"The present pilot badger cull has spent £2m to kill 800 badgers ('Badgers to blame' for cull failing to hit target, 10 October). That is more than £2,000 per killed badger. I am a vet, trained and licensed to go out to trap and vaccinate badgers. A badger needs to be vaccinated only once in its life. I microchip the badgers after vaccination, so in the following years I don't spend expensive vaccine (at £17 per badger dose) unnecessarily. My role is to place the traps, set them and vaccinate the trapped badgers. Once I have placed the trap, volunteers or landowners can place bait (peanuts) in the traps at night and check the next morning if bait is being taken. Once the bait is being taken, I come and set the trap at night, check them the next morning, and vaccinate the trapped badgers.
Charging for an average of five visits per vaccinated badger (which is very generous, often two is enough) the cost of a vaccinated badger comes to a maximum of £200. For this cost you create an area of a vaccinated, stable badger population around farms. The microchipping also gives you yearly information about the number of badgers present, where to find them and where they go.
One of my observations, for example, is that in places where people told me "there were dozens of badgers everywhere", there were actually the same five badgers turning up all over the place. I honestly hope that these pilot culls will help to determine that we need a proper badger vaccination campaign, with farmers, vets and the Badger Trust working together to help to resolve the bovine TB problem in cattle and wildlife.