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Vets back second badger cull

British Veterinary Association | British Veterinary Association

2 min read Partner content

Vets are backing a second year of pilot badger culls in England after changes to “improve humaneness and effectiveness”.

The British Veterinary Associationsaid scientific evidence supports the use of targeted, humane badger culling to achieve a reduction in the disease in cattle

The Independent Expert Panel (IEP) report on the first year of culling found it “failed to meet criteria for effectiveness in terms of the number of badgers removed”.

BVA President Robin Hargreaves said:

BVAhas always maintained that we could only support the use of controlled shooting as a method to cull badgers if it was found to be humane, effective and safe. We supported the findings of the Independent Expert Panel and called on Defra to implement the recommendations fully.

“We therefore welcome Defra’s proposals to improve humaneness and effectiveness in light of the IEP report, and we have been pleased how far Defra has moved towards BVA’s position, in particular by ensuring a robust and independent audit is in place.

“It is essential that Defra gets this right to allow the veterinary profession to have confidence that controlled shooting can be carried out humanely and effectively. We continue to call upon the Secretary of State to put in place independent analysis of the second year of culling to give confidence to the wider public.

“Badger culling is a necessary part of a comprehensive bovine TB eradication strategy that also includes strict cattle measures and vaccination. Culling remains a hugely emotive issue but we must tackle the disease in both cattle and wildlife.”

Defra has said that for the second cull, shotguns would not be used for controlled shooting; contractor selection, training and assessment would be enhanced and the number of field observations of shooting and number of post mortem examinations of badgers would be in line with that carried out in year one.

There will also be real-time information would ensure a better distribution of effort and that poor performing marksmen would be removed from the field.

Defra has committed to an independent audit of the way the protocols are carried out during the cull.

BVAsaid it is “is satisfied that the appointment of such an auditor addresses many of our original concerns”.

“I’m proud that the veterinary profession has had such a significant influence on Defra’s position and we will continue to engage with the government to ensure the pilot culls are humane and effective,” said Hargreaves.

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