Vets Criticise Badger Vaccine Project Conclusions

UK - The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has criticised the conclusions drawn by the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust in its report on badger vaccine deployment.
calendar icon 14 October 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

The report considers the effectiveness of the Trust’s programme of deploying the injectable BadgerBCG vaccine in seven nature reserves covering only 170 hectares (1.7 sq km) during the summer.

It concludes that the badger vaccine is a viable alternative to culling in the battle against bovine TB, but does not give evidence to support this claim.

Commenting, Carl Padgett, President of the BVA, said: “We welcome the initiative by the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to investigate the deployment of the badger vaccine but this work must not be confused with an investigation into the effectiveness of the badger vaccine in reducing or eradicating bovine TB."

“To conclude from this report that the badger vaccine is a viable alternative to culling in eradicating TB is unrealistic at best and spin at worst."

“The fact remains that the vaccine has no protective effect on infected badgers and we know that at least 30-40 per cent of badgers within an area will be infected. Many young badgers will be infected before they can be trapped and injected."

“In terms of the practicalities of deployment this report provides interesting information but we will learn much more as a result of Defra’s Badger Vaccine Deployment Project which is looking at a much larger area of 100 sq km."

“Vaccination of badgers certainly has a role to play in an effective TB eradication programme but it is only one tool in the toolbox.”

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