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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Anti-cull anger at tests on gassing badgers

People against the controversial badger cull have reacted angrily to news the Government is testing gassing as a potential method for killing badgers.

Farmers and ministers say culling of badgers is necessary to tackle bovine TB in livestock, but opponents say it is inhumane, ineffective and should be abandoned in favour of tougher cattle measures and vaccination.

Opponents say badger culling is "inhumane" and "ineffective". Credit: Reuters

Tests using carbon monoxide have been conducted since last summer, although no animals have been involved in the trial, an FOI request found.

"Gassing could cause considerable animal suffering", veterinarian Mark Jones, executive director of Humane Society International UK, said.

Read: Princess Anne: Gassing badgers is most humane way to cull them

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.

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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'

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.

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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

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".

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