Badger cull branded "shambles" by protesters as government seeks extension
Shooters have fallen short of the Government target of badgers to be killed during the Gloucestershire cull.
In the six-week cull period, only 708 badgers have been killed, according to figures released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
This represents 30 per cent of the revised local badger population of 2,350.
The original target set by Defra was around 2,850 when the cull started six weeks ago, equalling 70 per cent of the badger population.
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Defra also confirmed the cull in Gloucestershire came to an end on Tuesday.
An extension application was submitted last night.
A spokesman from Defra said: "The Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) has advised that the period of culling this year should be extended to achieve the earliest and greatest possible impact on bovine TB in Gloucestershire.
"The pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset have been testing the safety, humaneness and effectiveness of controlled shooting as a means of reducing badger numbers and therefore reducing the high levels of disease in these areas."
Environment secretary Owen Paterson said: "Experience gained on the ground has been invaluable.
"I would like to pay tribute to the local farmers and landowners who are undertaking the cull, often in difficult terrain and weather, and often in the face of intimidation by a small minority who are determined to stop this disease control policy."
Spokeswoman for Gloucestershire Against the Badger Cull Jeanne Berry said: "This announcement by Owen Paterson, confirms that the Gloucestershire cull has been ill-thought-through. It is clear that the Government did not do the maths before the cull and now they are clutching at straws by attempting to kill more badgers.
"Extending the cull will, as scientists have confirmed, increase the spread of Bovine TB and, of course, increase further police costs."