The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) welcomes the publication of research which shows that vaccinating badgers is effective in reducing levels of TB in badger . However, yesterdays ‘announcement’ of the results by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Micheal Creed TD, was unsurprising given that the findings have been widely leaked for a number of years. Indeed vaccinating badgers, ostensibly in the fight to reduce TB levels in cattle, was first mooted in 1991 and this development is significant only for the fact that it is the first publication on the topic in these 25 years.
The new research comes shortly after a paper published in the European Journal of Wildlife Research which showed that badgers tend to avoid farm buildings, and infected badgers avoid them even more . Previous research from Trinity College, Dublin
IWT Campaigns Officer Pádraic Fogarty says: “this culling programme has been going on for so long that it seems those at the top have forgotten what it was supposed to achieve. It’s incredible how a policy which has failed so miserably in its stated aim can be allowed to continue, never mind be considered a success."
The IWT acknowledges that TB is a serious disease which needs to be eradicated. However the emphasis on killing badgers has diverted attention from the principle causes of the disease while wasting large sums of tax payers money (over €33 million in 2014 excluding staff). Vaccinating badgers will not solve this problem. Indeed the IWT has serious concerns that the sustained slaughter of badgers is having a significant impact on this charismatic animal and may be leading to local extinctions.
CONTACT: Padraic Fogarty - IWT's Campaigns Officer - firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credit: In Touch with the Wild Photography