Unsurprisingly, the end of the second year of badger cull trials in Somerset and Gloucestershire has brought speculation over the effectiveness of the culls. Despite setting very low targets, based on unreliable estimates of badger numbers, snipers have still failed to shoot the minimum number required in Gloucestershire. With no independent panel reporting on the outcome of the trials this year, it may be some time before we find out the true success (or rather failure) of the trials. Let’s hope that when proved unsuccessful that the pilots will not be rolled out to other counties.
Plans to extend badger culls will be cancelled if pilots in Somerset and Gloucestershire miss their targets, a source close to Defra has told the BBC. The second year of trial culls came to an end on Monday. The BBC understands Somerset met its target of 316 badgers, and in Gloucestershire, 253 out of a minimum 615 were culled. Government department Defra said it was "unhelpful" to speculate on numbers before they were audited.