THE badger culls were a failure of epic proportions, according to an Oxford University academic who played a part in authorising them.
Last year two trials were given the go-ahead by public body Natural England, which reports to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), in Somerset and West Gloucestershire.
They were estimated to have killed 65 per cent and 39 per cent of badger populations in each area, respectively.
But now the scientist who is the chairman of Natural England’s scientific advisory board has hit out at the trials.
Prof David Macdonald, in a report for the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, said: “Even after extensions they killed only 65 per cent and 39 per cent, the latter of which in Gloucestershire approximates the worst possible outcome.
“Following this epic failure it is hard to see how continuing this approach could be justified.”
His comments are embarassing for Natural England and the Government, which continue to back plans to carry out further culls later this year as part of a four-year programme aimed at eradicating TB in cattle.
In December, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson claimed the decision to extend the cull had “been shown to be the right one”.
Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS, SPORT and JAYDEN depending on what services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
Our top stories
11:04am Monday 3rd August 2015
THREE teenagers have been arrested after a man was assaulted in Oxford Castle Quarter in the early hours of yesterday morning.
8:30am Monday 3rd August 2015
A LONG-SERVING taxi driver has become so exasperated with Oxford’s roads that he has quit and found a new job.
7:54am Monday 3rd August 2015
There are delays on the A4142 Eastern By-Pass Road due to a traffic light failure.
6:00am Monday 3rd August 2015
A DEVOTED fundraiser and Blackbird Leys resident of 50 years was among the first to tell her story on camera for a heritage project.
11:32am Sunday 2nd August 2015
PART of Oxford Castle Quarter is cordoned off after a man was attacked in the early hours of this morning.
11:17am Sunday 2nd August 2015
SUNLIGHT shining through the window of a house sparked a blaze in Sibford Gower.