1. ITV Report

More badger culls on the way after West 'success'

The government 'wants to see more' badger culls after the 'success' of West culls Credit: Ben Birchall / PA Wire

'Successful' badger culls in the South West mean they could soon be rolled out to other areas, the government says.

The culls, which are designed to combat bovine TB, have met their targets in our region, but have been controversial.

  • 279 culled in West Somerset (where 524 badgers are allowed)
  • 432 culled in West Gloucestershire (where 679 badgers are allowed)
  • 756 culled in Dorset (where 835 badgers are allowed)
Anti-cull protestors in Gloucestershire, including Queen guitarist Brian May. Credit: PA

Protestors continue to criticise the culls, with many arguing for vaccination as a humane alternative. The government says that while private badger vaccination projects are underway, a worldwide shortage of BCG vaccine means this can't go further.

"Bovine TB is the greatest animal health threat to the UK. Dealing with the disease is costing the taxpayer £100million each year. Last year alone over 26,000 cattle had to be slaughtered in England to control the disease, causing devastation and distress for farmers and rural communities across large swathes of the country."

"We are on track to deliver TB freedom to more than half of the country by the end of this Parliament which will boost our trade prospects and is expected to deliver benefits worth millions of pounds to our dairy and beef industries. Badger control in the south west has been successful and we will enable it to take place over a wide number of areas next year.

I am determined to deliver our strategy to tackle bovine TB and eradicate this devastating disease as soon as possible."