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Badger cull in Somerset is brought to end

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 02, 2013

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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.

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."

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4 comments

  • JuliaMichell  |  November 03 2013, 4:10PM

    This Tory government have lost all credibility. Why should anyone believe anything they have to say on anything anymore?

    |   15
  • groundnut  |  November 02 2013, 11:07AM

    The Badger killing in Somerset has "finished" NO I don't think so. Paterson and crew will be back indiscriminately killing more, perhaps next year and the year after. Also rolled out over other parts of England. Defra and Owen Paterson are wasting no opportunity to tell anyone who is listening, the reasons and the truth about this killing exercise. ? NO I don't think so. But you do not have to follow it very far to see the Owen Paterson goalposts change even before two weeks into the start of this cull. When it no longer became a pilot "to test the effectiveness of free shooting and Humaneness. Humane Society International UK is still waiting over 12 months following an FOI request for this 28 page Humane Assessment document. What is in it DEFRA that you do not wish to have it in the Public Domain. Again Defra you keep saying all will be revealed once the Cull is finished. We have unfortunately heard that too long and too often. Your credibility as an organisation serving any part of the electorate lapsed long ago. You have your YES Minister approach to the public to thank for that. But what about this Panel of Experts- presumably just sitting there, waiting for you to pull them out of a hat, as they nod in agreement to your commands. Again too many competent experts have come forward openly and within their Professional context, to challenge the lone voice of Nigel Gibbens. They are prepared to be seen and to put their name to open, honest dialogue. So Minister are your panel of experts just a myth, who are they and their qualifications? If you don't present them or bring them forward to personally justify any DEFRA report, they have put their name to. The Public must again add them to the long list of mis representation of the Facts, as supplied by DEFRA, Natural England and the NFU. All partners in this non science based slaughter of British Wildlife. If there was any MP within the walls of Westminster, worth his salt they would quickly have seized on the mis representation of facts. They would also have asked questions on the costs and Policing costs of this killing. And hopefully not be fobbed off with we will reveal all when this cull has finished. There is a level; of Politics in this Defra exercise, which is far from democratic, and which is not under any circumstances in the Public interest. WE actually do need the TRUTH. That has not been supplied thus far. Many , many members of the Public trying to obtain information will confirm the stonewalling to be true and not justifiable. Turn the sound up for this . http://tinyurl.com/n7o9v5y

    |   29
  • twigcat  |  November 02 2013, 5:40AM

    Why are they still saying this:- "The purpose of the badger cull pilots was to assess the safety, humaneness and effectiveness of controlled shooting''. Controlled shooting failed in the first week. They switched to predominantly cage trapping very early on. I doubt we will ever find out what truly went on during these ''culls.'' The full report will be full alright, but full of what?. Who is writing it? The independent panel of experts - certainly not independent - experts? debatable. Same degree of transparency we have come to expect - NIL. And will the farmers stop sticking their hoses down the setts? I doubt that too. Nasty business!!

    |   33
  • twigcat  |  November 02 2013, 5:35AM

    Why are they still saying this:- "The purpose of the badger cull pilots was to assess the safety, humaneness and effectiveness of controlled shooting''. Controlled shooting failed in the first week. They switched to predominantly cage trapping very early on. I doubt we will ever find out what truly went on during these ''culls.'' The full report will be full alright, but full of what?. Who is writing it? The independent panel of experts - certainly not independent - experts? debatable. Same degree of transparency we have come to expect - NIL. And will the farmers stop sticking their hoses down the setts? I doubt that too. Nasty business!!

    |   13

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