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Call to support badger vaccination programme, despite reservations

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THE BVA President, Carl Padgett, has urged vets in Wales to support the roll out of badger vaccination in the Welsh Intensive Action Area as part of measures to control bovine TB, despite reservations about the policy not being supported by existing science.

He made the call during his speech to the Association's annual Welsh dinner in Cardiff last week. Mr Padgett noted that, a year ago, the BVA had expressed its concern that the Welsh TB eradication plan had been delayed by the then newly elected government in order to carry out a scientific review. ‘We felt strongly that the plan had already taken account of the available science,’ he said, although the Association respected the government's stated commitment to a science-led policy. It had therefore been deeply disappointed by the announcement in March this year that a planned cull of badgers would not go ahead, and that badger vaccination would be introduced instead. ‘We share the frustration of our farming clients and colleagues at this backwards step,’ said Mr Padgett. ‘The promise of an average 16 per cent reduction in herd breakdowns over the coming decade certainly didn't seem insignificant to the vets and livestock keepers battling this devastating disease on a daily basis. But the decision was clear and now I urge my colleagues to do their utmost to support the roll out of the vaccination policy in the Intensive Action Area.’

The BVA hoped that the option of a badger cull remained open for consideration as the TB picture developed, he added.

The veterinary role in tackling TB was not only to safeguard animal health, but also public health, he continued, and vets were also taking the lead in tackling another threat to public health, namely antimicrobial resistance. The growing resistance exhibited by bacteria was a …

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