Badger culls ‘cost £5,000 per animal’

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The first year of two pilot badger culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset cost £3,350 for every badger killed, official figures show - but campaigners have claimed the true cost was more than £5,000 for each animal.

The pilots, in which 1,879 badgers were killed in the two counties, cost the taxpayer £6.3 million in their first year.

The Government said £2.6 million was spent on monitoring, including post-mortem examinations, while £2.3 million was spent on assessing efficacy.

An independent expert panel concluded that “controlled shooting” of free-running badgers was not effective or humane, and campaigners have raised concerns that monitoring has not resumed for the second year of the cull. Anti-cull campaigners say the figures do not include the costs of policing, which they said were £3.5 million.