Picture posted of 'shot badger from cull zone'
The first photographs have emerged of what is claimed to be a badger killed during the culls taking place in the Westcountry.
According to The Guardian newspaper, who spoke to a vet who examined the carcass, the animal was killed by a single high velocity bullet that passed right through it.
It was delivered to the Somerset-based charity Secret World Wildlife Rescue on Saturday following an overnight "badger patrol". The patrol group said they had seen a marksman searching for the animal's body in the early hours, The Guardian said.
According to the charity's founder, Pauline Kidner, it was the third badger brought to the sanctuary from the cull zone, but the first to have been shot, the others being victims of road traffic accidents.
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"It had been shot in the way that Defra [the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] recommends," she told the newspaper.
Dr Elizabeth Mullineaux, who works as a consultant for the charity, told The Guardian she could not be sure how long the animal was alive for after it was shot, other than the fact it had time to take flight.
"A single shot has entered left-hand side of the chest, slightly behind the Defra target area. Rather than going through perpendicular therefore to the heart and lungs, it went diagonally and out the side," she said.
The newspaper reported that a Freedom of Information request revealed that 'time to death' was one of the key tests of the cull's humaneness. However, Defra told The Guardian it was "confident" that the animal had not been killed as part of the cull because all the badgers killed so far had died "instantly". It tweeted: "All badgers killed as part of the pilot culls have been shot cleanly and killed instantly". Ms Kidner said the badger's body would be post-mortemed and DNA-checked to if it matched DNA records of those in the cull zone.
Yesterday, Mike Rigby, a Somerset County councillor, criticised the Government for not testing shot badgers for bovine TB. He said: "If the purpose of the cull was solely to test the culling method, why do they need to cull 70% of the badgers? The idea of the cull was to assess whether the spread of disease could be stopped. So the argument that they won't test because the cull is just for testing the culling method is nonsense."