Vets’ culling support pleases farmers

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has backed calls from the British Veterinary Association (BVA) that badger culling is necessary to tackle bovine tuberculosis (bTB).

The BVA’s Council has approved a new policy position stating that badger culling is necessary in certain circumstances to tackle the spread of bTB. The UFU has welcomed the statement as a “positive contribution to the debate”

UFU animal health chairman Cyril Millar said: “The UFU has consistently stated that the reservoir of TB in wildlife must be dealt with, otherwise we will not progress to an eradication of the disease. The BVA has made an informed policy statement, which clearly states that the wildlife factor will have to be addressed.

"The BVA has advocated humane, targeted and managed culling in specific areas where badgers are regarded as a significant contributor to the persistent presence of bTB. This is a very positive contribution to the debate on TB. We need decisive action to deal with this issue.”

The BVA had already welcomed a pilot badger cull in west Wales earlier this year, but this is the first time it has fully approved badger culling as a policy.

Nicky Paull, BVA president, added: “In no way does our new policy position detract from the continued focus on cattle-to-cattle spread, within both the veterinary profession and the farming community, which continues to play a key role in attempts to control the disease.

“But the BVA believes that humane, targeted and managed culling of badgers in some areas will be necessary if we are to reverse the increasing prevalence of bTB.”