Badger cull announcement due as speculation grows over Government U-turn
Speculation is growing that the proposed badger cull for parts of Somerset and Gloucestershire will be delayed until 2013.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is due to make a statement to Parliament on the pilot culls at 12.30pm today.
Under the controversial plans, up to 100,000 badgers could be shot as the Government bids to reduce levels of bovine TB.
An e-petition against the cull, created by Queen guitarist Brian May, has attracted more than 160,000 signatures.
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The Guardian is today reporting that the badger cull pilot will be delayed until next year at the earliest.
Rumours of a possible Government U-turn were rife late last week when Mr Paterson cancelled a series of media interviews.
There was speculation that the estimated number of badgers in the cull zones was higher than had been thought, which would increase costs as at least 70 per cent of the badgers in each one must be slaughtered.
There are now an estimated 4,300 badgers in the West Somerset area, up from earlier calculations of 3,000.