(fashion) As many as 9,000 badgers took longer than five minutes to die after being shot as part of culls to control TB in cattle, a former government adviser has claimed.
Professor Ranald Munro and 19 other vets, scientists and animal welfare campaigners have written to Natural England to warn them that their culls are causing 'huge suffering' and are ineffective in reducing TB in cattle.
The campaigners claimed that thousands of badgers were taking longer than five minutes to die after being shot, leading to 'immense pain'.
The group also revealed that TB rates had increased in Gloucestershire, which is the first cull area.
A freedom of information request showed how the number of new herds confirmed to have TB in the region rose from 10 in 2017 to 23 in 2018.
Professor Ranald Munro has written to Natural England to warn them that their badger culls are causing 'huge suffering' and are ineffective in controlling TB in cattle (stock)
The other areas where the cull is carried out include Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire, Herefordshire, Cheshire and Somerset.
More areas are set to be announced later this week.
Speaking to the BBC, Professor Munro said that around 40,000 badgers have been culled so far this year.
He said: 'The numbers are huge, they really are. If you look at the likelihood of not dying within five minutes of being shot, you are looking at 3,000 badgers having suffered immense pain at a minimum.
'It could be as high as 9,000. There is a huge issue of suffering in these badgers.'
The FOI request also