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Natural England approves badger cull extension
NATURAL England has granted an eight-week extension to the pilot badger cull in Gloucestershire.
An application to extend the cull was made after a programme of controlled shooting killed 708 of an estimated 2,350 badgers in the county - about 30 per cent of the total, rather than the planned 70 per cent.
Under the new licence, up to 940 badgers can be culled in order to tackle the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle with a minimum number of 540.
The new licence runs from today until Wednesday, December 18.
In a statement, Natural England said: "In carrying out its licensing role and assessing the new licence application in Gloucestershire, Natural England has had regard to guidance from Government derived from the bTB control policy and supplementary advice from Defra's Chief Veterinary Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser.
"This advice concludes that extending the cull would help to reduce the spread of bTB in cattle; failure to extend would raise the risk of increasing bTB through perturbation. "
Mark Jones, Gloucestershire resident and executive director of animal welfare charity, Humane Society International UK, said he was "appalled and flabbergasted."
"By extending culls here as well as in Somserset, the pilots are moving even more dangerously away from the recommendations of the Randomised Badger Culling Trial which were very clear," he said.
"The longer you subject badgers to this sort of disruption, the greater the risk of worsening the spread of bovine TB among both badgers and cattle.
"It is utterly illogical to continue with a policy that has already proven such a disaster, and flies squarely in the face of sound scientific advice."
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