30/11/2013
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Pilot badger cull to finish today

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The pilot extension to the Badger cull in Gloucestershire will end today. Photo: BadgerHero (commons.wikimedia.org)..
The pilot extension to the Badger cull in Gloucestershire will end today. Photo: BadgerHero (commons.wikimedia.org)..
Natural Enlgand (NE) have announced that their controversial pilot Badger cull in Gloucestershire will end today.

The cull company and NE have agreed that culling operations will cease today (Saturday 30 November). Following discussions with the National Farmers Union (NFU), the cull company and Natural England, the licence for the extension of this year’s pilot cull will stop with effect from noon on Saturday. The eight-week extension to the original six-week trial was oroginally due to end on 18 December.

This decision has been taken based on the decreasing number of Badgers seen by contractors over recent weeks which makes achieving a further significant reduction in the coming weeks unlikely, say NE. The end of the cage-trapping season tomorrow was agreed by the cull company and Natural England as a sensible point to stop activity. In other words, the government-imposed target of 70 per cent has now been missed twice by a substantial margin, with only an estimated 30 per cent of locacl Badgers. A spokesman said: "There is no realistic prospect of the cull removing the number of Badgers required by the licence. It has been discussed and agreed by Natural England that the cull will end at 12 noon tomorrow."

DEFRA will update Parliament on Monday with the final number of Badgers removed during the extension period, the eight-week licence for which was granted by Natural England on 23 October. The decision to end the extension early does not affect the original licence granted by Natural England in September last year, which remains in place and which allows culling operations to take place for four years in west Gloucestershire.

The cull has caused a storm of protest this year, as it appears to be based on little or no scientific evidence. High profile celebrities like rock star Brian May have been leading concerted protests against the cull with little acknowledgement by the government, who are widely believed to be kow-towing to the NFU's unfounded and hardline anti-Badger stance.
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