Badger cull to start in June - Gloucestershire and Somerset
The badger cull aimed at stopping bovine TB is set to start this summer.
Conservative MP Owen Paterson has confirmed it will begin in June.
He has not yet confirmed where the two trials are expected to be held, but Gloucestershire and Somerset are believed to be the most likely.
The plans had been due to start in November.
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They attracted huge controversy. There was public outcry from many who believed the badgers should not be killed, and there was insufficient evidence to suggest it would stop the spread of bovine TB, and some farmers and vermin controllers intimidated by the threat of activist action.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affraids (Defra), postponed the November cull at the eleventh hour, after a survey showed badger numbers were twice as high as first thought.
At the time, Defra said the earlier the delayed cull could begin was June 1, due to a closed season to prevent distress to badger and their dependent offspring.
Dairy farmer Jan Rowe, director of GlosCon, the company set up to organise the cull locally, said county farmers had been ready to go. When the green light is given this summer, under police supervision, trained marksmen will remove a minimum of 70 per cent of badgers in each area.
Owen Paterson told The Daily Telegraph that the cull would begin in June.