CAMPAIGNERS are offering vaccinations as an alternative to culling badgers in the fight against bovine TB.
The Dorset Badger Vaccination Project (DBVP) has been set up by local conservationists to offer vaccinations as a more effective and affordable alternative.
They have been trained by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) in the trapping, vaccination and release of badgers.
Lead vaccinator, Melvyn Seddon said: “Farmers and landowners are not obliged to join the cull and badger vaccination is the cost effective, intelligent and scientific alternative.
“The benefits of vaccination have been clearly demonstrated by intensive field and laboratory studies carried out over 10 years by researchers at AHVLA and the Food & Environment Research Agency.”
The Echo revealed last year that Dorset was set to become one of the first counties to cull badgers in an attempt to tackle tuberculosis in cattle.
Dorset’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said in January that it would likely happen in the county in 2015.
A final decision from ministers is expected this month.
Dorset was set aside as a reserve site in case the pilot culls could not go ahead.
The DBVP aims to vaccinate social groups of badgers, including cubs, annually for five years.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is conducting vaccination trials and giving financial support to local groups to pursue this option.
Mr Seddon said: “We will fundraise to provide a complete service at cost or better.
“We will conduct surveys and deal with the bureaucracy and the necessary procedures prior to, during and after the actual vaccination.
“Therefore, all farmers who prefer an effective, sustainable, wildlife-friendly and publicly acceptable solution will be able to choose vaccination over culling.”
Farmers and landowners who want more information can contact the DBVP via email at: vaccination@DorsetMammalGroup.org.uk Alternatively, they can phone 07503 691765.