To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 28 February 2017 to Question 65348, on badgers: vaccination, what assessment she has made of (a) evidence from Ireland on the effectiveness of oral vaccine baits to vaccinate badgers against TB and (b) the potential effect on the incidence of TB of accelerating the deployment of such vaccines in England.
Defra works on the development of an oral bovine TB vaccine for badgers in partnership with the Irish and French governments, as well as the Devolved Administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland. This is through the form of a joint project board. The study in Ireland, which involved the administering of vaccine directly to anaesthetised badgers, contributed to that partnership work. Work is now being done in preparation for a further study by Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency later this year to assess the protection from infection that may be achieved through consumption by badgers of a candidate oral vaccine in bait, the results of which will help determine the extent to which such a vaccine may play a part in national TB programmes.