MONEY NEEDED FOR BADGER JABS
September 9 2013.
Sussex animal groups are appealing for new members and donations to help vaccinate badgers in East Sussex. The South Downs Badger Protection Group is working with East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) with additional funding from International Animal Rescue to capture and vaccinate badgers. They fear that despite fierce opposition, the government might try to widen the cull currently taking place in the West Country. Badgers are being shot by licenced farmers in Somerset and Gloucestershire because the government see the badger as a cause of spreading bovine TB.
Many scientists and conservationists are appalled because the government will not be checking to see if any of the badgers have the disease. They will simply check to see if the animals have been killed humanely. They also say that the government's best estimate of a 16% decrease in bovine TB over nine years following the slaughter of 70% of badgers indicates the real cause (84%) is cattle to cattle transmission.
Many scientists think that better bio-security, increased testing and vaccination is the answer to reducing bovine TB.
South Downs Badger Protection Group Chairman Graham Amy said: "Unfortunately because of EU legislation, farmers are unable to vaccinate their cattle.
"Bovine TB has declined with enhanced cattle testing, but if we can raise sufficient funds we can virtually eliminate the disease in badgers in East Sussex and reduce the risk of them being killed in the future.
"This must be good for farmers, their herds, as well as ensuring a healthy stock of badgers in East Sussex."
If they can get sufficient funds, the group will pay for more members to be trained to capture the badgers, vaccinate them and mark them.
Mr Amy said: "Unfortunately, the licence for training costs £500 per person per year and other costs include the cost of the cages (£1800) and the BCG vaccine itself at £5 a jab.
"We have funded the first six members to undertake training, but we could do with many more to stop our favourite mammal from being destroyed by this unscientific government decision.
"We urgently need more members, volunteer vaccinators and especially donations of money if we are to persuade government ministers that a cull is unnecessary in East Sussex in the future."
He said that bovineTB was a debilitating, infectious, respiratory disease similar to human TB and the BCG vaccine used to protect humans was the same used to vaccinate badgers.
Bovine TB is spread by an animal breathing in the bacteria expelled by an infected animal as tiny aerosol droplets or through contamination of feeding and watering sites.
Unfortunately, cattle have to be destroyed when they become infected, although research shows that badgers usually recover and achieve immunity to the disease.
Known as the "Sussex Badger Vaccination Project," the programme will start early next year, depending on available funding and the willingness of farmers, landowners and local authorities to allow access to their land.
Donations should be made payable to the South Downs Badger Protection Group and sent to the treasurer at 71, Court Farm Road, Newhaven, East Sussex, BN9 9DY.
Further information can be obtained from Graham Amy on 01273 514942 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
See also: www.sussexbadgervaccinationproject.co.uk