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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Why vaccinating badgers is the right option

An interesting e-mail has arrived in my in-box from the Badger Trust highlighting further research on the vaccination of badgers as a means of controlling bovine TB.

Obviously a vaccine cannot eliminate disease where it is already established but it can stop it spreading and given that the life span of a badger is about five years, then an effective vaccination programme can remove the reservoir of infection in the medium term.

In contrast culling spreads infection outside the area being focussed on, and once the cull stops then the disease will return with a vengeance.

The Badger Trust has highlights a newly-published study that shows that vaccination with Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) has been shown to reduce the severity and progression of experimentally-induced TB in captive badgers. They go on to say that a four-year clinical field study among badger social group levels suggests a similar, direct protective effect. Injections reduced by 76% the risk of free-living vaccinated badgers testing positive for progressive infection.

Furthermore, the risk of unvaccinated cubs giving positive tests went down significantly as more badgers in each social group were vaccinated. There was an even greater reduction in risk to such cubs, 79 per cent - when more than a third of their social group had been vaccinated.

This is the scientific approach the UK Government rejected when it embarked on it chaotic, short-term and disastrous cull policy.
Thanks Peter for putting this information in your Blog and it can be used against those who might wish to discontinue the vaccination programme. I also received this information today from the Badger Trust and I have forwarded it widely, especially to our ‘friends’ in England who may use this knowledge to prevent a badger cull there in 2013.

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