THE Sussex Wildlife Trust is concerned that the Government could sanction the culling of badgers in Sussex in an official effort to control the disease.

With a bTB High Risk Area now identified in the area between Brighton and Eastbourne we want to vaccinate all the badgers on Sussex Wildlife Trust nature reserves in that area and the land adjoining them where possible.

We are appealing to people living in Sussex to make a donation to help fund this project.

I believe that killing badgers is not the answer to the successful control of Bovine TB (bTB).

Grazing is central to nature conservation and Bovine TB in cattle threatens this, not just on our nature reserves but throughout the farmed landscape. Before humans came along wild grazers would have created the equivalent of our grasslands and heathlands but these days we rely on domestic animals.

Any control programme within the bTB hotspot area must be done alongside a whole raft of other measures – bio-security on farms, careful control of cattle movement and regular testing.

Bovine TB is a complex issue and badger vaccination is only part of the work necessary to keep both badgers and cattle safe from this terrible disease.

But, it could be a non-controversial contribution to solving a problem that has caused so much unfortunate argument over the past years and if this broad spectrum of measures can work anywhere, it should work in Sussex.

Badger vaccination involves carefully catching all badgers in an area and injecting them with vaccine, using a tried and tested method. We know it works and success rates (in terms of numbers of badgers injected) are high.

But, this has to be done every year, for every badger, for at least five years. Clearly such an operation is not cheap. But, against the flawed alternative of culling, we think it is the best way forward.

In the long term other bTB control measures may become available – such as an oral vaccine for badgers and a vaccine for cattle. But for now Sussex Wildlife Trust strongly believes badger vaccination could make an important contribution.

If you would like to donate to the project, please send a cheque made payable to Sussex Wildlife Trust, to Sussex Wildlife Trust, Woods Mill, Henfield, Sussex, BN5 9SD marked ‘badger appeal’. To donate online and for further information visit:

Dr Tony Whitbread, chief executive at the Sussex Wildlife Trust