The U.K. has announced that it will not expand a controversial badger cull to other parts of the country, after an independent assessment by the country's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) found the program's pilot phase to be ineffective at reducing the incidence of TB in cattle. Despite Defra's findings, however, the cull will remain in place in areas where it is already employed, according to the BBC:
These pilot culls will continue, though there will be no independent oversight to assess their future performance. In a Commons statement, the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson proposed a programme of vaccination around the edges of the most badly affected parts of the country. This, he said, would create a buffer zone of immunity that would stop the disease from spreading.
Mark Jones, executive director of the Humane Society International U.K., condemned the government's decision to continue the cull, which has been called unscientific, inhumane and prejudicial. "[The] abandonment of the planned badger cull roll out this year is a welcome U-turn as well as a damning indictment on Defra's failed culling policy," Jones said in a statement. "[It] is nonetheless utterly indefensible that the government is carrying on regardless with its discredited cull in Gloucestershire and Somerset."