The controversial issue of England’s badger cull is coming to a head as farmers and wildlife campaigners eagerly await the publication of a government review.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove is currently considering the findings which are expected to influence whether to expand the cull even further.
Campaigners in Derbyshire who were bracing themselves for a cull in their county have been celebrating the fact that it was not included. They say it’s partly due to the success of their badger vaccination programme – the biggest in the country.
The Wildlife Trust, which opposes the cull, says what’s happening in Derbyshire sets an important example.
“We’ve shown in Derbyshire that we can operate the vaccination programme. We have hundreds of volunteers with us, we’re cost-effective. This is the way forward.”
Although badgers are a protected species more than 19,000 were culled in 2017 up from the 10,886 in the previous year. According to the Wildlife Trust a further 42,000 could be added this year.
Nationally more than 33,000 cows were slaughtered last year because of bovine TB, up from 27,474 in 2014
He told Sky News: “I think they are making themselves feel good about themselves. I don’t think they will be stopping the disease spreading. There’s no [scientific] paper in the world that shows that vaccinating badgers reduces the prevalence of TB in cattle.”