Rugby to pilot badger vaccinations against TB

By Dan Santy 02/05 Updated: 31/05 10:48

Buy photos » Badger watch - Coun Noreen New and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust chief Stephen Trotter have welcomed plans to launch a pilot vaccination programme in Rugby. 07.012.022.rug.jg2

BADGERS have been given a reprieve after it was decided Rugby would be the first place in Warwickshire to try vaccinating them in favour of controversial culls.

The measure will attempt to tackle the spread of Bovine TB by badgers without resorting to culls, which proved unpopular among campaigners and conservationists when announced as a solution last year.

Last year, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman announced plans to go ahead with a controversial badger cull in a bid to halt the spread of TB among the country's cattle.

It is hoped vaccinating badgers will help control the spread of TB among cattle and prevent the culling of healthy animals.

Rugby Borough Council has given permission to Warwickshire Wildlife Trust (WWT) to carry out a pilot vaccination on council owned land in the borough.

Coun Noreen New, who earlier this year hit out against possible badger culls, said: "This is excellent news, not only for the badgers, but for animal lovers too.

"The future looked pretty bleak for badgers following the decision to cull them, but the council agreeing to give WWT the opportunity to carry out the vaccination programme to save badgers and cattle locally is very reassuring."

Chief executive of WWT, Stephen Trotter - who earlier this year said a cull would amount to 'unnecessary slaughter' - welcomed the decision.

Pilot vaccinations of badgers in Rugby should get underway later this year. If successful they could be rolled out across Warwickshire.

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