The logical way forward is to vaccinate the cattle and this is the one area where both sides agree. The reason we don't vaccinate cattle at this time is we couldn't sell them in Europe due to regulations. This was proposed in 1997 by Lord Krebs in his report. We are waiting for a DIVA test to be accepted to differentiate between vaccinated and wild strains. We are supporting the campaign to vaccinate badgers.
Badger BCG alone is not the solution to bTB, but it does have an immediate effect with no associated negative impact.
The Governments Vaccine Deployment Project is one such undertaking.
The Badger Vaccine Deployment Project involves trapping and vaccinating badgers (using an intra-muscular injection of BCG) in a 100km2 area near Stroud in Gloucestershire. It dealt with the practicalities of a vaccination programme and in 2011 628 badgers were vaccinated against TB.
The primary aims of vaccinating badgers in the Stroud area are to maintain Fera's capability to vaccinate badgers, and to provide training for others who may wish to apply for a license to do so. The Government are considering vaccination along with culling as components of a package of measures to address the TB issue.
Laboratory and field studies have demonstrated that vaccination of badgers by injection with BCG significantly reduces the progression, severity and excretion of TB infection.
Chambers et al (2010) showed the BCG vaccination of free-living badgers reduced the incidence of positive serological test results by 73.8%.
Some wildlife trusts including Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust are currently vaccinating their badgers. This paper was written by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.