A Cornwall MP is calling for the government to pursue vaccination of badgers and cattle against bovine tuberculosis after branding trial badger culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire as “a complete failure”.
Stephen Gilbert, MP for St Austell and Newquay, said he would not support any future culls and is calling for a mass vaccination scheme to be carried out instead.
“Bovine TB is a huge problem for our farmers and costs the tax payer millions every year,” he said.
“But there is a balance to be struck – no one wants to see the needless destruction of animals or habitats either.”
The pilot culls have been criticised after marksmen failed to meet the government’s target of removing 70 per cent of the badger population in the designated areas.
And last week it was revealed the cost of policing the culls totalled £2.6 million, which equates to approximately £1,300 for each badger killed.
“The badger cull pilots showed that there would be huge difficulties in culling the required numbers to drive down Bovine TB and, in some cases, they missed the targets by so much it would probably drive up rates instead,” Mr Gilbert continued.
“I will therefore not support any future culling of badgers; instead, we need to focus on developing and administering better, cheaper vaccines to tackle the Bovine TB crisis; vaccination of badgers and cattle is now the only way forward.”