10:13 03 December 2013
The pilot cull of badgers in west Gloucestershire, which ended on Saturday, has failed to meet the 70per cent target set by the government as confirmed by official figures. According to records, there were only 921 badgers that were killed representing 40per cent of the target.
Rural minister Owen Patterson blamed "a small minority who resorted to widespread criminality" in an attempt to stop the cull.
The same operation, which was conducted in Somerset, also failed to meet its target despite three-week extension. In this area, it was estimated 65per cent reduction in the badger population. The target was 70per cent.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Owen Paterson, explained why extension was needed and why it was beneficial. He said: "The aim of the extension was to achieve the earliest and greatest possible impact on (Bovine TB) bTB in the area.
"The decision to extend has been shown to be the right one, with significant numbers of badgers removed at the point that the extension was ended.
"I would like to pay tribute to the local farmers and landowners who have undertaken the pilots in both areas, often in difficult terrain and weather, and often in the face of intimidation by a small minority who resorted to widespread criminality in their determination to stop this disease control policy."
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