- West Country (E)
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It's been revealed that last year's badger cull in Somerset and Gloucestershire cost taxpayers £6.3 million - an average of £3,350 for every animal killed.
The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs has justified the figures.
It adds that the costs were largely due to ensuring the pilot culls were rigorously monitored for safety and humaneness to provide robust data for the Independent Expert Panel to assess.
It's been revealed that last year's badger cull in Somerset and Gloucestershire cost taxpayers an average of £3,350 for every animal killed.
1,879 animals were killed in the pilot culls - 955 badgers in Somerset and 924 in Gloucestershire. The cullings are aimed at stopping the spread of TB in cattle and cost a total of almost £6.3 million according the Government figures.
DEFRA says the costs were high because of the need to monitor the operation for safety and humaneness.
Figures out today show that as in Somerset, the controversial badger cull in Gloucestershire has failed to meet its target and may have to be extended.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson MP claims the cull has been 'a success' in an interview with ITV News West Country's Ian Axton:
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.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson hinted today that badgers could be gassed rather than shot, in the effort to control TB in cattle.
One Labour MP called on him to resign after it was revealed that the trial culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire might have to be extended because not enough animals had been killed.
Mr Paterson insisted the policy had been a success - but suggested that alternative methods were being looked at, as Bob Constantine reports.
As the prospect of gassing badgers to help control the spread of TB in cattle is raised in Parliament today, it brings back memories of the 1980s in Gloucestershire when the culling method was used, to the dismay of animal rights protesters.
Here's a brief clip of our footage from the time.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson faced further criticism today over the controversial cull of badgers in Somerset and Gloucestershire. One Labour MP called on him to resign after it was revealed that the culls might have to be extended because not enough animals had been shot.
Mr Paterson insisted the policy had been a success - but hinted that alternative methods were being looked at, as Bob Constantine reports.
The Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, has today admitted that the Government IS looking at gassing badgers in its efforts to control the spread of TB in cattle.
It came in an exchange with Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion.
The Environment Secretary Owen Paterson MP (Con, North Shropshire) has told the House of Commons that he will examine gassing as a means of culling badgers. It would only be used, he said, if it is proven to be 'safe, effective and humane.' Previously, badgers have been killed by shooting.