The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has written to the Badger Trust to clarify the BVA position on the pilot badger culls in England, stating it will not be supporting the trust’s application for a judicial review.

BVA council agreed a position on the continuation of controlled shooting in the pilot areas on April 16.

The position states the BVA could only support further culling using controlled shooting in the pilot areas if steps are taken to improve both its effectiveness and humaneness – and if there is robust monitoring and collation of results, and independent analysis and auditing by a non-governmental body.

It also states the BVA supports the Independent Expert Panel’s (IEP) recommendations for improving effectiveness and humaneness, and urges Defra to implement all the IEP’s recommendations fully.

Since April 16 the association has been in dialogue with Defra to seek assurances that these issues will be addressed, and those discussions are ongoing. It will not be taking a further position on the pilot culls until BVA council has had the opportunity to consider Defra’s plans in full, when they are made available.

The BVA is also concerned recent media reports, and the Badger Trust’s news release of May 20 announcing the application for a judicial review, have misrepresented its position and that some news articles have incorrectly suggested the BVA has withdrawn its support for badger culling as part of the overall strategy to eradicate bovine TB.

The BVA continues to believe the TB eradication strategy for England will only be successful if we are able to use all of the available tools, including targeted, humane badger culling.

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