A GREEN Party MEP for the south west demanded that the government immediately end its badger cull policy.

Molly Scott Cato hopes that plans to extend badger cull zones do not go ahead.

She said: “Despite evidence of ineffectiveness and suffering, the government is set to plough ahead with a policy which ignores the science and the suffering of both badgers and farmers.

"Gloucestershire, one of the first pilot zones for the badger cull, has actually seen a massive increase in incidents of bovine TB.

"The method of slaughter has also caused immense suffering, with thousands of badgers taking more than five minutes to die after they were shot.

“Farmers are deeply affected by bovine TB but we need effective and scientifically grounded policy to deal with this terrible disease.

"Greens believe we need tighter controls on cattle movement, strict biosecurity measures and the roll out of a vaccination programme for both badgers and cows. It’s time to kill the cull, not extend a barbaric policy that has failed at every level.”

The government is set to add 10 culling zones in England, taking the total to 42. According to campaign group The Badger Trust, the expansion could result in the killing of over 50,000 badgers in the next two months, up from 28,000 killings last year.