Monday, 1 October 2012

Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust

Sarah Buckingham from the Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust was our guest this evening

Badger cull

What you can do to help:
What’s happening?
This autumn trials will take place in Gloucestershire and Somerset to test the suitability of ‘controlled shooting’ as a method of culling badgers in an effort to combat the problem of bovine TB in England. The trials will assess the practicality and cost of this culling method, rather than trapping and culling badgers. They will not assess the impact on levels of TB. A number of legal attempts to block the trial have been rejected and the cull is expected to get underway soon.

The Wildlife Trusts’ position on badgers & bovine TB
The Wildlife Trusts are very conscious of the hardship that bovine TB (bTB) causes in the farming community and the need to find the right mechanisms to control the disease. However, we believe that a badger cull is not the answer. Biosecurity and vaccination should be at the centre of efforts to tackle this disease rather than a badger cull.

We believe that efforts to tackle the disease should therefore include the following measures:

• Biosecurity: All possible measures should be pursued to prevent disease transmission on-farm.

• Badger vaccination: Support landowners to use the injectable BadgerBCG vaccine. We also urge Defra to continue developing an oral badger vaccine.

• Cattle vaccine: Complete development of a cattle vaccine and secure change to EU regulation to permit its commercial deployment.

How could a badger cull make the bovine TB problem worse?
Badgers typically live in social groups of four to seven animals with defined territorial boundaries. Culling disrupts the organisation of these social groups, causing surviving badgers to range more widely than normal and increasing the risks of disease transmission. This is known as the 'perturbation effect'. The Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB concluded in its final report (2007) that it was 'unable to conceive of a system of culling, other than the systematic elimination, or virtual elimination, of badgers over very extensive areas, that would avoid the serious adverse consequences of perturbation'.

What are The Wildlife Trusts doing?
Our involvement with this issue over a number of years has led us to the conclusion that a sustained programme of vaccination, alongside improved biosecurity measures, would be the best means of tackling bTB.
We are therefore working hard to demonstrate how the badger vaccine can be deployed practically. Last year Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust was the first non-governmental organisation to begin deployment of the injectable BadgerBCG vaccine and a number of other Trusts are beginning vaccination programmes in 2012.

The Wildlife Trusts are making the case for vaccination to the Government and we will continue to press them to reject the badger cull.

What can I do?
The key to convincing the Government to reject the culling of badgers is to show that vaccination is a viable way to control bovine TB. A number of Wildlife Trusts are carrying out vaccination programmes, but they need your support. If we can demonstrate the effectiveness of badger vaccination we can convince the Government to abandon the cull.

Fabulous Fungi!
Sunday 21 October, Stevenage

Fungal Walk in Pryor’s Wood Nature Reserve. 10am.

From Stevenage take the A1072 (Martins Way) until it meets Gresley Way, to the right.

The reserve entrance is a short way along Gresley Way, on the left, to the right of a large gate. Some parking near by or further back off Gresley Way. (TL264264).

For further information contact Penny at Mid Herts local group.

Book with Vicky Davies: tel: 01707 390064.

Suggested donation: £3

An Autumn Adventure
Saturday 13 October, Brookmans Park

10.30am to 12.30pm

Join us for a morning of autumnal activities and crafts at the fascinating Gobions Wood Nature Reserve, with all its weird and wonderful trees.

Suitable for children between 5-11. This is a free family event but please book in advance as places are limited. Please bring an adult with you!

Sorry but no toilets are available on site.
call Susannah on 07876 508034.

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