A badger

Badgers: To Cull or Not To Cull?

The government has ordered a pilot cull of badgers in west Gloucestershire and west Somerset to slow down the spread of Bovine TB in cattle.

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Anne: Gassing badgers 'a much nicer way of doing it'

Princess Anne has said that gassing badgers would be the most humane way to cull the animals.

The Government is considering introducing gassing after a report said that shooting badgers would not bring their numbers down enough to stop them spreading tuberculosis in cattle.

"Most of the people who did it in the past will tell you that gas is a much nicer way of doing it, if that's not a silly expression," she told BBC One's Countryfile.

"How it works is that you go to sleep, basically."

The royal owns a heard of around 30 cattle and has lost 15 rare white park cows to bovine tuberculosis in the last two years.

Princess Anne: Gassing badgers 'most humane'

Gassing badgers is "the most humane way" to control their numbers, Princess Anne has said.

The Government is considering introducing gassing after a report said that shooting the animals would not bring their numbers down enough to stop them spreading tuberculosis in cattle.

The Government is trying to bring down badger numbers to stop the spread of tuberculosis in cattle Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/Press Association Images

"If we want to control badgers, the most humane way of doing it is to gas them," the Princess Royal told the BBC's Countryfile programme.

Read: Badger culls to continue, but 'only in pilot areas'

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RSPCA's anti-badger cull advert is banned

An RSPCA advert suggesting that badgers in cull areas would be "exterminated" has been banned following 119 complaints.

The ad featured an image of a syringe and bullet at the top of the page with a headline reading "Vaccinate or exterminate?" before text continued: "The UK government wants to shoot England's badgers. We want to vaccinate them - and save their lives."

The Advertising Standards Agency has ruled the advert must not appear again in its current form. Credit: Press Association

Conservative MP Simon Hart, the Farmers' Union of Wales, Welsh Conservative AM Antoinette Sandbach and 116 members of the public complained about the ad, with most saying the term "exterminate" was inaccurate and alarmist.

The RSPCA said the word "exterminate" was used carefully and deliberately, saying it had "a literal meaning of total eradication and a common use meaning of killing on a massive scale".

The Advertising Standards Agency said: "...Consumers were likely to interpret the claim, along with the text 'The UK government wants to shoot England's badgers', to mean that all badgers would be eradicated in the cull areas. On that basis, we concluded the claim was likely to mislead."

It ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form.

Badger cull halted three weeks early in Gloucestershire

The Government's badger cull policy has been dealt a further blow by the failure of another trial to kill sufficient animals.

Shooting will be halted in Gloucestershire tomorrow at 12 noon - three weeks before schedule - after it became clear even a reduced target would not be met.

The badger cull in Gloucestershire will end at 12pm tomorrow.
The badger cull in Gloucestershire will end at 12pm tomorrow. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The pilot scheme was extended by eight weeks after marksmen exterminated only around 30% of the local badger population - well short of a 70% target.

Natural England said it had pulled the plug as the cull was set to miss a revised level of 58%.

For more on this story, visit the ITV News West Country website

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Badger cull to be extended in Gloucestershire

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said the chief veterinary officer has advised that the period of culling badgers should be extended in Gloucestershire.

In a written statement to Parliament, Mr Paterson said the cull has killed 708 of an estimated 2,350 badgers in the county - less than 30% of the total rather than the 70% that had been planned.

A badger looks at the camera.
Less than 30% of badgers in Gloucestershire have been culled compared to the target of 70%. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Mr Paterson said an application is being considered by Natural England.

He told the House of Commons that early indications showed the culls in both Gloucestershire and neighbouring Somerset were carried out in a "safe and humane" way, but demonstrated that "the cull period may need to be longer than six weeks in future".

Badger culls to continue in west Somerset

The trial period is likely to be extended by three weeks to hit the target of eradicating 70% of the animals. Credit: PA

Badger culls are to continue in one of the areas where the controversial measure has been trialled.

Natural England said a new licence authorises a three-week control operation to be carried out in west Somerset this autumn, while an application to extend it in the second area - west Gloucestershire - has also been received.

It comes after the action, intended to limit the spread of bovine tuberculosis, was this week condemned as a "farce" after ministers admitted that not enough animals are being killed.

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