Hampshire Badger Cull

Thank you for contacting me about controlling the spread of bovine TB and badgers. Like you, I don’t like seeing the slaughter of wildlife especially badgers so I am pleased that the vaccine is being widely used. I will write to the Minister to ask them if we can now take out Area 56 and Area 67 from culling and point out that they may be eligible for early termination.

Sadly, Bovine TB is still an issue affecting farmers in England, and there are new cases of TB occurring. Hampshire is still defined as an “edge area” in the year end report 2022, where incidence of the disease is relatively low, there are no reported cases of Bovine TB in Meon Valley but proximity to areas of higher infection rate make it necessary to test cattle annually, alongside the routine monitoring of herds by farmers.

This Government has taken decisive action and is driving forward an ambitious strategy to eradicate bovine TB in England by 2038. This strategy sets out a range of evidence-led interventions to tackle the disease in both cattle and wildlife, including strengthening cattle testing and movement controls, introducing new help for herd owners to improve biosecurity measures on farms and to help manage down the risk of bringing the disease into their herds and supporting the deployment of badger vaccination.

Defra has undertaken government-funded badger vaccination in several areas where four-year intensive badger culling has ended. Defra is continuing to bolster capacity to deploy even more badger vaccination in post-cull areas from this year.
Developing new and better tools is an important part of the Government’s programme of work. The Government continues to fund major research, including on cattle vaccination and improved diagnostics. That funding has already resulted in a major breakthrough by the Animal and Plant Health Agency in developing a test that can differentiate TB-infected among vaccinated cattle (a DIVA test). World-leading vaccination trials in cattle began in England and Wales in June 2021. Ministers’ aim is to have a deployable TB vaccine for cattle within the next few years.

I appreciate your concern for our wildlife and I will continue to follow this topic closely.

Thank you for your email.