The BVA has underlined its support for the badger culls and the extension of licences in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has responded to the written ministerial statement from the Defra secretary of state at the end of the licence for badger culling in Somerset.

BVA president Robin Hargreaves said: “The British Veterinary Association has supported the pilot culls in England to determine whether badger culling can be delivered humanely, effectively, and safely by controlled shooting.

“We will not prejudge the report of the Independent Expert Panel (IEP), which will consider data from the initial six-week pilots in Somerset and Gloucestershire, but we are interested to note the secretary of state’s announcement that current indications suggest the pilot has been safe and humane.

“Our veterinary policy group has discussed the issues surrounding the extensions to the licences.

“We agree with the chief veterinary officer’s advice that extensions to remove a greater number of badgers and get closer to achieving the 70% rate of the Randomised Badger Culling Trials (RBCTs) are justified to improve the bovine TB disease situation and mitigate the potential impact of badger perturbation.

“Following questions raised by our members we have been assured by Defra that monitoring of the culling will continue to ensure it is being carried out in accordance with the humaneness and safety stipulations in the licences – although it is important to note this data will not form part of the information being considered by the IEP.

“We await the report of the IEP and will engage members in considering what impact it will have on the overall bovine TB eradication strategy for England.”

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