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BVA urges clarity over cull time frames
Eleven additional licences for badger control will be granted  to parts of Devon, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset and Cheshire.
Vets raise concern over government policy

The BVA has urged clarity over badger cull time frames to ensure that they do not undermine England’s application for Officially TB-free status.

The call follows yesterday's announcement that 11 additional licences for badger control will be granted by the Government to parts of Devon, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset and Cheshire.

In a statement, BVA president Gudrun Ravetz said: “We are concerned that Government policy seems to have moved away from the original, evidence-based proposal of a six-week time limit for badger control within the open season, which enables an intensive, coordinated and effective operation in order to secure optimum disease control benefits.
 
“In terms of numbers, it is clear that badger population estimates have previously demonstrated considerable uncertainty and imprecision. It is critical that as accurate as possible population estimates, using an evidence-based methodology, are obtained and made openly available.
 
“We would urge clarity over cull time frames, numbers and mid-cull review methodology to ensure that the progress made, enabling the application for Officially TB Free status, is not undermined.”

Ms Ravetz also reiterated the BVA’s call to the government to use cage trapping and shooting to eradicate TB in England.

“While BVA supports badger culling as part of a comprehensive strategy for tackling bovine TB, we will continue to call on the Government to use the targeted and humane method of cage trapping and shooting only - rather than the current method of controlled shooting,” she said.

Yesterday’s Defra update followed a consultation on licensed badger control to which the BVA, BVZS and the Association of Government Veterinarians submitted a formal, joint response. It included the announcement of the re-commencement of the Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme and a new TB advisory service that will provide practical advice to farmers.

“As one of the many tools in the toolbox, we welcome the re-commencement of the Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme, particularly if used as a ‘firebreak’ to mitigate the spread of the disease into the low-risk areas,” Ms Ravetz continued. "The introduction of a TB Advisory Service will provide valuable additional support for farmers, who we’d encourage to continue working with local vets on biosecurity and herd health planning.”

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Outreach work in Mongolia aims to learn about Pallas’s cat

News Story 1
 The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) is supporting work in Mongolia to help improve understanding of the Pallas’s cat (Otocolobus manul). The society is working with local communities to raise awareness and learn more about how people interact with the cats. The aim is to gather knowledge on the species and the threats it faces, to inform global conservation efforts.  

News Shorts
New canine health awareness week launches

The Kennel Club has launched Canine Health Week (13-19 November) to raise awareness of the most common health issues in dogs. Canine Health Week is set to become an annual initiative to highlight resources, research and information to make a difference to dog health.

According to clinical veterinary data from VetCompass, the five most common health issues are ear canal disease, dental disease, anal sac impaction, overgrown nails and arthritis. It is hoped the awareness week will help to familiarise dog owners with common conditions, to better meet the healthcare needs of their dogs.