Protesters say cull in Gloucestershire a "shambles" after badger cull falls short
NOT enough badgers have been killed during the cull in Gloucestershire.
In the six-week cull, only 708 badgers have been killed, according to figures released by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
This only represents 30 per cent of the badger population.
The Government's original target was 2,900 badgers, based on a population estimate of 3,400 animals. The target was then revised to 1,650, from a population of 2,350.
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Defra also confirmed the cull in Gloucestershire came to an end on Tuesday.
An extension application was submitted last night. If granted it would see the cull extended into December
A spokesman from Defra said: "The Chief Veterinary Officer 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.
"The early indications from Gloucestershire are that, as in Somerset, the pilot has been safe and humane."
The news shocked American protester Rebecca Reid, who was arrested in the Gloucestershire cull zone last month after flying over the Atlantic to lend her support.
Since going back to Pennsylvania, the 52-year-old has seen a spike in interest in American papers.
"It really did raise awareness back in America, and everyone was quite fascinated by it," she said.
"They need to stop this cull immediately. There is no basis for it. Any extension will just make things worse.
"I think the campaigners have made a point. They don't want the cull, they don't need the cull. The Government needs to listen to the people. It is just a ludicrous policy."
Environment secretary Owen Paterson told MPs yesterday the government was committed to tackling bovine tuberculosis.
He said: "As previously announced, the badger population in Gloucestershire immediately before the pilot began was estimated to have fallen to 2,350 compared with an estimated population of 3,400 last summer.
"The pilots held this year are the first stage in a planned four-year cull.
"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."
He added any future culls will need to be longer than six weeks.
Protest group Gloucestershire Against the Badger Cull said the figures showed the cull as a "shambles". They run wounded badger patrols at night to save any injured animals.
Spokeswoman Jeanne Berry said: "This announcement by the Secretary of State 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 they are now 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."