Future culling must be more effective and humane, experts find

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BADGER culls will not be extended across the country after in independent report found pilot shoots in the South West did not achieve their goals.

The panel, chaired by Professor Ranald Munro, found that controlled shooting and cage trapping was “extremely likely” to have removed less than 48.1 per cent of the badgers in Somerset and less than 39.1 per cent in Gloucestershire, short of pre-cull aims to eliminate at least 70 per cent of local populations.

It found shooting accuracy varied among contractors and some badgers took longer than five minutes to die.

Standards of effectiveness and humaneness must be improved, it found.

The two pilots will continue for a second year but not be expanded to other areas. Opponents called for an immediate end.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson yesterday announced a new strategy promising bovine tuberculosis free status in the UK by 2038

Mr Paterson told MPs: “The culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire are pilots and we always expected to learn lessons from them.”

Improvements detailed in the strategy include better training of contractors, a more even spread of culling across pilot areas and better data collection to assess progress.