WE ARE extremely disappointed that the Government has confirmed it is “strongly minded” to go ahead next year with a badger cull in England.

If it does proceed, then the plans announced in July mean that at least 70 per cent of the badger population in large areas of the country will be killed, as part of a package of measures to try to control bovine TB in cattle.

This is despite scientific studies which have shown that culling would be of little help in reducing the disease in the long-term, and could actually make things worse in some areas.

We are sympathetic to farmers struggling to cope with the effects of this disease and agree that action is needed. But action is not synonymous with culling – it can mean vaccination of badgers, increased levels of testing, improved bio-security and stricter controls on the movement of cattle.

This cull will contribute little or nothing to the long-term goal of eradicating TB nationally. Instead it will wipe out huge numbers of this much-loved species, including many animals which are healthy.

Barbara Boyce, Secretary, York & District RSPCA, Landing Lane, York.