Headline figures from the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) assessing last year’s badger culls have been leaked to the BBC.

As well as confirming that the numbers killed in Gloucestershire and Somerset fell short of the target of 70%, figures also show that more than 5% of badgers took more than five minutes to die.

The reported figure of 5% figure is a blow for supporters of the culls as it raises serious concerns about the humaneness of the free shooting method.

BVA president Robin Hargreaves said: “We are unable to comment in detail on the findings of the IEP until we have seen the report.

“But if these figures are true then they would certainly raise concerns about both the humaneness and efficacy of controlled shooting.

“We have always stated that if the pilots were to fail on humaneness then BVA could not support the wider roll out of the method of controlled shooting.”

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