Why not use vaccination programme to keep badger numbers down

Aaah - lovely badgers! Who could possibly want to kill them? But with no natural predators, badger numbers have increased hugely since they became a protected species. It is surely possible that overcrowded setts and competition for food have predisposed them to TB, typically a disease of poor living conditions.

These secretive rural animals are increasingly driven to forage in unsuitable areas such as suburbia and to cross busy roads – I see far more badgers than foxes as roadkill these days. Animal lovers might also like to consider that hungry badgers eat hedgehogs, whose numbers have recently declined catastrophically.

It doesn’t seem unreasonable to conclude that smaller, healthier badger colonies would be preferable for all sorts of reasons.

Might a programme of vaccination combined with injected contraception be feasible? If so, it could be a solution to this difficult problem.

Anne Davison