National Trust members today (Saturday 26 October) voted against a members’ resolution to introduce an immediate and widespread badger vaccination programme on the charity’s land.
The resolution was suggested by a group of members to help tackle bovine TB and prevent National Trust land being involved in a cull of badgers if one is rolled out by the Government next year.
The charity’s Trustees stressed that their recommendation against the resolution did not mean that the Trust is in favour of culling badgers, and they will take on board the views expressed by many members as part of the AGM debate.
The Trust advocates an evidence based approach to tackling bovine TB which covers an integrated package of measures, including those to improve biosecurity and prevent cattle-to-cattle transmission.
“This is an emotive issue on all sides of the debate,” said Patrick Begg from the National Trust.
“We are in favour of doing what works to solve the problem that is affecting so many of our tenants and farmers across the country.
“Vaccination is our long term preference, both of badgers and cattle, but our badger vaccination trial at Killerton in Devon is only half way through. It may prove costly and hard to administer in practice.
“We have deep concerns about how useful the Government’s pilot badger culls will now prove, and have sought assurances from them that they remain committed to upholding high standards of scientific rigour in the conduct and analysis of the pilots. Changes to the original design has shaken our confidence.
“We will judge the outcomes of the pilots, and the Government’s subsequent approach, against the criteria for success set out by Professor Bourne in his review of the Randomised Badger Culling Trial.”
The results of the member votes were:
- Badger vaccination: 7,808 for the resolution, 8,694 against.
- Fairtrade tea: 7,337 for the resolution, 9,036 against.
The following members were also elected to the Trust’s Council:
- John Godfrey, 10,708
- Rosie Corner, 9,735
- Irving Lord, 8,175
- Cristina George, 9,918
- Geoffrey Nickolds, 7,397
- John Lyon, 7,548
- Dylan Williams, 8,406
- Roseanne Williams, 7,875
- Caroline Goodall, 9,781
- Rupert Thorp, 7,524
 More information on the members’ resolutions, including the full resolution and the trustee response, is available here: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/agm