Owen Paterson today reminded MPs that badgers can move around – weeks after suggesting the animals had "moved the goalposts" and made a cull more difficult to implement.
The Environment Secretary made the remark when challenged by Labour's Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) as to why badgers were being killed on farms which did not have cattle.
Mr Paterson said: "You must understand badgers move around. When they are super excretors and they move onto cattle farms, sadly they are very effective transmitters of this disease.
"That is why we are addressing this disease not just in cattle but also in wildlife."
Ms McCarthy had asked: "Recent figures from Natural England show only 60% of the farms in the West Somerset cull zone contained cattle and only 43% of the farms in West Gloucestershire.
"Why is the Government culling badgers on farms without cattle?"
The disease, said to be spread by badgers and cattle, led to the slaughter of 28,000 animals last year – more than 20,000 in the South West – at a cost of £100 million to the taxpayer.
The two "pilot" culls – in Somerset and Gloucestershire – will determine the prospects of expanding to up to 40 culls from next year.
A roll-out could mean culling in neighbouring Devon and even into Cornwall – both considered bovine TB hotspots.
An independent panel of experts is to assess whether the "pilots" have been successful. Ministers are confident of proceeding despite falling short of the required number of badger killed.
In a bid to make the case for the cull earlier in the questions session, Mr Paterson said: "In the 10 years to December 31, 2012, 305,268 cattle were compulsorily slaughtered as reactors or direct contacts (with TB) in Great Britain.
"Since January 1 to the end of August a further 22,512 otherwise perfectly healthy cattle have been slaughtered solely because of bovine TB."
Speaking last month on the BBC's Spotlight programme in the West Country whether he was "moving the goalposts" by extending the period for the controversial cull, Mr Paterson said: "That's not right, the badgers have moved the goalposts.
"You are dealing with wild animals. It is a wild animal subject to the vagaries of the weather, disease and breeding patterns."