Owen Paterson revealed today that the badger cull in Gloucestershire had been a failure
The first badger cull in 15 years has begun meaning that over the next six weeks around five thousand badgers will be shot dead.
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.
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."
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.
The Government has been forced to cancel the controversial badger cull after marksmen failed to kill enough of the animals.
One Tory MP suggested that the badgers may have been staying underground because the weather had "gone cold".
ITV News' Ben Chapman reports.
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 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%.
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.
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".
The number of badgers shot in Gloucestershire has fallen short of its target, the Government has announced.
Defra said 708 badgers have been culled, which is just 30% of the badger population.
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.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson's explanation that a pilot cull failed to reach its target because "badgers moved the goalposts" has been ridiculed on Twitter.
His comments inspired the online game: "Owen Paterson's Badger Penalty Shootout."
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson told the BBC "badgers moved the goalposts" when he was asked why the pilot cull failed to reach its target.
A badger cull in west Somerset has been extended in a bid to make up for the shortfall.
When asked why he had "moved the goalposts" and claimed the cull was a success, Mr Paterson said: "The badgers moved the goalposts.
"We're dealing with a wild animal, subject to the vagaries of the weather and disease and breeding patterns."
A decision on whether to extend the badger cull in Somerset is expected later this week.
Natural England is considering an application from the culling company involved.
This morning Defra has revised its badger population estimates:
Number of badgers in each area
- 1450 in Somerset (compared to initial estimate of 2400 in September 2012)
- 2350 in Gloucestershire (compared to initial estimate of 3400 in September 2012)
With these revised figures, Defra says the minimum number of badgers needed to be culled is:
- 1020 in Somerset
- 1650 in Gloucestershire
In the six weeks of the cull, 850 badgers have been removed in Somerset.