Eustice: cancelled cull 'was still worthwhile'
HAYLE MP and Farming Minister George Eustice has defended the Government's badger cull, despite a trial being called off amid jubilation from opponents.
The news will be welcomed by some in west Cornwall, where MP Andrew George has backed a trial badger inoculation programme designed both to counter the cull and to save Penwith's badgers from being subject to it.
The pilot cull in Gloucestershire was designed to prove the theory that shooting badgers would stop TB from spreading to valuable cattle in farming areas.
It will now end three weeks early after officials admitted they couldn't achieve its targets, even after they were significantly reduced.
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Culling ended after contractors told Natural England that a significant reduction in badger numbers by December 18, when shooting was due to end, was "unlikely".
The controversial cull, along with another in Somerset, was initially scheduled to last six weeks and was aimed at reducing local badger populations by 70 per cent.
During that time just 30 per cent of badgers in Gloucestershire were killed, leading to an eight-week extension and a lowering of the culling target to 58 per cent.
But Mr Eustice, whose family farms near Hayle, said: "The extension to the cull has been worthwhile and has removed a significant number of badgers which will make a difference to disease control in the area. Now that the cull company is seeing fewer badgers on the ground, I agree with the decision to stop the pilot cull for this year and I pay tribute to all those who, in the face of provocation, have worked so hard."