Badger vaccine suspension in Wales a blow to eradication programme – BVA

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The British Veterinary Association has said the Welsh government’s announcement that badger vaccination project is to be suspended due to the global shortage of the BCG vaccine is a blow for eradication.

Neil Paton, president of BVA Welsh Branch, said: “This is disappointing news and will be a significant blow to the bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) eradication programme in Wales. However, it is clear that the One Health and human health agenda should take priority in this case.

“We urge Welsh government to reconsider its eradication programme as a matter of urgency, particularly in relation to wildlife control. We welcome the move to commission modelling work to evaluate the impact of suspension and we are keen to work with the Government to identify an evidence-based solution to this problem so that any potential progress made in Wales is not lost.”

BVA president Sean Wensley added: “This development further emphasises the need for the agricultural sector to have as many tools in the toolbox as possible in order to fight bTB. It is right that public health takes priority but it is regrettable that the supply chain is so vulnerable and we would want to see more security in the future.

“We also expect the global shortage will affect the bTB eradication programmes in England and Northern Ireland, both of which include an element of badger vaccination. We will continue to engage with all UK governments to push for comprehensive and evidence-based eradication strategies.”