Shropshire badger vaccinations due to get under way
Badger vaccinations will get under way in Shropshire this weekend when an animal charity teams up with farmers across the county.
The daybreak trapping and vaccination by the Shropshire Badger Trust is the beginning of full, four-year badger vaccination schemes at six farms as part of its campaign to prevent widespread culling of the animals.
Five months ago the trust publicised its intention to offer the scheme to six farmers, free of charge.
Jim Ashley, trust chairman, said: "As a result we were contacted by a number of people, both farmers and other land owners, and following a series of very positive meetings, we were able to identify six properties where our scheme would be welcome and of most potential benefit.
"Those properties were then surveyed for details of badger activity and we've now begun the vaccination process by placing cages on the first two farms with the others to follow during the next six weeks."
Details of the farms are not being released.
The scheme is being provided entirely by volunteers from within the Shropshire Badger Group, a number of whom have attended and qualified as vaccinators on the Government's Training Course.
"This is both in their own time and at their own expense, with the group funding the necessary equipment," said Mr Ashley.
"However, it is a considerable commitment for a relatively small charity so any help with funding would be much appreciated.
"Since we began our surveys a number of other farmers have expressed an interest in what we are doing and these may result in us expanding our scheme next year, if we can find further funding, but we are still happy to hear from any farmer who has not yet contacted us and would like to know more."
More information about badger vaccination is on the trust's website www.shropshirebadgergroup.co.uk where there is also information about how to contract and ask questions of the trust.
The badger cull has resumed in Gloucestershire and west Somerset, following on from a first cull last year.
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