Badger cull fails to reach target

The three week extension of the badger cull in Somerset has failed to reach its target. The badger population has been reduced by 65% - less than the 70% target.

West Country (E)

Somerset badger cull fails to reach target

The three week extension of the badger cull in Somerset has failed to reach its target.

The Government has announced 90 badgers were killed in the period up to Friday, taking the total number killed in the cull area to 940.

That represents a 65% reduction in the badger population - less than the 70% target.

Today I am announcing to the House that the three week extension period in

the Somerset control area concluded as planned on Friday 1st November.

During this period, a further 90 badgers have been removed, giving an overall total of 940 for the first year of the four year cull.

This represents a reduction of 65% in the estimated badger population before culling began.

This will deliver clear disease benefits as part of a four year cull in the area.

– Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

A similar cull in Gloucestershire has been extended until December 18th.

Brian May calls for Environment Secretary's resignation

Queen Star and anti-badger cull campaigner Brian May has called for the resignation of Environment Secretary Owen Paterson over the pilot cull.

The guitarist said Mr Paterson had failed to meet the test of "honesty and transparency" expected by the public.

Brian May has called for the resignation of Environment Secretary Owen Paterson over the badger cull Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Statistics from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) revealed that the six-week cull, which aimed to kill 70% of the badgers in Gloucestershire and Somerset failed to meet targets.

As a result, cull operators applied to Natural England to extend the shooting period.

Read: Badger Trust mounts legal challenge on cull extension

Advertisement

West Country (E)

Badger Trust: 'Unlawful' extension of Somerset cull

The Badger Trust has issued a "pre-action protocol letter" over the proposed eight-week extension of the badger cull in Gloucestershire.

An extra three weeks was granted in Somerset, where 60% of the badger population was culled.

A "pre-action protocol letter" to Natural England and the Treasury Solicitor for the Secretary of State Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has been actioned by the Trust.

It is the first stage in seeking a judicial review in the High Court, the letter states:

We consider that the decision to extend the cull in Somerset was unlawful, particularly in the light of those documents.

But given that we have only just seen them and given the relatively shorter extension there, we have advised our clients that it would not now be practicable (given the court process) to seek injunctive relief to prevent it.

But that is not the case in relation to the contemplated decision in relation to Gloucestershire not least because of the much longer extension (eight weeks) being sought (and not yet granted) and the fact that our clients have now seen the nature of the arguments being relied on to justify further culling.