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RSPCA's anti-badger cull advert is banned

An RSPCA advert suggesting that badgers in cull areas would be "exterminated" has been banned following 119 complaints.

The ad featured an image of a syringe and bullet at the top of the page with a headline reading "Vaccinate or exterminate?" before text continued: "The UK government wants to shoot England's badgers. We want to vaccinate them - and save their lives."

The Advertising Standards Agency has ruled the advert must not appear again in its current form. Credit: Press Association

Conservative MP Simon Hart, the Farmers' Union of Wales, Welsh Conservative AM Antoinette Sandbach and 116 members of the public complained about the ad, with most saying the term "exterminate" was inaccurate and alarmist.

The RSPCA said the word "exterminate" was used carefully and deliberately, saying it had "a literal meaning of total eradication and a common use meaning of killing on a massive scale".

The Advertising Standards Agency said: "...Consumers were likely to interpret the claim, along with the text 'The UK government wants to shoot England's badgers', to mean that all badgers would be eradicated in the cull areas. On that basis, we concluded the claim was likely to mislead."

It ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form.

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Badger cull halted three weeks early in Gloucestershire

The Government's badger cull policy has been dealt a further blow by the failure of another trial to kill sufficient animals.

Shooting will be halted in Gloucestershire tomorrow at 12 noon - three weeks before schedule - after it became clear even a reduced target would not be met.

The badger cull in Gloucestershire will end at 12pm tomorrow. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The pilot scheme was extended by eight weeks after marksmen exterminated only around 30% of the local badger population - well short of a 70% target.

Natural England said it had pulled the plug as the cull was set to miss a revised level of 58%.

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Badger culls to continue in west Somerset

The trial period is likely to be extended by three weeks to hit the target of eradicating 70% of the animals. Credit: PA

Badger culls are to continue in one of the areas where the controversial measure has been trialled.

Natural England said a new licence authorises a three-week control operation to be carried out in west Somerset this autumn, while an application to extend it in the second area - west Gloucestershire - has also been received.

It comes after the action, intended to limit the spread of bovine tuberculosis, was this week condemned as a "farce" after ministers admitted that not enough animals are being killed.

Paterson comment inspires 'badger goalpost' game

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson's explanation that a pilot cull failed to reach its target because "badgers moved the goalposts" has been ridiculed on Twitter.

His comments inspired the online game: "Owen Paterson's Badger Penalty Shootout."

Can you beat those 'pesky badgers' in the penalty shootout game? Credit: usvsth3m
The goalposts swiftly move from side-to-side as you take aim. Credit: usvsth3m
And the victor can share their penalty shootout success on social media sites. Credit: usvsth3m

Environment Sec: 'Badgers moved the goalposts'

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson told the BBC "badgers moved the goalposts" when he was asked why the pilot cull failed to reach its target.

Badgers have moved the goalposts on cull targets, according to the Environment Secretary. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

A badger cull in west Somerset has been extended in a bid to make up for the shortfall.

When asked why he had "moved the goalposts" and claimed the cull was a success, Mr Paterson said: "The badgers moved the goalposts.

"We're dealing with a wild animal, subject to the vagaries of the weather and disease and breeding patterns."

  1. West Country

Defra revises badger cull figures

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.

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