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
12:00pm Thursday 11th February 2016
AN INSPIRATIONAL teenager who laughed his way through life has died after doctors met his wish by switching off the machine keeping him alive.
7:00am Thursday 11th February 2016
A NEW free school with a Christian ethos could open in Headington to help relieve pressure on existing schools.
7:30am Wednesday 10th February 2016
SUNKEN boat owner John Simmonds was stunned into silence yesterday when he was handed hundreds of pounds worth of donations from Oxford Mail readers.
6:30am Wednesday 10th February 2016
In a special report, the Oxford Mail exclusively reveals how the owners of Oxford Stadium were still making a profit before closure despite claims it wasn't "viable"
8:00am Wednesday 10th February 2016
FANS could soon be buying Oxford United toothpicks, pet clothing and even lingerie after the club registered its name as a trademark.
6:30am Tuesday 9th February 2016
THE mother and aunt of Prime Minister David Cameron have backed the campaign to save the county’s children’s centres.