In 2010 Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust decided that it would be the first organisation to deploy privately the bTB badger vaccine on a selection of its nature reserves in 2011 using its own staff.
The first badger to be found infected with bovine TB was a road casualty animal in Gloucestershire in 1971. Over the intervening 40 years there has been a remorseless increase in the number of cattle that have tested positive for the disease not just in the South West of England but also in Wales and the Midlands. The consequence of the disease for affected farmers has been financial trauma, unwanted distraction and psychological pressure.
The Trust has been involved in bovine TB for over 30 years, and has been fortunate enough to have in it's midst Dr Gordon McGlone OBE, the Trust's CEO and one of the Wildlife Trusts' national spokespersons on badgers and bovine TB.
In late 2010, the Trust decided that it would pay for the deployment of the new bTB badger vaccine at a cost of over £5000 making it the first organisation to do this. This work, which has been funded by the Trust’s members, began in mid June by specially trained Trust staff on a set of nature reserves where the badger vaccination could be used practically, to the benefit of the Trust’s, and its neighbour’s, cattle.
The following reports were written to inform on the practicalities of vaccination, costs involved and recommendations to aid vaccination programmes in the future: