- West Country (W)
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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.
The badger cull in West Somerset has already been extended and now it's likely that the cull in the other pilot area will be too.
The number of badgers killed during the six weeks in Gloucestershire has fallen far short of the Government's target.
708 of the animals were shot - that's less than 30% of the area's estimated badger population.
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 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.
Campaigners have reacted angrily after it emerged that badger culls in Somerset could continue for another three weeks because not enough animals have been killed.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said the culls could now be extended.
The six week trial in west Somerset has killed 850 badgers - but that's some way short of the 2000 target.
Our environment correspondent Duncan Sleightholme reports.
Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson says the "badgers moved the goalposts" when asked to explain why the badger cull needs to be extended in Somerset.
A decision on whether to extend the badger cull in Somerset is expected later this week.
Natural England is considering an application from the culling company involved.
This morning Defra has revised its badger population estimates:
Number of badgers in each area
- 1450 in Somerset (compared to initial estimate of 2400 in September 2012)
- 2350 in Gloucestershire (compared to initial estimate of 3400 in September 2012)
With these revised figures, Defra says the minimum number of badgers needed to be culled is:
- 1020 in Somerset
- 1650 in Gloucestershire
In the six weeks of the cull, 850 badgers have been removed in Somerset.