Bovine TB: Badger Vaccine Deployment Project
A Badger Vaccine Deployment Project is being funded by Defra to assess and maximise the viability of using an injectable badger vaccine and to help us move towards the long-term goal of an oral badger vaccine.
The project will be used to develop practical know-how for vaccinating badgers, providing an opportunity to identify and learn how best to address practical difficulties, rather than developing further evidence of the effectiveness of the vaccine. It will not be a scientific experiment or trial; however Defra will be looking at the number of cattle herd TB breakdowns in the areas for any changes in cattle disease trends.
The outline for the project (announced in 2009) is that badgers will be trapped and vaccinated in 6 areas in England which have a historically high incidence of bovine TB in cattle. Each area will be up to 25,000 acres (100km²). Vaccination will take place in areas drawn from the worst affected parts of Staffordshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Devon. The decision to choose these areas was based on specific criteria and in liaison with the Bovine TB Eradication Group for England and other key industry and stakeholder groups.
The project is being fully funded by Defra in the 6 deployment areas. Once the vaccine is licensed it will also be available for purchase and use by suitably trained and licensed personnel outside the Government funded deployment areas. Outside of the project areas costs will need to be met by individuals.
Defra will have overall responsibility for the project. The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), which has over 30 years experience of trapping and injecting badgers, will manage the project over the first three years until vaccination has been phased in across the 6 areas and all contractors have been fully trained.
Taking part – project timeline
Visiting local areas: The TB Programme has held meetings with regional representatives and veterinary practices from the different areas. Farmer meetings will be taking place in the catchment areas, starting in the Stroud area on 12 October and moving on to the Cheltenham area on 16 October. Further meetings to be confirmed are, Stafford in early November, Bromyard in late November and Tiverton West and Tiverton South East in early December. Farmers from within the catchment areas will be invited to attend these meetings to find out more about the project and to provide an opportunity to register their interest in participating.
Training: Contractors will be trained to trap and vaccinate badgers. This will be carried out under a Natural England licence and each contractor will need to be adequately trained as part of the licensing accreditation process. Recruitment and vaccination in the areas will be phased in over 2 years to allow time for training. Expressions of Interest have been received from contractors following the invitation to tender by Fera, which closed on 25 September. Pre-Qualification Questionnaires (PQQs) have been sent to interested parties and are to be returned by 2 November.
A consultation exercise is being held on an exemption order to the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 to allow the vaccination of badgers against tuberculosis to be carried out by non-veterinary surgeons.
Vaccination of badgers: Vaccination is expected to begin in summer 2010 and it will take place for at least 5 years in each area. Badgers will be trapped, injected, temporarily marked and then released. Farmers will only need to grant access onto their land to contractors for a few nights each year, so participation in the project will not be a time consuming exercise.
Getting involved: The project is designed to be flexible and participation is voluntary. Defra is funding the project for five years in each area and we will encourage farmers to participate for the full period to increase their chance of vaccination having a benefit for their herd. However, farmers will be able to reconsider their participation at any time.
Further details of the project can be found in the booklet:
Copies of the booklet can be obtained from:
Phone: 08459 55 6000
Please quote the publication reference number – PB13306.
Page last modified: 8 October, 2009