Assessing Farmer Confidence in Badger Vaccination: Some Findings from a Survey of Cattle Farmers in England


  • Damian Maye University of Gloucestershire
  • Gareth Enticott Cardiff University
  • Brian Ilbery University of Gloucestershire
  • Rhiannon Fisher Royal Agricultural University
  • James Kirwan University of Gloucestershire


Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a complex animal disease affecting farmed cattle and badgers in England and Wales. In England, vaccination of either cattle and/or wildlife is seen as an important long-term policy to help reduce the impact of bTB. This paper provides an assessment of cattle farmer attitudes towards badger vaccination, captured via a baseline telephone survey of farmers in five areas where rates of bTB in cattle are high, including one area in Gloucestershire where, since 2010, badgers have been vaccinated as part of the Government's Badger Vaccine Deployment Project (BVDP). The uptake of badger vaccination is likely to be dependent on farmers' trust and confidence in the vaccine and those who promote it. The paper argues that measuring trust in institutions is a good way to assess farmer confidence in badger vaccination. Using a series of statements from previous research that has examined institutional trust, the paper shows how farmers surveyed were cautious about the role of badger vaccination to control bTB in cattle. Levels of vaccine acceptability or trust in the Government were not high. Further work is needed to unpack the relationship between trust and confidence in badger vaccination. Keywords: Bovine TB; badger vaccination; trust; confidence; England