Our view on badgers and bovine TB
The culling of badgers is not taking place on National Trust land.
As a major landowner with many farming tenants, we understand how devastating an outbreak of bovine TB can be. That’s why it’s important for us to play our part in tackling this disease by finding a practical solution to prevent its spread and why we ran a successful four year project at Killerton in Devon to see how badger vaccination can be deployed over a large area. We’re now working with the Government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency to make Killerton a national training school for the vaccination of badgers.
Vaccination needs to be part of the mix of measures needed to tackle bovine TB. We’d like to see the Government working with partners to carry out further testing to show its effectiveness as part of a multi-pronged approach to tackling the disease based on the best available scientific evidence, which includes better testing and surveillance of cattle and stricter biosecurity (i.e. keeping badgers and cattle apart).
We’ve had concerns about how the two pilot culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire are being run but their success or failure will only become clear when the four years of the cull are completed. Our concerns mean that we don’t support rolling out culls to other areas which may affect our properties, including the cull in Dorset which began in September 2015, and we aren’t allowing culling on our land. This includes not allowing it on National Trust land that is leased to tenants.
Badgers and bovine TB in Wales and Northern Ireland
Culling is only taking place in England. The policy of the Welsh government focuses on more rigorous and frequent testing, the closer control of cattle movements and vaccination of badgers and we’ve been strongly supportive of this approach.
In Northern Ireland, we’ve been broadly supportive of the Test, Vaccinate Remove trial and we’re very interested in the outcomes of the five year programme which is designed to provide locally relevant scientific evidence to inform decision making.