release from Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury


 

Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury says a group of Cheshire volunteers are ‘ahead of the game’ in the fight against tuberculosis in cattle as the badger cull is phased out.

Badgers have been blamed for spreading tuberculosis (TB) to cattle leading to licensed culls in Cheshire and other areas that could continue until 2026.

But the government is phasing out the controversial cull in a new approach already supported by Cheshire Badger Vaccination Programme.

Mr Amesbury recently met the group’s volunteers who vaccinate badgers on farmers’ land free of charge using live traps.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is about to run its own five-year badger vaccination trial in East Sussex in advance of a national roll-out, showing Cheshire is leading the way.

Mr Amesbury understands the ‘game-changer’ will come with the development of a TB cattle vaccine together with a new skin test that can differentiate between a vaccinated animal and an infected one that must be removed.

The MP said: “Like many of my constituents, volunteers at Cheshire Badger Vaccination Programme feel passionately about the need to protect a beautiful and protected species that is very much part of the British countryside.

“They, like me, have the utmost sympathy for farmers affected by TB in cattle but I am convinced vaccination of badgers – and eventually cattle – is not only pro-conservation but is a more effective way forward.

“There’s no doubt Cheshire Badger Vaccination Programme (CBVP) is ahead of the game and I would like to see government bring an end to the mass killing of badgers as soon as possible.”

Volunteers at CBVP believe bovine TB is mainly caused by cattle-to-cattle transmission, with badgers ‘only a small part’ of the problem.

Badger vaccination is ‘one tool in the toolbox’ with farmers advised to implement a raft of measures such as making grain stores and food-water troughs badger-proof.

The group is part-funded by government but has received money from companies like Tesco, Waitrose and Lush as well as from individuals.

More and more landowners have signed up including farmers, the National Trust plus Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester councils. About 40 square kilometres of Cheshire countryside is now covered by the group’s 200-plus volunteers.

To donate or find out more about the group’s work including becoming a volunteer, email: elaine@cbvp.org.uk

 

 

 

 

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