Ministers and farmers argue the badger culls
are necessary to tackle TB in livestock that can pick up the disease from wild badgers.
But activists insist it has little effect - and are furious the cull
is being extended.
The two four-year pilot culls
in Somerset and Gloucestershire should be completed using the "tried and tested" method of trapping the badgers in cages and then shooting them, the BVA urged.
were designed to run for four years and anecdotal evidence from both cull
areas suggests they are already helping to reduce bTB incidence in cattle and farms are starting to go clear of the disease.
have so far cost around PS4,000 per dead badger - a terrible waste of money.
But the culls
have divided the public, with farmers and rural communities desperate to find a way to curb devastating bovine TB.
David Bowles, from the RSPCA, said: "At last the Government has acknowledged that the culls
have failed to reach their target numbers and failed to do it in the allocated time.
The RSPCA said while the culls
may Antoinette Sandbach AM not result in the total eradication of badgers in England as a whole, it was possible in certain areas within the cull
zones the loss could be total.
No information was given on where shooting of badgers had begun, but licences have been given for two pilot culls
in west Gloucestershire and west Somerset, with around 5,000 badgers set to be killed in a six-week period across the two areas.
The pilot culls
aim to ensure badgers can be killed humanely by marksmen.
Led by rock star Brian May, the 2,000 animal welfare supporters wore cardboard badger masks and chanted "stop the cull
" in protest at pilot culls
in west Gloucestershire and west Somerset.
As a result, farmers could not be confident they could cull
enough badgers this year and two pilot culls
that were due to start imminently will now take place next summer.