Badger culling is necessary in certain circumstances to tackle thespread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB), according to both the BVA and BCVA.
This week the BVA’s Council approved the new policy position, adding the veterinary profession’s voice to the ongoing debate on bTB.
BVA president Nicky Paull welcomed the announcement of a pilot badger cull in west Wales earlier this year. However, the BVA has now updated its bTB policy to more strongly state the case for humane, targeted and managed culling in specific areas where badgers are regarded as a significant contributor to the persistent presence of bTB.
The BVA’s policy also states that the current Government strategy for bTB control is inadequate and calls for simultaneous control measures in both cattle and badgers and other wildlife and susceptible farmed species.
Mrs Paull said: “Bovine TB has an unacceptable impact on animal health and welfare and has the potential to be a risk to public health. Yet the current strategy for dealing with it is inadequate.
“Where I practise in Cornwall vets and farmers are desperate for effective measures to help us get on top of this inexorable disease.
“Veterinary surgeons take an active role in surveillance, diagnosis and treatment of disease and we know that the only way to control bTB is through simultaneous and coordinated measures across all susceptible species.
“In no way does our new policy position detract from the continued focus on cattle-to-cattle spread, within both the veterinary profession and the farming community, which continues to play a key role in attempts to control the disease.
“But the BVA believes that humane, targeted and managed culling of badgers in some areas will be necessary if we are to reverse the increasing prevalence of bTB.”