The NFU has welcomed the Defra Secretary’s statement in which he said he believes that the badger control pilot operations to date have been carried out safely, effectively and humanely.
Owen Paterson told the Commons that more extensive and timely hair-trapping had been completed, showing that badger population numbers were lower than previously estimated for both areas.
He added that Natural England had received an application to extend the licence for Somerset and an application for Gloucestershire was also expected.
NFU president Peter Kendall said he understood that the companies managing the two pilot areas had gone to great lengths to ensure the operations had been carried out safely and humanely and he welcomed Mr Paterson’s recognition of the work that had been carried out.
“Safety and humaneness are two really important tests,” said Mr Kendall.
“I am pleased to hear confirmation from the Government chief vet that the current cull operations in Somerset to date will deliver disease reduction as part of a four-year plan.
“The knowledge learned from these two badger cull pilot areas will be invaluable in helping to deliver future roll-out of badger control operations in areas where the incidence of TB is rife.
“Our absolute focus, and that of everyone involved, is disease control. More than 38,000 cattle were slaughtered in Great Britain in 2012 because of bovine TB.”
The NFU will not comment further on operations while they are taking place. An independent group will continue to monitor the cull and will report once the operations are completed.