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Badger vaccination against bovine TB 'would not be cost-effective'

Vaccinating badgers against bovine TB (bTB) would not be cost-effective because they would have to be immunised each year, MPs were told.

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In a debate on the badger cull in Parliament, Labour MP for Derby North Chris Williamson said the cull was expensive and that organisations such as the Zoological Society of London had stated vaccination was a viable and more cost-effective alternative.

 

But Simon Hart, Conservative MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, pointed out vaccinations were yearly, and therefore were not cost-effective. He added the vaccine had no impact on badgers which already had bTB.

 

Labour has been vehemently opposed to the badger cull and said it would pull the plug on the scheme if it ever returned to power.

 

Mr Williamson called for a cost benefit analysis between vaccination and culling.

 

Farming Minister George Eustice said while vaccination did have a role to play, it required regular top ups.

 

The Government has been supporting the use of vaccines in the Edge areas, as part of the Badger Vaccination Scheme.


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He said the Government was also looking at vaccinating cattle.

 

Mr Eustice defended the effectiveness of the cull, saying that in areas where it was done it had shown a decrease in incidents of infected cattle.

 

Earlier this year Environment Secretary Michael Gove commissioned an independent expert panel led by Sir Charles Godfray to assess Defra’s efforts to control bovine TB in England, the results of which will be published tomorrow (November 13).

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