Badger cull in Somerset is brought to end
The badger cull in West Somerset was brought to an end by the Government yesterday, following a three-week extension amid cries from opponents for more transparency.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is expected to announce the results of the cull extension to Parliament early next week, days after affirming the coalition would not be "knocked-off "course.
The initial six-week Somerset trial cull, which drew to a close at midday, was extended for three weeks after it was revealed that not enough badgers were killed within the initial trial period.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) revealed previously that 850 badgers, or 60% of the population, was killed in Somerset during the six-week trial.
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While the failure of a similar trial in Gloucestershire to reach the target 70%, with only 30% killed, saw it extended by eight weeks until December.
In the wake of the end of the trial period in Somerset yesterday, long term opponents the RSPCA, urged the Government to be transparent and share details of its effectiveness.
As the extended pilot badger cull in Somerset drew to a close at midday, the RSPCA urged the Government to be transparent and share details about its effectiveness. David Bowles, head of public affairs for the organisation, said "This cull has been shrouded in secrecy from the beginning and it is time for Owen Patterson to admit that he has moved the goalposts one too many times and has made the situation worse for farmers and cattle, not better.
"Parliament should now be given the chance to debate and vote if the pilot culls are to continue or become more widespread and be given the chance to decide if this ineffective policy has helped the situation or made it worse."
However, Defra, batted off concerns, saying that a full report will be published once the culls have finished.
"We have been open with the public about the reasons for the badger culls and the need to reduce the high levels of bovine TB," said a spokesman. "An independent panel of experts has advised on the monitoring criteria and will scrutinise the findings to ensure their scientific robustness.
"The purpose of the badger cull pilots was to assess the safety, humaneness and effectiveness of controlled shooting. the chief vet has already indicated that the level of badgers removed in Somerset in the first of a four-year cull will contribute to a clear benefit in reducing the disease."