A WILDLIFE group are concerned badger culling could soon come to the county despite its own vaccination efforts.

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.

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

Badgers can spread the disease among farm animals leading to devastating consequences for farmers so in 2013 the government announced pilot badger culls.

Oxford Mail:

Oxfordshire Badger Group volunteer gets vaccine ready

Since then, more than 100,000 have been killed.

Those in favour say culling badgers reduces the disease in cows but opponents argue it is largely ineffective.

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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."

But despite OBG having a vaccination programme in place, campaigners are worried a badger cull could come to Oxfordshire this year.

Oxford Mail:

Badgers trapped ready to be vaccinated

The government announced in March, following a review, it would be phasing out 'intensive culling' in favour of badger vaccination, news which was welcomed by wildlife groups who have called the method 'ineffective and inhumane'.

Alongside this the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said trials of a vaccine against the disease for cattle would take place over the next five years.

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Since then, however, campaigners say measures have undermined this.

In May, Natural England, which issues the licences, approved seven new badger culling sites covering parts of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Devon, Dorset and Cornwall.

Up to 10 new licenses are also expected to be issued by Natural England from September, which could include Oxfordshire. Each licence runs for four years.

Oxford Mail:

Oxfordshire Badger Group volunteer gets vaccine ready

Campaigners argue funds used by the government to kill badgers in Oxfordshire could be put into this voluntary scheme instead.

Julia Hammett, from the group, said: "Oxfordshire Badger Group believe that vaccination not culling is the way forward.

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"Defra should invest in vaccination programmes like ours and help us to expand injecting badgers across the county, instead of spending money shooting them.

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

A gofundme created by the group has already raised more than £1,000. Visit oxonbadgergroup.org.uk.