Badger vaccination trial areas announced

The six areas earmarked for the badger TB vaccination trials have been named by DEFRA.

The six locations lie within areas worst affected by the disease. Each one is made up of a 300sq km catchment area that surrounds a 100sq km zone where badgers will be trapped, vaccinated, earmarked and then released.

The locations are:

  • Eccleshall area, Staffordshire
  • Bromyard to Tenbury Wells, Herefordshire and Worcestershire
  • North-east of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
  • North West of Stroud, Gloucestershire
  • East of Tiverton, Devon
  • West of Tiverton, Devon

View Badger vaccination trial areas in a larger map

Junior DEFRA minister Jim Fitzpatrick said that the department would work with local farmers to find participants and define the exact areas to be vaccinated.

The department is currently recruiting workers to carry out the vaccination programme which will begin next summer.

But a spokesman said that disruption to farms would be minimal.

The trapping, marking and injecting of badgers will be done by contractors, so farmers will only need to grant access to their land for a few nights each year,” he said.

Jilly Greed, vice chairwoman of the National Beef Association‘s south west region, described the vaccination policy as ‘outrageous’.

“The disease reservoir in Devon is endemic so that [badger vaccination] will have limited effect in what is the worst hit county in the country,” Mrs Greed said.

“More than three quarters of badgers in the region are either “super-excreters” or carrying latent tuberculosis,” she said.

“The process of trapping, caging and then injecting badgers will stress these creatures and those in latent condition will then move to the later stage of infection.

“This trial will damage wildlife as well as dairy and beef producers in the periphery areas,” she added.