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  1. West Country (E)

Government commits to badger culls in West Country

Badger Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Badger culls will go ahead as planned this autumn in Somerset and Gloucestershire as the Government affirms its committment to tackling the spread of TB in cattle. It says it can improve on last year's pilot culls whihc failed to meet targets.

Plans being considerd include increasing assessments on farm security to prevent badgers mixing with cattle and accessing feed, plus making it mandatory for all farmers to disclose their TB history to buyers.

Environment Secretary expected to lose his job in cabinet reshuffle

Owen Paterson MP visiting Northmoor Pumping Station in January Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is expected to lose his job in David Cameron's cabinet reshuffle.

The Conservative minister came under intense pressure, following his handling of the flooding on the Somerset levels, and also received criticism for the horsemeat scandal and unsuccessful badger culls. Meanwhile, North Somerset MP Liam Fox is tipped to make a return to the front benches.

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  1. West Country (E)

Outrage at badger gassing tests

Campaigners are outraged that the Government has been testing gassing as a method of killing badgers.

No animals have been killed in the trials but a Freedom of Information request shows research on carbon monoxide gassing has been going on since last summer.

It's being investigated as a way of culling badgers to try to stop the spread of TB in cattle but Mark Jones, the Chief Executive of Humane Society International UK says not only is gassing badgers inhumane, culling them at all is totally unnecessary.

  1. West Country (E)

Government tests gas as a method of killing badgers

The Government has been testing gas as a method of killing badgers to control the spread of TB Credit: PA

The Government has been testing gassing as a method of killing badgers.

No animals have been killed in the trials but a Freedom of Information request shows research on carbon monoxide gassing has been going on since last summer.

A DEFRA spokesperson said was too early to say whether gassing would be used in future badger culls.

Controversy over method of culling badgers

Most of the badgers killed in the Somerset cull were trapped in cages and then shot Credit: PA

During the six-week pilot badger cull in Somerset most badgers were trapped in cages before being shot. New figures disclosed by DEFRA reveal that 500 badgers were caged before being shot, and just 365 were killed in their natural habitat.

In a statement, DEFRA said both types of culling were allowed, and it was up to the cull companies to decide which was the most suitable at the time.

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