The South West's controversial badger cull is to be extended to Dorset.
Several farmers had applied for a licence to kill the animals, which are thought to infect cattle with bovine TB.
The government says extending the cull is part of a long-term strategy to beat the disease - but protestors argue that existing culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire (which are to be repeated this year) are ineffective and fail to meet their targets.
“England has the highest incidence of TB in Europe and that is why we are taking strong action to deliver our 25-year strategy to eradicate the disease and protect the future of our dairy and beef industries.
“This includes strengthening cattle testing and movement controls, vaccinating badgers in the buffer zone around high-risk areas, and culling badgers where the disease is rife.
“Our approach of dealing with the disease in cattle and wildlife has worked overseas and is supported by leading vets.”
A wildlife charity which is strongly against the cull has recently awarded a grant to a badger vaccination programme in Dorset.
Earlier this week an animal welfare charity - founded by Queen guitarist Brian May - threatened legal action if the badger cull goes ahead for a third year.
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