CHESHIRE Wildlife Trust hopes a badger vaccination programme in the south of the county will help prevent a northerly spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB).

The trust is opposed to a Government-backed cull in Gloucestershire and Somerset that has drawn condemnation from Queen guitarist Brian May and the Wildlife Trusts’ UK president and naturalist Simon King.

The Cheshire Wildlife Trust says its own vaccination programme could demonstrate a proven alternative to the much-criticised cull.

Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s Richard Gardner said: “We have a unique opportunity here on the frontline of the northerly spread of bTB to show that culling is not the answer.

“We work daily with landowners in our Living Landscape scheme, and fully understand the personal and financial hardship this horrible disease can cause to farmers who find it within their herds.

“In south Cheshire we have a chance to create a ‘firewall’ against bTB, and demonstrate that vaccination, in partnership with better monitoring and biosecurity is the best alternative to free-shoot culling.”

The trusts vaccination deployment is taking place in partnership with neighbouring Shropshire Wildlife Trust, local independent veterinary practices and farmers who support the scheme.

Results of the first UK badger vaccination trial results were published in October. The trust said the results proved the scheme to be an affordable and viable alternative to culling.

For more on the scheme, go to