SIR – Allowing a badger cull in England is an absurd victory for prejudice over proper research.

The Government’s own Independent Scientific Group On Cattle TB concluded that killing badgers would not significantly reduce bovine TB, and could make matters worse because it causes the badgers to disperse to new areas.

The Badger Trust successfully challenged a proposed cull in Wales. Now, the Government plans to allow farmers in England to pay for their own culls in regional areas.

In terms of spreading TB, this could be even worse than a full national cull, as it makes the dispersal problem more likely. Of course, any cull is a waste of money and will mean cruel deaths for thousands of badgers.

If the Government really wants to reduce the incidence of TB – and other diseases – in farmed animals, it needs to: generally improve the animals’ living conditions, because stressed animals are more vulnerable to disease; close down overcrowded intensive farms where disease spreads rapidly; and ban long-distance transportation of animals as this can turn a small local outbreak into a national – or international – disaster.

Richard Mountford, Development Manager, Animal Aid, Bradford Street, Tonbridge