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Badger culling, used to tackle bovine TB, is to be phased out and replaced by a vaccine for cattle.

The government has come under criticisms from campaigners against badger culling and the new vaccine will be implemented in the next five years.

RSPCA Salford and Manchester welcome the new announcement but believe it is not enough.

They believe the “Government’s strategy is moving in the right direction,” to get rid of badger culling, however, as the vaccine won’t be implemented till 2025, “it is frustrating that culling will continue for a number of years”.

Badger culling was first introduced in 2013 in Somerset and Gloucester as a way to reduce the number of badgers, in hope of controlling the spread of disease. It has since been extended to 40 different areas across the country.

In Gloucester, the government said that the number of TB in cattle has been reduced by 66% in the first four years it was introduced, and by 37% in Somerset.

Despite strong opposition from campaigners and wildlife welfare groups, farmers believe it is a effective way to control the spread of TB among cattle.

However, animal welfare groups claim it is a cruel and inhumane process.

RSCPA said: “Badger culling has been a cruel and ineffective, and we have been calling for some time for an alternative strategy to control bovine TB that focuses on cattle, which includes vaccination and improved testing.

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“culling in its current format is likely to continue for the next few years resulting in what we believe will be the unnecessary deaths of hundreds more badgers until 2025.”

This new vaccine has been made possible thanks to Animal and Plant Health Agency (Apha). It will be field tested in the next five years on infected and vaccinated animals, alongside the BCG vaccine.

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