Defra have announced in a new report that fewer than half of the target number of badgers were killed in Gloucestershire during this year’s cull, with 274 animals killed by shooting or cage trapping out of a targeted 615. In Somerset 341 badgers were killed, exceeding the minimum number of 316.
The report stated that the results for Gloucestershire were affected by protestors, citing that “the removal of badgers may have been affected by the presence of anti-cull activists where culling took place”.
The four-year pilot cull aims to kill 70% of the initial population of badgers, to test if it is an effective method for restricting the spread of Bovine TB in cattle. However, an independent expert panel (IEP) employed by Defra found last year’s cull to be ‘ineffective and inhumane’. In 2013 921 and 940 badgers were killed in Gloucestershire and Somerset respectively.
Chief veterinary officer Nigel Gibbens commented that the cull might not lead to the hoped-for reduction of the disease in Gloucestershire, saying that “the benefits of reducing disease in cattle over the planned four-year cull may not be realised there,” but adding that culls would continue in 2015 and 2016, and possibly 2017.
Peter Martin from the Badger Trust said the cull had been a failure in Gloucestershire, saying “We’ve been sold the idea a cull would solve part of the the problem of TB and it clearly hasn’t. I think this should be the end now of any future culling. It clearly doesn’t work.”