It is the plan of Government to spend £20 million on researching and developing a vaccine for use against bTB in the UK as the best strategy to combat the disease. Although this was dismissed as the second best option by the Krebs report, Defra have decided to invest heavily over the next three years to provide a usable vaccine.
This funding however is not new and was already earmarked for this use before the green light was given to continue this research.
There are a number of problems with vaccination for bTB.
- Defra claim vaccine research is on course for 2012, however in reality we are more likely to see a usable vaccine in 2015 onwards because of the legislative process that dictates allowance.
- There is question over who will pay for and administer these vaccines, the government can not farmers to pay the price for a disease they can not control themselves and how do the badgers become vaccinated? Will we have a baited badger and wildlife population - risking vaccination to farm animals and dogs?
- The vaccine research is likely to require a further £15 million to complete the programme, along with a further 3 to 5 years required to achieve immunisation among the badger population. This could lead to a further 10 years of waiting...