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NFU calls for badger culls to be introduced to Devon & Cornwall

The NFU calls for a badger cull to be introduced to Devon & Cornwall Credit: PA

The National Farmers Union has called for a badger cull to be introduced in Devon and Cornwall to halt the spread of Bovine TB.

It comes as the government outlined its determination to press ahead with the policy after recent culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

274 of the animals were culled in Gloucestershire, falling far short of the amount needed to cut the disease in livestock. In West Somerset, 341 were shot - that's slightly above the minimum target.

In both of the pilot areas, a significant proportion were killed by the more expensive cage trapping and shooting method, rather than "controlled shooting" of free-running badgers - leading anti-cull protestors to argue that the cull was unsucessful. Dominic Dyer from the Badger Trust says that , as a free-shooting trial, the cull has failed.

New plans to combat bovine TB will include culling

New plans to combat bovine TB will include the culling of badgers Credit: PA

Further measures to combat bovine TB have been revealed following the announcement of the results of the second year of badger culls.

An action plan for farmers sets out plans to help reduce the risk of disease spread on their farms. There will be a new service giving farmers within the badger cull areas bespoke veterinary advice on TB management.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss says the new approach will continue to include culling.

During the last parliament bovine TB rates in England soared to the highest in Europe. That is why we taking strong action in pursuing our comprehensive strategy, including tighter cattle movement controls, vaccinations and culling.

The Chief Vet’s advice is that results of this year’s cull in Somerset show they can be effective. That is why I am determined to continue with a comprehensive Strategy that includes culling.

– Elizabeth Truss, Environment Seceretary

There are also plans for a consultation on tougher measures for transporting cattle. An online map will show high and low risk areas. The Government has awarded £50,000 in small grants to livestock markets to help them introduce checking systems.

Independently audited results of the badger culls show cull figures for the year, and says that levels of humaneness and a high standard of public safety were maintained. In Somerset 341 badgers were removed - exceeding the minimum target.

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The cost of last year's badger cull is revealed

Each badger killed during the culls cost more than £3,000 Credit: PA

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.

Decision expected on Badger Trust appeal

The pilot cull of badgers has been taking place to help curb the spread of TB in cattle Credit: PA

Opponents of the badger culls will find out today if their latest legal challenge has been successful.

The Badger Trust is appealing against an earlier ruling that culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire could go ahead without independent monitors.

The trust argues this breaches a government promise.

NFU pleased with badger cull

NFU pleased with badger cull Credit: PA

The six week badger cull in Gloucestershire and Somerset officially ends today. It's the second year that badgers have been shot to try to stop them spreading TB to cattle. Last year the cull was extended because not enough animals had been killed. Protesters say it's been a failure again this year, but the National Farmer's Union disagree.

I think generally we are pretty pleased with how it has gone. In large parts of the area we are seeing very few badgers left on the ground now. Unfortunately there are one or two areas where we haven't been able to be as effective as we'd like to because of the actions of protesters but largely we are very happy with it.

– Andrew Guest, National Farmers' Union

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9 in 10 against badger cull, according to new poll

One alternative to culling is badger vaccination

Results from a poll on the recently trialled badger cull suggests that 9 out of 10 people in the UK are against the practice.

The trial cull in Somerset officially ended today. Of the 2000 polled, only 3 in 4 were aware of the cull. They were then given information about the UK trial, and the Welsh government’s success in cutting bovine TB through vaccination rather than culling.

The final poll then showed that 89% said that they wanted the government to stop culling badgers, and instead to follow the Welsh example.

The poll was carried out by ComRes, and was commissioned by Care for the Wild and the Badger Trust.

Badger cull under discussion at Labour party conference

The controversial badger culls will be discussed in Manchester Credit: ITV News

The controversial badger culls, which have now resumed in parts of Somerset and Gloucestershire, are being discussed at the Labour party conference today.

The fringe event has been organised by three animal welfare groups. The speakers include a member of the independent monitoring panel which assessed last year's cull. The Badger Trust claims a leaked report shows that records of the number of badgers killed, were falsified.

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