My understanding of the aims of this cull is that they were trying to determine if shooting badgers was a humane and effective way of culling badgers. Therefore, for this study to show a positive result the marksmen should have been able to cull their quota in the six week period. Granting an extension would void the validity of the results. This has not happened, hence the extension of the cull, and therefore shows that this is not an effective method of controlling the spread of TB. In addition to this, the badger population is considerably lower than previously thought, why is this so? The marksmen have also taken to trapping and then shooting badgers, thus nullifying the aims of the study. And if you have a trapped badger can’t you just vaccinate it? And finally, to add fuel to this environmental fire, a recent study has come out in Current Biology (http://www.cell.com/current-biology/retrieve/pii/S0960982213011238) has shown the mechanism by which disturbing badger groups exacerbates the spread of infectious diseases.
All in all, it seems that this whole exercise has been a farce from start to finish. Government policy should be influenced by two (not always agreeing) forces: popular opinion and scientific advice. It seems that this policy goes against both of those. Firstly, a small minority of the population, mainly in the agricultural industry, support this cull whilst the majority of the populous seem to strongly oppose it. Secondly, the majority of scientist called from the cull not to happen and have been vocal in criticism of its extension. There are two positives that I can see from all of this: firstly, the general populous seems to have engaged strongly with the discussions and scientists seem to have been very good in communicating their arguments. Secondly, we have been alerted to the fact that the badger population is potentially in decline and research can now be done to determine a) if this is the case and b) what is causing the decline.
I hope this has not been too ranty, I have tried to lay some arguments out in a brief way. I just hope that the government learns from this and in the future listens to the people and the scientist.