Dorset could be in the next wave of badger culls

An announcement's expected later this week that an area of Dorset could be included in the next wave of badger culls.

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Dorset could be in the next wave of badger culls.

An announcement's expected later this week that an area of Dorset could be included in the next wave of badger culls.

Trials in parts of Somerset and Gloucestershire will also be continued, despite the fact that they failed to achieve their targets last year.

And as our political correspondent Bob Constantine reports, it comes as there's growing opposition in Parliament, including from Conservative MPs.

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Badger cull debate is under way

MPs are debating a motion to end the badger culls, which took place in Somerset and Gloucestershire, after a report said they had failed to meet their targets or kill badgers humanely.

The result of the vote is expected just after 5 o'clock.

Animal rights groups from the South West demonstrated against the culls in Westminster ahead of the debate. The government says other options to combat the spread of TB in cattle, including vaccinating animals, are not practical. We spoke to Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy

South West badger cull campaigners in Westminster

The government says vaccinating animals against bovine TB is not practical. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Animal rights groups from the south west are expected to demonstrate in Westminster later as MPs prepare to vote on the badger cull.

They will be debating a motion to end the culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire after a report said they had failed to meet their targets or kill badgers humanely.

The government says other options including vaccinating animals are not practical.

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  1. Ken Goodwin

Reports criticise badger cull

Two reports have been released today - both criticising the effectiveness and humaneness of the recent badger culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire. The first independent study was commissioned by the government itself.

The second comes as a result of information obtained by cull monitors, who found that many badgers weren't shot cleanly or quickly.

  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

Vets' Association: We wouldn't support inhumane culls

It is important to remember that these culls were pilots precisely because the Government needed to test the humaneness, safety and efficacy of controlled shooting as a method of culling badgers. [...] We are unable to comment in detail on the findings of the IEP until we have seen the report [...] but, if these figures are true, then they would certainly raise concerns about both the humaneness and efficacy of controlled shooting. [...] We have always stated that if the pilots were to fail on humaneness then BVA could not support the wider roll-out of the method of controlled shooting.

– Robin Hargreaves, President of the British Veterinary Association
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