I AM dismayed at the recent proposal by Sir David King, the Government's chief scientist, for a complete cull of badgers.

Badgers have been culled for decades by DEFRA in an attempt to halt the spread of bovine Tuberculosis (bTB). The most recent ten-year culling trial, the Krebs Trials, cost taxpayers £7 million per year, approximately £35,000 per badger.

At the end of these wasteful trials, the Independent Scientific Group, which operated them, stated exactly what they had been told by badger supporters before a single badger was killed.

They concluded badger culling could make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control. They advised TB can be reversed, and geographical spread contained, by rigid cattle-based control measures alone. Furthermore, a Government consultation of more than 47,000 people found more than 95 per cent were opposed to future culling.

Even the Government believes cattle-to-cattle transmission is the main cause of bTB. Badgers have been unnecessarily culled and scapegoated as a way of placating the farming lobby. Poor farming practices and hygiene, an extreme lack of cattle TB testing and no proper cattle movement controls are the main contributors in the spread of this disease.

After so many decades of killing badgers, isn't it about time we recognised that human errors are to blame, and we must take immediate action to stop the spread of bTB.

Few readers will have witnessed a distressed badger suffering in a cage trap waiting to be killed, as I have.

For the sake of badgers, cattle and farmers, we simply cannot see or allow a return to the culling of these wonderful animals.

Dan Sidley, Co-founder, Yorkshire Swan Rescue Hospital, Stearsby Hagg Farm, Brandsby, North Yorkshire.