BADGERS have long been protected by the law but now their future is under threat.

Badgers are known to carry tuberculosis and the Government is considering a massive cull in order to prevent the spread of the disease to cattle.

The problem is that the latest scientific studies show that culling can make the problem worse as infected badgers tend to move into cleared areas. Culling can cost around three times more than the cost to farmers of dealing with infected herds. In Ireland, where culling has taken place for more than 20 years, the incidence of tuberculosis in cattle is twice as high as in the UK.

Scientists have been working on a vaccine for cattle and badgers and these should be available within a few years, so there is even less reason to start culling badgers now. Please write to your MP and ask them to keep full protection for badgers and give support to finding other ways of preventing the spread of tuberculosis.

Guy Wallbanks, Co-ordinator, York and Ryedale Friends of the Earth, Kingsway West, York.