Veterinary associations have welcomed the announcement by DEFRA for a badger cull as a key component of bovine TB eradication plans for England.

The British Veterinary Association and the British Cattle Veterinary Association have long supported the need to control TB in both cattle and wildlife.

Commenting on the decision, Harvey Locke, president of the BVA, said: “We are particularly pleased this announcement has not been delayed until after the summer recess, which demonstrates the seriousness of the need to tackle TB.

“We recognise this is a very emotive and difficult decision but we believe the science supports this policy and we support DEFRA’s commitment to tackling this devastating disease.

BCVA’s president John Fishwick stressed the importance of getting the detail right. “An industry-led cull will be an enormous undertaking for everyone involved and it is vital we get the detail right from the outset; for the sake of cattle, wildlife and industry.

“We are particularly pleased the veterinary profession’s concerns that any cull must be humane and well monitored appear to have been listened to and we will now study the proposals in detail,” he said.

The BVA and BCVA jointly responded to DEFRA’s 2010 consultation to say the available science supported the case for a badger cull. Through the consultation response they also raised the issue of the efficacy of an industry-led cull using controlled shooting (as opposed to cage trapping and shooting) and stated firmly that any cull must be monitored for humaneness.

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