Farmers support vaccination

SBVP treasurer Sue Pettifor, Simon Kirby MP and director Kate Edmonds
SBVP treasurer Sue Pettifor, Simon Kirby MP and director Kate Edmonds

Three local MPs have added their voices to the growing call to support badger vaccination in the fight against bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in the East Sussex area.

During meetings last week in Westminster, members of the Sussex Badger Vaccination Project received strong endorsement of their approach from Brighton MPs, Simon Kirby (Con, Kemptown) and Caroline Lucas (Green, Pavilion), as well as Wealden MP (Con) Charles Hendry.

All three gave their backing to this approach as preferable to the Government’s current strategy of badger culling in endemic areas.

Simon Kirby immediately requested a meeting about this with David Cameron and was able to meet the Environment Minister on Wednesday, February 5. He is calling for the Government to back plans to vaccinate badgers in East Sussex against bTB.

Mr Kirby said: “I believe a pilot badger vaccination programme in the high risk area of East Sussex would make a significant contribution to the scientific debate on the issue, and potentially prove that vaccination offers a cost effective solution in the fight against bTB.”

He wants to see Government support to allow SBVP to expand its operations and carry out a pilot vaccination programme as an effective alternative to culling. One charity has estimated the total cost of the West Country cull at £4,121 per badger.