The country’s leading badger conservation charity has publicly rejected the dual threat of extremism by activists and what it sees as state-backed vandalism –an unscientific, counter-productive badger slaughter.

As rumours mounted that a pilot cull of thousands of badgers could start within days in parts of Gloucestershire and Somerset, the Badger Trust said it was absolutely opposed to illegal action and threats of violence against farming families. But it also described the impending cull as Government backed vandalism which flies in the face of public opinion and overwhelming and utterly persuasive independent scientific opinion.

“he Government’s own forecasts –a possible 12-16 per cent reduction over nine years--are a frank admission that slaughtering tens of thousands of badgers will barely dent, let alone solve, the bovine TB problem”, said a Trust spokesperson.