National Trust members have voted against a resolution to introduce badger vaccination on the charity’s grounds.

The immediate and widespread programme was pitched at an AGM meeting as a way to help tackle bovine TB and prevent the organisation culling badgers in the future.

Despite

the Trust running a vaccination trial on Killerton Estate in Devon, a

vote at the meeting showed members did not think the cull alternative

should get rolled out across the country with 8,694 votes against

vaccination scheme compared to 7,808 for it.

The group insists the decision does not mean that it is pro-cull. National Trust rural enterprise director Patrick Begg says vaccination is still a preference but that the charity needs to take on board the opinions of its members.

He said decisions about the way the National Trust deals with bovine TB on its estates across the country should wait until the results from the vaccination trial and the Government’s cull trial are processed.

“We are in favour of doing what works to solve the problem that is affecting so many of our tenants and farmers across the country. We will judge the outcomes of the pilots, and the Government’s subsequent approach, against the criteria for success set out by Professor Bourne in his review of the Randomised Badger Culling Trial,” he said.

“That is why we are testing the practicalities of vaccination, at our own cost, on our Killerton Estate in Devon. Vaccination is our long term preference, both of badgers and cattle, but our badger vaccination trial at Killerton in Devon is only half way through. It may prove costly and hard to administer in practice.”

The Trust expressed worries about the the effectiveness, humane nature and ‘scientific rigour’ of the DEFRA-approved trial badger culls in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset in a statement released early last week. “We have deep concerns about how useful the Government’s pilot badger culls will now prove,” said Mr Begg.

“And have sought assurances from them that they remain committed to upholding high standards of scientific rigour in the conduct and analysis of the pilots. Changes to the original design has shaken our confidence.”

* Badger cull ‘proceeding to plan’

* Somerset badger cull gets three-week extension

  • Julia Michell

    As far as I understand it this article quotes incorrectly that members voted for culling, in fact, members motion was over ruled by a sledgehammer vote of 2000 taken by the Chairman. If the NT wants scientific evidence they need look no further than the Randomised Badger Culling Trial resulting in “badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain.” The government are ignoring the evidence for political reasons only, shameful.

  • Catherine

    Why did you remove my comment? It was polite. Was it that you just disagreed with what I said? Do you only accept comments that fit your own views? If you censor to that extent, may I suggest that you do not have a comments section at all.

  • Catherine

    Hmmmm, before the 2000 sledgehammer vote was used by the chair of the board, members that had actually taken the time and effort to cast their votes had clearly indicated that they wanted culling to be banned. Hence alot of very angry NT members (see their facebook page, it has been deluged with complaints). Make of that what you will?!!!!!!!!!!