The BVA has backed the roll-out of badger cage trapping and culling in the light of a BBC report that the controversial operation is to expand into five new areas of south-west England.
However, the BVA continues its opposition to the use of controlled shooting as a method of killing free-range badgers.
BVA president Sean Wensley said: “The BVA recognises the need to control the wildlife reservoir of disease as part of a comprehensive strategy to eradicate bTB. Therefore, control measures in cattle must be accompanied by simultaneous and coordinated control measures in badgers and susceptible farmed species.
“For these reasons, the BVA supports the wider roll-out of culling to carefully selected areas where badgers are regarded as a significant contributor to the high incidence of bTB in cattle, through the use of cage trapping and shooting only. We do not support the continued use of controlled shooting as part of the badger control policy.”
It is understood the shooting of badgers will begin in early September in:
- South Devon
- North Devon
- North Cornwall
- West Dorset
- south Herefordshire
According to Defra, England has the highest rate of bTB in Europe, which results in thousands of cattle being slaughtered every year.
The RSPCA is renewing calls for the culls to be stopped and a more proactive approach taken with a focus on cattle husbandry through improved biosecurity and better cattle control measures be adopted to tackle the problem of bTB.