Buxton Civic Association defies badger cull on its land
Buxton Civic Association is having badgers on its land vaccinated against tuberculosis - defying the Government’s culling programme.
The association (BCA) - which owns 200 acres of woodland in and around Buxton - say killing the large land predators is a ‘deeply misguided’ way of tackling the disease in cattle.
The culling programme - involving a mix of shooting and trapping - was first trialled in 2013 in the south west then rolled out across other parts of the country.
This month the Government announced it would be extended to Derbyshire. But no culling can take place without landowners’ permission.
The BCA’s Board of Trustees agreed this week they will not allow culling on any of the land they own.
Bovine tuberculosis (TB) is known to be able jump the species barrier and cause TB-like infection in humans and animals.
The Government says culling is needed to support farmers whose cattle are susceptible to the disease - with badgers identified as prime carriers due to their wide-ranging habits.
However some point to farming practices - such as the spreading of slurry - as a causal factor in transmission through contaminated dung.
BCA chairman Peter Phillipson said scientific evidence ‘clearly’ showed transfer from badgers was not the main cause of the spread of TB in cattle.
He added: “Indeed, culling badgers may well make the problem of potential transfer worse by encouraging movement between family groups.
“While we recognise that TB in cattle is a very serious problem for the farming community, we believe badger vaccination is a far more effective and humane method of ensuring badger populations stay healthy and free of TB infection.
“This is why we funded and supported Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to vaccinate badgers on our land.”
Mr Phillipson said Derbyshire had the ‘largest and most successful’ badger vaccination programme in the country - which was ‘recognised as such’ by the Government.
He said: “There is no evidence that there is any significant level of TB in the local badger population.
“BCA will continue to work with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and others to oppose this cull and will be writing to High Peak MP Robert Largan and the Government to make this clear.”