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IT disappoints me greatly that the BVA has not taken a more supportive position in relation to both the pilot badger culls, and also that it does not take a more proactive role in explaining why culling is currently the only proven method to reduce TB in this or any country where a wildlife reservoir exists. We remain one of the only countries in the entire developed world that does not control this disease properly, and this is a major contributing factor to the levels we see in the UK today and to the continuing rise of the disease. It is an absolute tragedy that the scientists and politicians who have been allowed to condemn our nation's badger population to an escalation of disease are not held to account by our profession for the outcomes of their recommendations and decisions. Ever since control of disease in badgers was halted, the radial spread of the disease has continued on. Spoligotyping shows this to be far more likely related to local wildlife vectors than to cattle movements. Of course cattle movements are involved in the small number of long distance translocations of disease, but the main spread and persistent disease is clearly attributable to the lack of removal of incurable infected animals roaming free among our pastures. Those translocated episodes are quickly addressed with cattle measures unless a wildlife reservoir exists. Other countries apply more common sense and would never allow this ridiculous disease spread to occur.
The BVA and veterinary surgeons in general should be helping to educate the public about the true long-term effects of culling. Data …
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