Vaccinating Badgers Is A Huge Mistake

Vernon Coleman

I hear that some well-meaning groups have started vaccinating badgers against TB. I suspect that they hope that by doing this they will encourage the Government not to continue with its absurd and cruel badger-slaughtering programme. I understand their determination to try anything. We have a family of badgers visiting our back door every evening and they are truly wonderful creatures.

Sadly, I doubt if the plan will work. I very much doubt if either the Government or the National Farmers Union will accept it.

But I have two even more important reservations.

First, by vaccinating badgers the group is showing that they accept the entirely false suggestion that tuberculosis is transmitted from badgers to cattle. There is, of course, absolutely no evidence for this claim. Indeed, the available scientific evidence suggests that it is more likely that the infection travels the other way – and that badgers acquire the infection from cattle. The cattle, of course, acquire TB because of the appallingly crowded conditions in which they are kept.

Second, what vaccine is being used? How has it been tested? What risks are there to the vaccinated badgers and to future generations? These are serious questions.

I do hope that those planning the badger vaccination programme will think again – and that they will abandon the idea.

Our best way to oppose the Government’s wicked plan is to point out – incessantly – that there is absolutely no evidence to support the farmers’ claim that badgers spread TB. None, whatsoever. And to remind people that cows acquire tuberculosis – and a wide range of other disorders – because of the appalling conditions in which they are kept by farmers whose only interest is in making money.

Copyright Vernon Coleman July 2013