Badger cull underway

Two trial culls of badgers in West Somerset and West Gloucestershire have begun over night.

West Country (E)

Minister defends Badger Cull

On the day that the badger cull is expected to get under way, the Environment Minister David Heath has justified the reasons for the controversial action.

Speaking on ITV's Daybreak programme, Mr Heath, the MP for Somerton & Frome said he understands the protestors' concerns, but insists he wants to see both healthy badgers and healthy cattle in the future.

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West Country (E)

Badger cull expected to begin today

It's thought culling companies employed by DEFRA will start shooting the animals from tonight. Credit: ITV News West Country

A controversial badger cull is expected to begin later today.

It's thought culling companies employed by DEFRA will start shooting the animals in West Somerset and Gloucestershire from tonight.

The Government says culling is necessary to eradicate TB in cattle, but opponents say it's ineffective in combatting the disease.

The action is likely to result in the largest animal rights protests since the ban on hunting foxes with dogs with many people expected in the cull zones.

The pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset could see around 5,000 badgers killed if completed.