Charity fears badger cull could still come to Oxfordshire this year

Can you want to help save the badgers? Oxfordshire Badger Group launches fundraising campaign to battle bovine tuberculosis

A badger photo taken by Alex White, wildlife photographer with the Oxfordshire Badger Group charity.
A badger photo taken by Alex White, wildlife photographer with the Oxfordshire Badger Group charity.

Despite Oxfordshire Badger Group having a vaccination programme in place the group is facing fears the badger cull could still come to Oxfordshire this year.

The Oxfordshire Badger Group (OBG) has written to all district and county councillors and MPs asking for them to speak out against the practice and has appealed for funding to increase its work.

Julia Hammett, chair of the Oxfordshire Badger Group, which is registered charity, said: "It's important that the public know that despite the pandemic, an iconic, protected species is still being cruelly slaughtered in large parts of our countryside as part of a deeply flawed policy.

"The government should have stopped the cull and instead funded an expansion of the vaccination schemes already in place. There is the real possibility that there will be local extinction."

Trained volunteers from the group have been vaccinating badgers in the county this summer against bovine tuberculosis.

The vaccination project is funded by the group, and they have launched a Just Giving web page to help raise much needed funds to continue the project.

Anyone who would like to contribute to the vaccination project can use the following web link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/oxfordshire-badger-group-vaccination-project

Mum and badger cub (photo from Oxfordshire Badger Group)

The OBG contends funds used by the government to kill badgers in Oxfordshire could be put into this voluntary scheme instead.

Debbie White, who is coordinating the Oxfordshire scheme, said: “Badger vaccination is a beneficial addition in the fight against bovine tuberculosis with no negative impacts."

The OBG wants to continue its vaccination project in the fight against bovine Tb (bTB), which is a safe, effective and humane alternative to culling.

The OBG said badgers are an important link in the food chain of the woodland and countryside scene, and like all animals, should be treasured and preserved, not criminalised and destroyed.

A volunteer with the Oxfordshire Badger Group prepares a vaccination

Culling is opposed by a vast majority of the public and is profoundly divisive for affected rural communities. Badger vaccination is a beneficial addition in the fight against bovine tuberculosis with no negative impact.

Oxfordshire Badger Group believe that vaccination not culling is the way forward.

A spokesperson for the group said: "We are in our second year of vaccinating badgers in Oxfordshire, thanks to the valiant effort of volunteers and supporters who raise vital funding.

"We believe, like the Badger Trust, that public trust is being betrayed. DEFRA should invest in vaccination programmes like ours and help us to expand injecting badgers across the county, instead of spending money shooting them.

A badger photo taken by Alex White, wildlife photographer with the Oxfordshire Badger Group charity.

"Please help us to stop the inhumane, ineffective, indefensible and costly badger cull coming to Oxfordshire."