Neil was commissioned in 2011 by BBC Wildlife Magazine, and again in 2020 by Nature Picture Library on behalf of Avon Wildlife Trust, to photograph and film badger vaccination work in England.
In 2011, Neil's photo story focused on the badger vaccination trials being carried out in Gloucestershire. The trials were undertaken by the Food and Environment Research Agency (now independent of the UK government) to understand the viability of vaccinating badgers in an effort to protect cattle from contracting bovine TB. The work aimed to prove whether vaccination was a viable alternative to the controversial culling of badgers that the government was proposing at the time.
The resulting magazine feature "Kill or Cure?", written by the magazine's Environment Editor James Fair, was voted Feature of the Year across all BBC magazine titles in 2011.
After the publication of this feature, the UK government acted against advice from its own commissioned scientists and ignored public pressure and pressed ahead with culling trials. Badger culls have since been rolled out beyond the initial trial areas in Somerset and Gloucestershire at considerable cost to the UK taxpayer and despite significant ethical concerns over the safety of the culling and its effectiveness in the reduction of TB.
Many landowners have since opted to fund and carry out badger vaccination programmes and to block the culling of badgers on their land. This includes Avon Wildlife Trust, who Neil worked with to produce the short film above and a photo story.
Many of the following images, along with video clips, are available through Nature Picture Library.