Intensive badger culling to tackle TB in livestock will be gradually phased out and a cattle vaccine for the disease will be deployed, the government has announced.
Badger Culling was expanded to parts of Staffordshire last year.
The next phase of the government’s strategy to tackle bovine tuberculosis in cattle will involve field trials of a cattle vaccine – expected to be deployed within the next five years.
There are also plans vaccinate more badgers – which can transmit TB to livestock – against the disease as well as a “gradual phasing out of intensive culling” of the wild animals, the Environment Department said
Badger culling in the UK is currently permitted under licence within a set area and timescale in a bid to reduce badger numbers to control the spread of bovine TB, which devastates with the beef and dairy industries.
The disease affects cattle and other farm animals including pigs, goats and sheep, as well as some species of wildlife including deer and a few domestic pets.
Badger culling, using “free shooting”, was trialled in two pilot areas in west Gloucestershire and west Somerset in 2013 with the aim of assessing its humaneness.
Despite wildlife and animal welfare groups arguing that culling is inhumane and ineffective, the badger cull has been rolled out to 40 areas of England including parts of Staffordshire