Peak District National Park Authority position statement on badgers and bovine tuberculosis (bTB)
A core purpose of National Parks is to conserve and enhance wildlife and we can achieve this through management, which helps us to be the very best for nature.
The Peak District National Park Authority recognises the importance of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) control to the livestock industry and supports the principle that bTB management in badgers plays a part in this.
We support greater uptake of biosecurity measures and vaccination, where available, as an alternative to culling, for the following reasons:
- Defra's recognition of the desirability of moving from lethal to non-lethal control
- The greater role increased biosecurity measures on farms can play in bTB control, at relatively low cost but so far with limited uptake
- The large proportion of badgers that are likely to be bTB-free (estimated at 75%+)
- An estimated 70% or more reduction in the badger population is required to achieve an effective reduction in the transmission of bTB to cattle.
- The similar cost of badger vaccination as compared to badger culling.
The Authority has no control over badger culling or vaccination within the Peak District National Park except on land that the Authority owns (and where management control lies with the Authority). In line with Defra’s policy, we therefore recognise that it is at individual landowners’ discretion whether or not they wish to allow culling or vaccination of badgers on their land, appropriately licenced and carried out. However, we will promote the benefits of biosecurity measures and vaccination through our advisory and liaison work with landowners and land managers within the National Park.
On the Authority’s landholdings, in line with our National Park purpose we recognise that we have a responsibility towards badger conservation. In doing so we also have a duty to local communities to help achieve a reduction in the risks of bTB transmission to livestock. For the reasons above, we consider the promotion of biosecurity measures and, where appropriate, vaccination of badgers to be our preferred means of achieving this on land owned by the Authority. Where land is owned and directly managed by the Authority, we will not consent to badger culling for bTB reduction purposes.