New badger vaccination licence rolled out
26th May 2022
The government says the new licence will allow more badgers to be vaccinated by reducing the administrative burden.
A simplified licence for vaccinating badgers has been rolled out today (Thursday 26th May), as part of government plans to step up efforts to eradicate bovine TB in England by 2038.
Farmers, landowners and vaccination groups who have successfully registered can use the licence from today and a new app allows vaccinators to report activity in real-time.
The new licence allows those trained to trap badgers for vaccination to register as an ‘authorised person’. Applicants no longer need to apply for an individual licence, providing extensive information and wait up to 30 days for a decision.
Last year, 1,575 badgers were vaccinated across England. It is hoped that the new licence, plus a subsidy cutting the cost of the vaccine by nearly half, will allow more farmers, landowners, and vaccination groups to get involved in these projects.
This includes a five-year programme in East Sussex, which was awarded £2.27 million last year to support farmers deploying vaccines over an area of 250 square kilometres.
Biosecurity minister Lord Benyon commented: “Bovine TB is one of the most difficult and intractable animal health challenges that the UK faces today, causing considerable trauma for farmers and costing taxpayers over £100 million every year.
“The widespread vaccination of badgers is a key cornerstone of our strategy to eradicate TB by 2038, with our new and simplified licence allowing more farmers and vaccination groups to join the fight against this insidious disease.”
Natural England will continue to undertake visits to check that vaccination projects are complying with the conditions of the licence and follow the best practice guide.
The announcement forms part of the Government’s long-term strategy to eradicate bovine TB in England by 2038, which outlined plans to bring in badger and cattle vaccination alongside other measures – whilst phasing out the badger cull from 2022.
The licence has been published online and those interested can register now. Applicants will need to provide information about their training experience and can expect a decision within 48 hours.
If successful, they will be able to start vaccinating badgers on land where they have the landowner’s permission to do so straightaway and can report their activity in real-time through the new smartphone app, developed by the Worldwide Veterinary Service.