FARMER Dick Roper has vowed not to shoot badgers on his land but to feed them a daily dose of health supplements to prevent the spread of a deadly disease hitting dairy herds.
Badgers are due to be shot in a cull ordered by the Government in an attempt to halt bovine tuberculosis but Mr Roper says his idea of feeding badgers vitamins and essential minerals keeps the disease at bay.
For almost a decade, Mr Roper has been leaving cakes made from sugary molasses laced with supplements, including high doses of selenium, near the badgers’ setts on his land as a way of keeping their immune systems in prime condition.
Since then, the farm he managed on the Wills Estate, near Northleach, Gloucestershire, has been TB-free, apart from two cases and they were in pastures near a neighbour’s maize crop.
His idea has won the support of the organic food licensing body, the Soil Association and the Badger Trust and has even featured in BBC Radio 4’s the Archers.
Mr Roper, 57, came up with his idea while researching why pedigree cattle on the estate had been stricken with bovine TB. He found a possible link to maize, which was the cows’ main winter fodder.