Badger vaccination projects

Shropshire Badger Group is providing a free badger vaccination scheme to a number of farms across Shropshire as a contribution towards reducing bovine TB. Cage traps have now been placed on various farms and this process will continue until the middle of November. Most are well within the properties, and not visible to the general public, but some may be visible from public footpaths.

All the cages carry a notice explaining their purpose and in order to comply with government guidance as well as providing the best possible vaccination outcome, it is imperative that the cages are not touched or interfered with in any way.   Badgers are very sensitive to the smell of humans and will then avoid the cages.

Although the cages will be in place for about a week at each location, the actual vaccination process only occurs over two consecutive nights. Badgers will be encouraged into the cages by baiting with peanuts and then early the following morning they will be vaccinated and released. Previous experience shows that they are generally very unconcerned about their experience, so much so that it’s not unusual for the same badgers to enter the cages a second time. They will have been marked initially and will not be vaccinated again but simply released.

The process does not disrupt the badger population, as is known to be the case with badger culling, and the whole idea follows the tried and trusted method of dealing with disease that has been used for years within both the human and animal populations.

This scheme is being provided completely free of charge to the farms concerned in an attempt to demonstrate that vaccination is the best way to deal with any residual disease in the badger population and that it can be delivered effectively by a voluntary organisation.   It will cost Shropshire Badger Group about £8,000 over the four-year period of the scheme, and we would welcome any funding assistance.

The Shropshire Star has today (30 September) covered this story; you can read it here.