Dear editor — The advent of the recent Dairy and Livestock Event heralded a flurry of premature statements that badgers were to be killed as part of a programme to eradicate bovine TB in England.

It defies belief that an industry could be so naive as to contemplate a measure almost certain, in the judgement of scientists of world status, to make matters worse. A non-selective cull dressed up as science will be fought all the way and it should not go ahead.

And what of the farmers themselves? They are likely to be saddled with the expense and trouble of organising a massive killing programme. And what about sheep and arable farmers with no cattle? Will they have to stump up so that others could risk worsening their own predicament?

They should remember the epidemic is due to decades of stubborn resistance to proven cattle-based measures such as annual testing and movement restrictions.

The Badger Trust welcomes the current stringent controls, bringing reductions in bovine TB in Wales. Scotland is TB free without any action against badgers, and Northern Ireland has so far no intention of culling badgers.

Yet otherwise responsible farming organisations still persist in misrepresenting objectors to badger culling as merely sentimental animal lovers. These patronising comments dangerously underrate the conclusions, based on nearly £50million worth of research over nine years, of leading scientists.

David Williams Chairman, The Badger Trust.