Cornwall Badger Rescue & Brock


Cornwall Badger Rescue Vaccination Program


You will, I am sure, be aware that the Government is culling badgers in the belief that it will help to reduce the spread of bovine TB (bTB) in cattle. It is not known how badgers contract bTB from cattle and while it is acknowledged that about 1 in 7 badgers may be infected, they are not all infectious. You may not be aware that an injectable vaccine for badgers is now available which prevents them from becoming infected. Cornwall Badger Rescue & Brock, who firmly believe that vaccination for badgers, and in the long term for cattle, is the real solution to reducing the incidence of bTB.


If you would be interested in discussing this in more detail, please telephone me on 01736 797740.


Bob Speechley




Q. How could vaccinating badgers reduce bovine TB in cattle?


A. Vaccinating badgers reduces the severity of the disease in those that become infected after vaccination. A reduction in the prevalence and severity of disease in the badger population will reduce the potential for transmission of TB from badgers to cattle.


Q. What effect does vaccination have on badgers?


A. Research has demonstrated that vaccination reduces the severity and progression of TB in badgers that were experimentally infected with bovine TB after vaccination. BCG vaccination also reduced the amount of bacteria excreted in urine, faeces and other clinical samples. Such effects in the field are likely to translate into a reduced risk of transmission to cattle.


Q. How will badgers be vaccinated?


A. Currently, the only available vaccine is an injectable one. Badgers are trapped in cages, injected with vaccine then released.


Q. Why can’t we vaccinate cattle?


A. Cattle vaccination against TB is currently prohibited under EU legislation. Currently, the only vaccine candidate for use in cattle is BCG which interferes with the mandatory tuberculin skin test. Vaccinated cattle could become positive to the tuberculin skin test and herds could not be declared Officially TB Free (OTF) for trading purposes. Therefore, as part of the UK research programme we are developing and validating a diagnostic test to differentiate between infected and vaccinated animals (a so-called ‘DIVA test’). Changes will be required to the EU legislation to allow this test to be used in place of, or alongside, the tuberculin skin test to confer OTF status.




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