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Badger vaccination scheme relaunched
The badger vaccination scheme will commence in Spring 2018.

Successful applicants to receive government grant

The government has relaunched its badger-vaccination scheme as part of a package of new measures to prevent the transmission of bovine TB (bTB) in England.

The Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme, which opens for expressions of interest today (11 September), was suspended for two years following a global vaccine shortage. It will begin in Spring 2018 and successful applicants will receive a government grant for 50 per cent of their costs from a fund worth £700,000, over four years.

The government also announced the launch of a new bTB advisory service, that will provide practical advice to farmers on biosecurity and risk-based trading.
It added that 11 additional licences for badger control will be granted to parts of Devon, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset and Cheshire. Licences have been granted for supplementary badger control in areas of Gloucestershire and Somerset which have completed their original four-year licences.

Farming minister George Eustice commented: “Bovine TB not only has a devastating impact on our beef and dairy farms, but causes harm and distress to infected cattle. We have a clear plan to eradicate the disease over the next 20 years and this year we are restarting the government-backed Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme to stop the disease spreading to new areas.

“Vaccination is just one part of our comprehensive strategy, which also includes tighter cattle controls, improved biosecurity and badger control in areas where bTB is rife to tackle the reservoir of disease in wildlife.

“While our eventual aim is to eradicate the disease completely, farmers are facing the reality of bTB on their farms every day, which is why we are also launching a new bTB Advisory Service to offer advice to all farmers on limiting on-farm disease risk.”

Chief vet Nigel Gibbens said: “Taking action to prevent bovine TB infection of cattle from the reservoir of disease in local badger populations is an essential part of the government’s 25-year strategy to eradicate the disease in England. Proactive badger control is currently the best available option and the licensing of further areas is necessary to realise disease control benefits across the High-Risk Area of England, rather than at local levels.”

The bTB advisory service will launch next month and farmers can pre-register their interest by email.

 

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Scheme to protect wildlife and reduce flooding

News Story 1
 Natural England has announced a new scheme to improve flood protection, boost wildlife and create 160 hectares of new saltmarsh. The £6 million scheme in Lancashire will effectively unite the RSPB’s Hesketh Out Marsh Reserve and Natural England’s Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve. The completed reserve will be the largest site of its kind in the north of England. 

News Shorts
Welfare event to discuss ethical dilemmas faced by vets

Students and ethics experts will host an event on the difficult moral challenges facing vets. Ethical issues, such as euthanasia and breeding animals for certain physical traits, will be discussed by prominent speakers including TV vet Emma Milne and RSPCA chief vet James Yeates. Other topics will include how to tackle suspected animal abuse and the extent of surgical intervention.

The conference will look at how these dilemmas affect the wellbeing of vets, and explore how to better prepare veterinary students for work. It will be held at the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus from 30 September - 1 October 2017. Tickets can be purchased here.