Controlling the spread of Bovine TB.

No decision has been taken on the start dates for culling in 2015.

The current four year licences for the two existing cull areas allow culling of badgers from 1 June onwards. It is for the cull companies to decide when they wish to start. Natural England, as the licensing authority, will consider proposed start dates and, providing it is satisfied that all the necessary conditions have been met, will issue an authorisation that allows cull companies to proceed for a 6 week period.  

The new Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme is supporting badger vaccination projects in parts of the country that border the high-risk areas of the South West and West Midlands. Vaccinating healthy badgers in these areas should create a buffer zone to help prevent spread to new areas where the current incidence is low.   As lessons have shown from countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, where there is a reservoir of disease in wildlife this must be tackled through culling. Leading vets have supported this approach and improvements are being made following the first trial year based on recommendations from the Independent Expert Panel. Operators underwent increased training to improve humaneness and effectiveness, and an independent audit is taking place.  

Doing nothing is not an option. Bovine TB is a terrible disease which is devastating our cattle and dairy industries and causing misery in rural communities. We need to do everything we can to make England TB free.