Environment secretary Owen Paterson has told MPs that the possibility of gassing badgers is being explored.

Mr Paterson responded to a question concerning the badger culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire from Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP, by saying: “Until we can establish vaccines, we have to use the tools used by other sensible countries – which is to remove wildlife. We made it quite clear in our TB strategy we would look at other methods of removing wildlife, and yes we are looking at gassing, but we will not use it unless it is proven safe, humane and effective.”

The Somerset badger cull has been granted an extension until 1 November, and an application has been made to extend the Gloucestershire cull, which ends this week.

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