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Cheshire badgers to undergo £48k TB vaccine scheme

Badger Image copyright PA
Image caption Bovine tuberculosis affected 128 herds of cattle in Cheshire last year

Badgers in parts of Cheshire are to be vaccinated in a bid to stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis.

Cheshire West and Chester Council will start a five year vaccination scheme on two areas of land around Northwich.

The government has allowed badger culling in the county since 2017, but councillors have criticised the practice.

Karen Shore, cabinet member for the environment, said the vaccine scheme was "good news" for rural communities.

The council decided not to allow badger culling to take place on its land, and a report said the vaccination programme could be "up to 20 times cheaper", at a cost of £48,000.

It could also be more effective in halting the spread of the disease, the council said.

It added that bovine TB had had "a devastating effect" on the farming community in Cheshire, with 128 herds declared "not officially disease-free" in the 12 months up to October 2017.

The vaccine is to be administered by volunteers, led by a part-time council employed co-ordinator.

An independent scientific review urged the government to accelerate the development of non-lethal TB controls for badgers, such as vaccination.

The government has previously said its national cull programme had been "effective".

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