FOLLOWING the statement by the British Veterinary Association supporting this year's planned badger cull in Gloucestershire and Somerset, veterinarian and executive director of Humane Society International/UK, Mark Jones, has released the following response:

"The BVA's support for another badger cull this year, after last year's disastrous pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset, is bitterly disappointing for all those vets like myself who believe that animal welfare must be the cornerstone of all we stand for. BVA endorsement should symbolise integrity and the highest possible standards of animal care. Instead, it is being given away based on little more than DEFRA's flimsy promises of improved monitoring and half-baked measures on humaneness. The BVA does not speak for all vets in wanting to subject England's badgers to another round of unjustified, unscientific and unethical slaughter, but  its support for a cull does paint our profession in a bad light.

The BVA's determination to see badgers killed also flies squarely in the face of evidence from Wales. In March 2012, the then BVA president Carl Padgett declared that the Welsh Government’s decision to abandon badger culling would set back efforts to tackle bovine TB. How wrong he was. While a badger cull-free Wales has seen TB in cattle reduced in leaps and bounds, here in England we're set for another round of badger persecution whilst the number of cattle slaughtered remains more-or-less constant. The BVA was wrong about the Welsh decision in 2012. It’s wrong again now.

It fills me with sadness that badgers are going to suffer and die again this year for no good reason, with the British Veterinary Association's stamp of approval. Whatever government ministers might want to do in order to satisfy their political whims, those who purport to represent the veterinary profession should be the ones to urge caution, and when it comes to animal suffering, to say enough is enough. All those vets who remember why they went to vet school in the first place should stand up against this travesty."