Hundreds of people are expected to take part in a protest against the badger cull today.
The cull is aimed at stopping the spread of the TB disease to cattle but speakers from The Badger Trust at the event tomorrow say a cull is very expensive and could lead to more cases of TB being recorded.
A Government-commissioned investigation into the 2013 pilot badger culls in one part of the Midlands is said to have found they were ineffective and inhumane, according to BBC reports.
The controversial pilot culls took place in parts of Gloucestershire and Somerset in an attempt to tackle the number of cases of TB in cattle, but research found the number of badgers killed fell short of targets set to limit the spread of the disease.
The aim was to kill 70% in cull areas within a six-week period, but fewer than 50% of badgers were killed in both areas during the first six weeks. Over 5% of badgers took longer than five minutes to die, failing the test for humaneness
The Independent Expert Panel has not submitted its report to ministers and the report has not been published. We knew there’d be lessons to be learned from the first year of the pilot culls which is why we’re looking forward to receiving the panel’s recommendations for improving the way they are carried out, because we need to do all we can to tackle this devastating disease.
We should also mention that the report discovered that it was very inhumane as well. I don't think people will stand for this. You're talking about badgers taking five or 10 minutes to die. Owen Paterson's denied that but it's obviously true. [...] I have a lot of sympathy for farmers but this is not the way to solve the problem. The way we believe we can solve it is by vaccinating the badgers, and also vaccinating the cows. [...] Badgers can be vaccinated for about £120 a head, but it has just cost £4,200 per badger to kill the poor things.
– Brian May, Queen guitarist and leading anti-cull campaigner, speaking on BBC Breakfast
Natural England has released a statement giving its reasons why it has chosen to end the extended pilot badger cull in West Gloucestershire early.
This decision has been taken based on the decreasing number of badgers seen by contractors over recent weeks which makes achieving a further significant reduction in the coming weeks unlikely. The end of the cage-trapping season tomorrow was agreed by the cull company and Natural England as a sensible point to stop activity.
Defra will update Parliament on Monday with the final number of badgers removed during the extension period.
The eight-week licence extension was granted by Natural England on 23 October.
Natural England has released a statement saying that it has agreed with the company undertaking the pilot badger cull in west Gloucestershire that culling operations will cease tomorrow (Saturday, 30 November).
It adds that, following discussions with the NFU, the cull company and Natural England, the licence for the extension of this year’s pilot cull will stop with effect from noon on Saturday.
The licence for the cull - which was introduced to curb the spread of TB in cattle had been extended as not enough badgers had been killed for the trial.