The Government says the badger cull in Gloucestershire killed just over half the original target but may extend policy next year
An online petition against the cull of badgers which was started by Queen guitarist Brian May has secured more than 250,000 signatures.
Two trials of badger culling can legally get underway on Saturday 1 June.
The badger cull extension in Gloucestershire has been hailed a success by the Government. In a statement from DEFRA (Dept. of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), the Government said the five-week cull extension has seen 'significant' numbers of badgers removed.
This is despite the extension ending early, because not enough badgers had been killed. Overall, the badger population was reduced by 40% in the cull zone, against the Government's original target of 70%.
As badger culling ended today a demonstration was held to protest against any attempts to try it again.
Protestors gathered in Bristol for the demo at midday - the moment the cull was officially called off. The animals were being killed to try to stop the spread of TB in cattle.
We spoke to protester Amanda Barrett:
The badger cull in Gloucestershire will officially finish at midday today.
It was announced yesterday that the cull would be ending three weeks early as not enough badgers would be shot.
The badger cull in Gloucestershire is being called off - three weeks early - after it became clear not enough badgers would be shot.
The pilot scheme was extended by eight weeks, which was meant to run until December 18th. An extension to the trial in Somerset also failed to meet its target.
Our Gloucestershire correspondent Ken Goodwin has this report.
Natural England has released a statement giving its reasons why it has chosen to end the extended pilot badger cull in West Gloucestershire early.
– Natural England
This decision has been taken based on the decreasing number of badgers seen by contractors over recent weeks which makes achieving a further significant reduction in the coming weeks unlikely. The end of the cage-trapping season tomorrow was agreed by the cull company and Natural England as a sensible point to stop activity.
Defra will update Parliament on Monday with the final number of badgers removed during the extension period.
The eight-week licence extension was granted by Natural England on 23 October.
Natural England has released a statement saying that it has agreed with the company undertaking the pilot badger cull in west Gloucestershire that culling operations will cease tomorrow (Saturday, 30 November).
It adds that, following discussions with the NFU, the cull company and Natural England, the licence for the extension of this year’s pilot cull will stop with effect from noon on Saturday.
The licence for the cull - which was introduced to curb the spread of TB in cattle had been extended as not enough badgers had been killed for the trial.
Natural England has confirmed to ITV News West Country that the controversial badger cull in Gloucestershire is being called off early.
The licence has been revoked and the cull will end at 12 noon tomorrow (Saturday).
An eight-week extension to the original six-week trial was due to end on December 18, but not enough badgers have been killed to meet the reduced targets.
A planned protest against the cull in Bristol tomorrow is still expected to go ahead.
The Guardian is reporting that the controversial badger cull in Gloucestershire is being abandoned early.
The newspaper says marksmen have failed to kill enough animals to meet even the drastically reduced targets.
Brian May's Save Me organisation has launched a High Court action demanding an immediate halt to the badger cull.
Represented by leading Human Rights QC, John Cooper and Solicitor David Wells of Wells Burcombe Solicitors, Save Me has filed an ‘exceptionally urgent’ High Court Judicial Review Claim calling for an immediate halt to the culling presently operating under extended licence in Gloucestershire.
The Save Me claim names Secretary of State For Environment Food and Rural Affairs, DEFRA, and Natural England as defendants.
Other Interested Parties are named as the National Farmers Union and the Badger Trust.
In a statement Save Me says
"The call for an urgent review is based on the reasoning that with the Gloucestershire extension already operative, unless this is urgently addressed the period of the extension might elapse before a formal review can be applied."