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WE note the BVA’s response to the Godfray review1 which states that: ‘BVA supports the principle of badger control where there is a demonstrated need and where it is done safely, humanely and effectively’, and emphasises ‘the importance of a rigorous evidence base for informing decisions’.2
However, the BVA’s continuing support for the government’s ongoing policy of culling badgers seems to be rather at odds with this statement. First, the government-appointed Independent Expert Panel’s concerns relating to the humaneness of controlled shooting,3 one of the two permitted methods by which badgers can be killed under licence, was sufficiently convincing for the BVA to withdraw support for this method as far back as 2015, because of animal welfare concerns. Yet the BVA continues to support the issuing of licences that allow this method, inferring a logical contradiction.
The BVA’s statement that it ‘will continue to emphasise the importance of a rigorous evidence base for informing decisions’,2 contradicts its own acceptance of the Independent Expert Panel‘s findings on the humaneness of controlled shooting,3 which provided strong evidence that the method is inhumane.3
Second, the BVA goes on to claim that Godfray recognises ‘that badger control is necessary as part of a comprehensive strategy, particularly in high risk areas’.2 In fact, Godfray states that only ‘modest’ benefits can be expected from lethal control of badgers, and that it is a possible, though unpopular option.1 Nowhere in Godfray’s report does it state that badger culling is necessary – it merely suggests culling as an option, just not a very good one, then goes on to focus on cattle measures as the most likely …
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