BOROUGH chiefs are set to give their backing to badger vaccinations and take an extra step against culling on land leased out to farmers.

Cheshire East Council already has a policy against badger culling taking place on its own land, but cabinet members will firm up the authority’s stance at next Tuesday’s meeting.

The cabinet is expected to endorse vaccination as ‘an important part of any long-term approach’ towards eradicating Bovine TB, which affects cattle.

It is also set to endorse good biosecurity measures to reduce the spread of Bovine TB, and look to amend new leases for land it rents out to farmers, to require written consent for any culling to take place.

A report published ahead of the meeting says: “The licensed culling of badgers is a lawful measure.

“However, the council’s view is that vaccination is an important part of any long-term approach to reducing the general prevalence of the disease, risk to cattle or wildlife and its impact in Cheshire East.

“It is recognised that vaccinating badgers is not the complete answer to eradicating this disease in cattle but is complementary when taken alongside other measures.”

CEC had been challenged to strengthen its policies against culling by Cheshire Wounded Badger Patrol campaigners, who protested against the cull at last October’s full council meeting.

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But coordinator Jane Smith, who stood to be Congleton MP in last month’s General Election for the Animal Welfare Party, believes the plans to change lease agreements do not go far enough to protect badgers.

She said: “Because of the nature of farming, the leases can last for 15, 20 or 30 years.

“The badgers cannot wait that long in Cheshire East – they will become extinct.”

However, speaking to the Guardian ahead of last month’s election, Fiona Bruce gave her support to the badger cull – insisting farmers in her constituency ‘are experiencing the worst difficulties with TB’ in Cheshire.

The Conservative MP for Congleton said: “I have sat down with farmers that say they live in trepidation. I sat at one farmer’s home and his wife sobbed at the table.

“There is a choice. Either we deal with badgers that are carrying this disease from farm to farm or more cows will be slaughtered. It is a cow or a badger.

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“People say we need to have more vaccinations, but there is no vaccination that will heal an infected badger – once they have got it they have got it.”

The Government has licensed badger culling in an attempt to curb Bovine TB in parts of Cheshire since 2017.