The planned “science-led” pilot cull of badgers in Gloucestershire is falling apart, says the Badger Trust.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Jan Rowe, one of the directors of Gloscon, the company organising the cull in Gloucestershire, has said that the cull may need to be extended beyond the original six-week period.

The Government and the farming industry attempt to justify the cull on the grounds that it is science led, says the Trust. “Clearly it is anything but. It is degenerating into a shambles. Lengthening the cull period would be yet another major departure from the criteria spelt out by the ISG (the Independent Scientific Group).

“The ISG’s findings and conclusions were based on the killing of cage-trapped badgers. On the grounds of cost, the Government has proposed instead a completely untried culling method –‘free-shooting’ at night.”

“With every passing week the Government’s claims that the cull is science led are shown up for what they are - a sham,” says the Badger Trust.

“It’s time they were abandoned. Vaccination of badgers will make an important contribution. But the long-term solution has to be a cattle vaccine.”