During 2018, badger control operations in 32 areas of England were all successful in meeting their targets. According to Natural England’s chief scientist, the results show that
“industry-led badger control continues to deliver the level of effectiveness required by the policy to be confident of achieving disease control benefits”.
Assessments of the effectiveness of badger control are published annually on gov.uk.
Given the extended roll-out, it is estimated that about 150,000 badgers will have been culled by the end of 2020. This animal, which has been around since the ice age, faces extinction in various parts of the country. What would the Secretary of State say about investing the money in a national badger vaccination programme? To quote the Wildlife Trusts, should not the Government be investing in “medicine, not marksmen”?
The hon. Gentleman makes an important point. When it comes to dealing with bovine TB—a terrible disease that damages the lives of cattle and the livelihoods of farmers—we need to consider all steps that are appropriate. Culling and vaccination are both tools in our armoury.