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Pilot badger culls come to an end but remain controversial

The latest pilot badger culls officially end tonight in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

The National Farmers Union told ITV News Central it felt the cull had gone better this year.

But anti-cull campaigners say it was a failure last year and support vaccinations instead of culls.

Badger cull results will decide whether the scheme is used elsewhere

Badger culls come to an end in Gloucestershire & Somerset. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The latest pilot badger culls officially end tonight in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

The government is attempting to reduce the spread of Bovine TB, which is a major problem for UK farmers.

The results from these trials will determine whether or not the culling scheme is rolled out to TB hotspots nationwide.

The decision has been controversial with anti-cull campaigners however, who believe a vaccination is the better option.


Hundreds to attend Stratford badger cull protest

A protest against the cull is taking place in Stratford Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/Press Association Images

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.

Report finds badger cull 'ineffective & inhumane'

The pilot badger cull took place in Gloucestershire in Autumn 2013 Credit: PA

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

  1. West Country (W)

DEFRA: We knew there'd be lessons to be learned

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.

– A DEFRA spokesperson
  1. West Country (W)

Brian May: People won't stand for 'cruel' badger culls

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


Biggest anti-badger cull demo heads to Birmingham

Thousands are expected to attend the anti-badger cull protest in Birmingham Credit: PA

Up to 2000 people are expected at an anti-badger cull demonstration in Birmingham today.

The event is taking place between 11am and 4pm.

A "Stop the Cull" march will start in Victoria Square and will pass through the city centre and there will also be a number of stalls and speeches.

The first badger cull in 15 years began in South West England in September, meaning that around 5,000 badgers would be shot in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

Farmers say a cull reduces the spread of TB in cattle but protesters say it is "inhumane and ineffective".

Badger cull officially over in Gloucestershire

The controversial badger cull in Gloucestershire is officially over.

The cull was called off at midday today - three weeks early - after an extension to the trial proved unsuccessful.

The badger cull is over Credit: ITV News

Based on the number of badgers culled so far, experts said even if they continued through to the original December 18 finish date, not enough badgers would be shot.

  1. West Country (E)

Statement on why Natural England is ending badger cull

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
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