The environment secretary has announced the badger cull will be replaced by vaccination programmes to prevent the spread of Bovine Tuberculosis in cattle and badgers.
After a study by the Animal and Plant Health Agency found that a badger and cattle vaccination could be effective at stopping the spread of Bovine TB among cattle herds, the environment secretary announced badger culling will be phased out to end the ‘indefinite’ killing of badgers.
Since the cull began in 2013, tens of thousands of innocent badgers have been shot or trapped in cages to prevent the spread of Bovine TB to farmed cows who would have been sold for meat.
Viva! has been campaigning for the end of badger culling since it began in 2013, noting that the spread of Bovine TB is due to intensive farming methods rather than badgers existing in the wild.
Last year, an independent review of the government's plans to eradicate the disease confirmed that poor biosecurity on farms and frequent trading of cows posed a huge barrier to wiping out the disease, meaning cattle vaccinations would be more effective than culling badgers.
Roisin McAuley, Head of Communications at Viva! said: “We are thrilled with the government's decision to end the badger cull after 13 bloody, brutal years for innocent badgers who have simply been trying to live their natural lives in the British countryside.”
“The spread of bovine tuberculosis in cattle is amplified by intensive cattle farming in the UK, and dairy cows having weakened immune systems due to the immense pressure their bodies are under from a constant cycle of pregnancy, birth and lactating, all while dealing with the trauma of having her babies taken away only a few hours after birth.”
“Intensive farming practices create rife conditions for disease to spread at the complete detriment to both farmed animals and the wild animals who are dragged into the issue. The only way to protect animals and ourselves from dangerous diseases spreading is to end animal farming and choose vegan."
Environment Secretary, George Eustice said: “Bovine TB is a slow-moving and insidious disease leading to the slaughter of over 30,000 cattle every year and considerable trauma for farmers as they suffer the loss of highly prized animals and valued herds.
“But no one wants to continue the cull of this protected species indefinitely so, once the weight of disease in wildlife has been addressed, we will accelerate other elements of our strategy including improved diagnostics and cattle vaccination to sustain the downward trajectory of the disease.”
The phasing out of the badger cull will begin where four-year cull cycles have finished, and vaccinations will begin. This will also allow vaccinations within dairy and beef cow herds to be more effective, allowing the 2038 goal to wipe out the disease to be more achievable.
Find out more about Viva!’s work to end badger culling here.