Paterson reveals badger cull figures

Just under 40% of the badger population in Gloucestershire has been culled, Secretary of State Owen Paterson has said in a statement this morning.

According to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) secretary, the cull extension granted by Natural England on 23 October allowed a further 213 badger to be removed from the pilot zone, bringing the total number culled to 921.

He said the eight-week extension granted in October was in line with Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) advice, but ended after five weeks at the request of the cull company. “Today I am announcing to the House that the extension period in Gloucestershire concluded on Saturday, 30 November, at the behest of the cull company and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), with the agreement of Natural England, to coincide with the end of the open season for cage trapping,” Paterson said.

He explained that the extension was to achieve a greater impact on bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in the area and said it was the right decision and met the aim of “preparing the ground for a fully effective four-year cull”.

Paterson confirmed that an independent panel of experts would consider the information collected during the cull and measure the safety, effectiveness and humaneness of controlled shooting. “This will inform my decision on the wider roll-out of badger control in those parts of England most severely affected by this disease,” he said.


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