Secret filming reveals hidden cruelty of licensed badger culls

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‘Brutal slaughter’ will cost £1,000 per animal, claim campaigners, as government defends battle to beat bovine TB

Trapped in a cage and shot at close range, the badger takes almost a minute to die. Covert footage published online by the Observer, the first to be shared publicly, shows the main method of dispatching Britain’s largest indigenous carnivore as part of a controversial cull now being expanded by the environment secretary, Michael Gove, which farmers insist is vital to curb the spread of TB in cattle.

Taken in Cumbria by the Hunt Investigation Team, it has been released by animal rights groups for maximum political effect ahead of the Conservative party conference, as Gove considers a key report on the government’s TB eradication strategy. Animal rights activists said the footage raised questions about how the cull works.

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