Campaigners in Devon have released distressing images of a badger caught in a trap, as part of the national cull to combat Bovine TB.
The pictures show a large badger with bloodied fur trapped in a cage.
It comes as the cull is extended across the West Country with licenses also renewed in Gloucestershire and Somerset.
Campaign group 'Stop the Cull' shared the images on their Facebook page, claiming it is proof that trapping "cannot be done humanely".
Bovine TB costs the farming industry millions of pounds each year. In the West Country alone tens of thousands of cattle have to be slaughtered as a result.
The Government insists the badger cull is essential for tackling the disease, which threatens the farmers' livelihoods.
However it is controversial. There is growing pressure for a different approach to be adopted, such as a vaccine, and after five years of the cull, there is no conclusive evidence that it is working.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says the incident is being investigated.
“Natural England has strict rules in place to ensure those operating a cull do so humanely, without inflicting unnecessary suffering. Anyone not complying can be asked to complete further training, suspended or banned from taking part. Natural England is investigating this incident.”