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Pilot badger cull could be extended

A pilot badger cull is set to be extended by up to three weeks because fewer animals were killed than had been hoped.

Defra said Natural England was considering an extension to the west Somerset cull to "maximise the disease control benefits".

According to reports, just 850 badgers have been shot in the area over the six-week trial, just over 40% of an initial target of 2,081.

The aim was to kill 70% of badgers in west Somerset and Gloucestershire by free shooting.

A Defra spokesman said: "Early indications suggest that the Somerset cull has been safe, humane and enough badgers have already been killed to help reduce bovine TB.

"Natural England is currently considering an application from the cull company for a short extension of two to three weeks so as to maximise the disease control benefits achieved this year."

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