Monday, 20 April 2015

Vets call for an end to shooting of badgers

British Veterinary Association says cull is necessary to stop spread of TB in cattle but current methods are not effective or humane

Sunday 19 April 2015 00.05 BSTLast modified on Sunday 19 April 201500.06 BST

The association for British vets has called for an end to the shooting of badgers, claiming that, two years in, the four-year pilot scheme to cull the animals has not shown it is an effective or humane method of killing them.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) said it still supports the government’s controversial cull as necessary to control the spread of TB in cattle, but said projects in Somerset and Gloucestershire should be completed using the “tried and tested” method of trapping the badgers and then shooting them.

The BVA concluded that the results had not demonstrated conclusively that “controlled shooting”, when badgers are picked off in the wild, could work without cruelty. An independent expert panel had previously concluded from the cull’s first year that controlled shooting did not work very well.

BVA president John Blackwell said he was concerned that a disproportionate focus on the cull meant that other methods for controlling TB, including vaccination, were being forgotten: “BVA supported the pilots to test the use of controlled shooting, but data from the first two years of culling has not demonstrated conclusively that controlled shooting can be carried out effectively and humanely based on the criteria that were set.

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