Shropshire badger vaccination starts

Image caption The wildlife trust said the badger groups would have to be vaccinated annually to cut the spread of TB

Badgers are being vaccinated against tuberculosis (TB) in Shropshire in a bid to prevent the spread of the disease among cattle.

The five-year scheme, launched by Shropshire Wildlife Trust, is in response to a government-run trial badger cull in Gloucestershire.

The trust said it hoped to show vaccination was a more effective and more humane way of controlling TB.

Badgers on a north Shropshire reserve are due to be trapped and inoculated.

The Shropshire group is working alongside Cheshire Wildlife Trust which is also vaccinating badgers at one of its sites.

In 2010 the spread of TB across UK farms led to the slaughter of almost 25,000 cattle and cost the industry about £100m, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Helen Trotman, from Shropshire Wildlife Trust said: "We know badgers are implicated in the disease cycle and they are transmitting tuberculosis to cattle.

"What we want to do is show we can cut out that risk by vaccinating as opposed to culling."

The trust said the badger groups would have to be vaccinated annually for the scheme to be effective.

If the Gloucestershire trial cull is deemed successful, the government said it could be rolled out across other areas of England.

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