Bovine Tuberculosis: Vaccination

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 19th April 2018.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Labour, Bristol East

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of extending badger culling on the effectiveness of vaccination schemes operating in those same areas.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Guidance to Natural England on issuing licences to cull badgers for the purpose of preventing the spread of bovine TB advises that where culling and vaccination are taking place on adjacent land, applicants should take reasonable steps to negotiate an agreed approach to badger control operations along the relevant boundary with that landowner/occupier.

Modelling suggests that over time culling will outperform vaccination alone, and for most farmers, badger culling is likely to be the preferred option. Some farmers and landowners may prefer to use vaccination to reduce the prevalence of TB infection in badgers. Licences to vaccinate badgers will therefore continue to be available.

Defra provides grant support for badger vaccination projects in the Edge Area but this does not preclude farmers and landowners choosing to cull in those areas provided the robust criteria for a culling licence are met. We see a role for both badger culling and badger vaccination as part of a comprehensive and balanced package of measures to tackle TB in cattle.

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