Badger cull fails to hit 70% target

December 2, 2013
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BadgerIn both badger pilot cull areas, the government-set target of 70% was not achieved

The pilot cull of badgers in west Gloucestershire has failed to meet the 70% target set by the government, official figures show.

In the additional five weeks and three days of culling, 213 badgers were killed, giving an overall total of 921.

It shows only 40% were culled during the operation, which ended on Saturday.

Rural affairs minister Owen Patterson criticised “a small minority who resorted to widespread criminality” in an attempt to stop the cull.

A similar cull pilot in Somerset ended last month after it also failed to meet its target even after a three-week extension.

In that area there was an estimated 65% reduction in the badger population – the target was 70%.

Controlled shooting

Last month, the cull in west Gloucestershire, was extended by an additional eight weeks, from its original six-week duration.

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Owen Paterson, said: “The aim of the extension was to achieve the earliest and greatest possible impact on (Bovine TB) bTB in the area.

“The decision to extend has been shown to be the right one, with significant numbers of badgers removed at the point that the extension was ended.

“I would like to pay tribute to the local farmers and landowners who have undertaken the pilots in both areas, often in difficult terrain and weather, and often in the face of intimidation by a small minority who resorted to widespread criminality in their determination to stop this disease control policy.”

An independent panel of experts will now consider the information collected during the pilots on the safety, effectiveness and humaneness of controlled shooting.

This information will be used by the minister to make a decision on any wider roll-out of badger control operations in the parts of England most severely affected by bTB.

Government ministers and the National Farmers’ Union believe culling badgers will curb the disease in cattle spreading across England.

Figures from Defra show more than 28,000 cattle were slaughtered in England in 2012 because of bTB.

New herd incidents in the UK have risen from 1,075 in 1996 to 5,171 in 2012.

In 2012, 6,919 herds were under restrictions due to bovine TB.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-25183258#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa The feed :

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