Badger cull: Wildlife charity claims to find shot animal
A wildlife charity said it has found the body of a badger it claims has been shot during the six-week cull aimed at curbing bovine TB.
Secret World said the young female was discovered in the Somerset cull zone on Saturday, by a volunteer night patrol that looks for injured badgers.
The charity said it appeared the animal had not died "instantaneously".
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it was confident the badger was unconnected to the cull.
Badgers are being shot in Somerset and Gloucestershire in an attempt to control TB in cattle. Under the proposals, about 5,000 badgers will be culled in the two pilot zones.
'Shot through chest'
Pauline Kidner, from Secret World Wildlife Rescue, which is based in Somerset, said: "People will be outraged by the reality of what is happening in the Somerset and Gloucestershire countryside.
"No direct comments can be made on the 'humaneness' of killing in this case without the involvement of a veterinary pathologist.
"The fact that the badger was not picked up immediately by licensed operatives and was found some distance from where it was believed to have been shot, suggests a period of 'flight' after the shot was made, indicating that death was not instantaneous."
She said the veterinary surgeon who had examined the carcass suggested the badger had been shot through the chest wall.
Campaigners against the cull say it will have no impact on bovine TB, and could lead to local populations of badgers being wiped out.
The government says the action is needed to help tackle bovine TB, a disease of cattle that has been steadily rising since the 1980s.
The pilot scheme began in Somerset at the end of August but no-one involved will say how many badgers have been shot or killed so far.
A Defra spokesperson said: "We won't be going into details about the culls while they're happening, but we are confident that the badger Secret World claim to have is not connected to the culls."