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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.

National Trust debates the badger cull

The National Trust will not allow the culling of badgers to take place on its land for the foreseeable future.

Members voted at their annual general meeting in Cardiff to allow the current vaccination programme at Killerton in Devon to continue but won't expand the programme nationally.

Culling won't be allowed until more scientific evidence is made available about whether either culling or vaccinating really have an impact on Bovine TB.

Badger cull could cause spread of TB research warns

The badger cull itself could cause a fresh spread of TB, according to research from the University of Exeter.

Research from the University of Exeter said the badger cull itself could spread TB Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/

The process that aims to contain the spread of the disease disturbs badgers social structures.

Scientists say badgers who carry it are usually shunned, but culling could see TB spread faster.

Read: Badger Trust mounts pressure on badger cull extension

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

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