This year's Badger Trust conference will take place from 4th-60th November in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, courtesy of the Herts and Middlesex Badger Group.
The weekend is a great opportunity for wildlife professionals, students and interested parties to keep up to date with the latest issues surrounding ecology and conservation efforts.
What's more, this year marks the Badger Trust's 30th birthday conference! and promises to be a memorable event, with an impressive programme of speakers.
The event takes place at Georgian Manor House, Theobalds Park, Hertfordshire, opening between 2pm and 9pm on Friday 4th for arrival and registration, with a full programme including Luke Steele, Next Generation wildlife campaigner, keynote speaker on Saturday wildlife broadcaster Mike Dilger, Hugh Warwick, Bill Oddie and many more well-known names, as well as a debate about the cull featuring Labour, SNP and Green party MPs.
And of course the conference would not be complete without a debate on the impact of Brexit on wildlife protection!
To find out more, contact the Herts and Middlesex Badger Group at http://hmbadgergroup.org.uk/contact-us/
Bovine TB may be passed from badgers to cattle not through direct transmission, but through infected pasture and dung, new research shows.
A field study, carried out on 20 farms in Cornwall, aimed to show how the disease was passed to cattle from badgers - which is estimate to account for around 6% of herd infections. Professor Rosie Woodroffe, from the Zoological Society of London, led the new research. She said: "We know badgers can give TB to cattle, but we have never known how."
The breakthrough in understanding came by fitting 100 badgers with electronic collars. The researchers tracked 800 cattle while they were in badger territories, with the number of tracked days amounting to over 8,000.
Just once in 65,000 observations did a badger get within 10 metres of a cow and they preferred to be 50 metres away. Woodroffe continued: "We detected nothing [in way of interactions]. It looks most likely that the badgers are avoiding the cattle."
The discovery has implications for farming practices, in particular slurry spreading. It also explains why TB is so hard to control, even when badgers and cattle are culled, as the bacteria can survive in fields for months, says the story in today's Guardian (5th August 2016). Eradicating TB will require addressing this risk, the research suggests. You can read Damian Carrington's full story here.
The Badger Trust has today (11th February 2016) issued this press release reporting the good news from Wales about their badger vaccination programme.
Government report confirms badger vaccination is working and a year break will not result in any increase in TB in badgers
The Badger Trust has welcomed a report by the Animal & Plant Health Agency for the Welsh Government on the success of its badger vaccination project.
The report was commissioned after the decision by the Welsh Government to temporarily halt badger vaccination due to a global shortage of BCG TB vaccine. The work was performed in order to determine the most likely effects of not using the BCG vaccine for badgers in 2016, after successfully using the trap and inject approach with BCG for 4 years between 2011 and 2015.
The analysis simulated a variety of different badger vaccination strategies to manage bovine TB within the Intensive Action Area in Wales. It used a current badger and cattle bTB model that has been repeatedly peer reviewed and published in the scientific literature used for reporting to DEFRA, Welsh and Northern Ireland Governments.
The report found that 4 years of continuous badger vaccination has substantially reduced the prevalence of TB in badgers and this decline would continue over a ten year period although the benefit of each later year of vaccination was less than in earlier years.
Due to the group immunity effect, a 1 year interruption in badger vaccination in 2016 was not found to result in any increase in the prevalence of TB in badgers.
Commenting on the findings of the report the Chief Executive of the Badger Trust Dominic Dyer said:
“We are delighted to see confirmation that badger vaccination is leading to a substantial reduction in the prevalence of TB in badgers and that any temporary halt while the global stocks of BCG vaccine recover, will not lead to an increase in the spread of the disease in badgers.
I am disappointed to see the Farmers Union of Wales calling for an end to badger vaccination in the Intensive Action Area in Wales on the grounds that the cost of £700 per badger is a ‘waste of public money’, when DEFRA is spending over £7,000 per badger on a disastrous badger cull policy in England, without testing any of the badgers killed for TB.
Badger vaccination is scientifically proven to work and has huge public and political support in England and Wales. It plays a key role in bringing conservation and wildlife protection groups together with farmers and landowners in a spirit of mutual trust and confidence. It’s a perfect example of David Cameron's "Big Society" in action"
The Chairman of the Badger Trust Peter Martin said
"Rather than attack the Welsh Government for vaccinating badgers against TB, the Farmers Union of Wales should be celebrating its success. They should be calling on DEFRA and the NFU in England to follow the Welsh example of reducing bovine TB by focusing on improved cattle testing and movement controls. New incidents of bovine TB in cattle are now down by 28% in Wales with a 45% cut in the number of cattle being slaughtered. This now leaves 94% of the Welsh herd TB free, without killing any badgers.”
The Badger Trust is taking its legal challenge to the operation of the latest culls to the Court of Appeal tomorrow (9th Oct 2014).
Everyone had expected the independent monitoring of the culls that was in place last year, to check their efficiency and humaneness, to continue this year, but the government refused to put this in place this time.
The appeal follows a hearing on 11th September where the vice-president of the civil division of the Court of Appeal agreed that the trust had a real prospect of success in its appeal.
A press release by the Badger Trust says the Court of Appeal will be asked by the Badger Trust to find that the environment secretary, Liz Truss, has unlawfully failed to put in place an independent Expert Panel to monitor and analyse the results of the continued culling of badgers in Gloucestershire and Somerset in 2014.
The trust says that the use of such a panel to oversee the culls was promised by the secretary of state while she is still considering whether to roll out culls to other areas. Without such a panel, there can be no proper assessment of the safety, effectiveness and humaneness of the culling operation, the trust says, which is necessary before any lawful decision can be made on whether to continue with the culls in other areas.
Professor Tim Coulson, member of the 2013 Independent Expert Panel, and Dominic Dyer, chief executive of the Badger Trust, welcomed the hearing's decision to grant an appeal.
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