'Tell us how humane badger cull shoot is'
MORE details about the humaneness of the shooting during the badger cull could be revealed by the Government.
The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) failed to provide an uncensored copy of its badger cull 'humaneness assessment document'. This was requested by the Humane Society UK under the Freedom of Information Act.
The pilot badger cull, which is aimed at reducing the spread of bovine tuberculosis, began last month in Gloucestershire and Somerset.
The Information Commissioner order Defra to provide the information within 35 days of August 6.
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The deadline has now passed, but Defra has been given an extension to appeal the Information Commissioner's decision.
The Humane Society is concerned that methods of killing which they believe result in animal suffering could be deemed 'humane' by the government's criteria.
Executive director of the society, Mark Jones, who has been out with campaigners in Tewkesbury, criticised what he called the 'lack of transparency'.
He said: "Defra's shoddy secret over almost every aspect of this unjustified badger slaughter is simply intolerable in a democracy.
"Defra should release the information immediately. The extreme suffering of wounded badgers who will die slowly underground is immeasurable."
A Defra spokesman said: "The Humane Society are wrong to suggest we are in breach of an Information Commissioner ruling.
We have been granted an extension and are considering whether to appeal the Information Commissioner's decision.
"The humaneness evaluation criteria, as agreed with the independent panel of experts, will be published along with a full account and assessment of the pilot culls once they have concluded."
More than 2,800 badgers are expected to be killed by marksmen in Gloucestershire.
Around 1,930 cattle were slaughtered in the county last year as a result of bovine TB to the disease.
When cattle are found with the disease, the farm has to shut down as the disease can spread between animals.
There were more than 3,900 new bTB incidents in England in 2012, and Defra estimates it will cost around £1billion to deal with bTB over the next decade.
The Information Commissioner's office confirmed that Defra's deadline had been extended.