Badger Cull debate at Westminster

A vote on the badger cull - following the two pilots in Gloucestershire and Somerset last year - will be preceded by a demonstration outside Parliament which could attract a coalition of wildlife groups from the West Country and beyond.

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Badger Cull pilot highlights vaccination is the way forward

The region's pilot badger cull was ineffective and too many animals suffered. That's according to an independent study commissioned by the government. It found the number of badgers killed in Somerset fell short of targets - designed to limit the spread of TB in cattle.

Pauline Kidner from Secret Life Wildlife Rescue says the pilot has highlighted the solution.

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

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

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

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West Country (E)

Govt report: Badger culls 'ineffective and inhumane'

A Government-commissioned investigation into the 2013 pilot badger culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset is said to have found they were ineffective and inhumane, according to BBC reports.

Research commissioned by the Government found that the number of badgers killed fell short of targets set to limit the spread of TB in cattle:

  • The aim was to kill 70% in cull areas within a six-week period, but fewer than 50% of badgers were killed in both areas during the first six weeks
  • Over 5% of badgers took longer than five minutes to die, failing the test for humaneness