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Labour MP says Government should listen to the evidence

Maria Eagle MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary Credit: PA

Labour's Shadow Environment Secretary has spoken out against the Government's decision to resume culling in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

She says the Government should listen to the scientific evidence and put an end to what she calls 'disastrous badger culls'.

Last year an Independent Expert Panel concluded that these badger culls were ‘ineffective’ and ‘inhumane’, and more recently they have been described as an ‘epic failure’ by the Chief Scientific Advisor to Natural England. But instead of abandoning these appalling culls the Government have chosen to press ahead without any further independent expert monitoring.

Labour has consistently said that to get Bovine TB under control we need to bring in stricter cattle measures and prioritise badger and cattle vaccinations, but these culls are not the answer.

– Maria Eagle MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary

Team Badger speaks out against culls

Team Badger calls for culls to be cancelled Credit: PA

Team Badger, representing 25 different organisations with a total of 2 million supporters, is calling for the second year of badger culling in Somerset and Gloucestershire to be stopped.

It's almost beyond belief that the Government is blundering ahead with a second year of inept and barbaric badger killing. TB in cattle in England is currently at it lowest level in 10 years, the drop being predictably the result of improved husbandry in cattle. So this is a most inappropriate moment for Cameron to be wasting tax payers' money persecuting our wildlife against the advice of every independent scientist in the field; even the Government's own expert panel has branded the cull as ineffective and inhumane.

Current revelations from a whistle blower damn the process even more - making it clear that the numbers the present shooters are working towards are completely unreliable. This cull is a failure and a disgrace - no more than the fulfilment of a dirty promise - which will rebound on this Government at election time.

– Dr Brian May

If you read the document you'll see it is full of caveats about the unreliability of the methods they have used. To then use such methods to derive some target numbers in an attempt to give the culls an air of scientific credibility is an affront to the principles of good science.

– Dr Chris Cheeseman

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Second badger cull underway

This year's controversial badger cull in Somerset and Gloucestershire is underway, the Government has announced.

The second year of a four-year scheme has started in the two counties in an attempt to prevent the spread of bovine TB in cattle.

We are pursuing a comprehensive strategy supported by leading vets which includes cattle movement controls, vaccinating badgers in edge areas and culling badgers where the disease is rife. This is vital for the future of our beef and dairy industries, and our nation's food security. At present we have the highest rates of bovine TB in Europe. Doing nothing is not an option and that is why we are taking a responsible approach to dealing with bovine TB.

– Elizabeth Truss MP, Environment Secretary

Farming minister outlines plans for culls

Farming minister outlines plans for culls Credit: PA

The pilot badger culls are set to start again in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

Farming minister George Eustice outlined the plans for the culls, which are expected to begin as early as tonight. To fulfil the licensing criteria, marksmen will have to cull at least 615 badgers in Gloucestershire and 316 in Somerset to reach the estimated target of removing 70% of the badger population.

Anti-cull campaigners begin patrols

Badger cull expected to resume tonight Credit: PA

People fighting the resumption of the badger cull began patrolling last night in West Somerset because they believe the cull is imminent.

There was no sign of culling activity, but reports are growing that the cull is due to begin tonight.

Anti-cull campaigners gathered last night expecting the badger cull to resume Credit: Somerset Against the Badger Cull

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Badger cull challenge rejected

The High Court says the latest badger cull can go ahead without monitoring by independent experts

The High Court has rejected an 11th-hour challenge to a Government decision to let the latest badger cull go ahead without monitoring by a panel of independent experts.

The Badger Trust wanted a ruling to block "controlled shooting" of free-roaming badgers in Gloucestershire and Somerset unless a panel is put in place.

But Mr Justice Kenneth Parker, sitting in London, today dismissed the application for judicial review.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is testing whether the shooting method can be rolled out to other parts of the country to tackle tuberculosis in cattle.

Last year an independent expert panel (IEP) said in a report on the first year of the four-year pilot schemes that controlled shooting could not deliver the level of culling needed to bring about a reduction in bovine TB and was not humane.

Badger cull protestors gather at High Court

Badger cull protestors outside the High Court today Credit: ITV News West Country

Campaigners have gathered outside the High Court in London today for another hearing about the Government's badger cull.

The Badger Trust is seeking a ruling that there has been a failure to install an independent panel of experts to monitor this year's pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset. The culls are taking place to try to stop the spread of TB in cattle.

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