ROCK star Brian May's charity, the Save Me Trust, has sent a letter to Natural England asking it to revoke a licence granted to cull badgers in Dorset.

It was revealed last week that Natural England was to grant a licence for a trial scheme that would see more than 600 badgers killed a year in the county until 2018.

The Save Me Trust has written to Natural England prior to taking action, requiring it to revoke the licence for Dorset as well as badger culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

The charity said: "Badgers are a protected species. Unless an exception applies, killing a badger is a criminal offence under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.

"One exception is when the badger is killed for the purpose of preventing the spread of disease, and the killer has a licence issued by Natural England.

"The Government has not sought to repeal or amend the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, so Natural England has to comply with it. 

"It justifies issuing the licences on the grounds that the cull is for the purpose of preventing the spread of bovine tuberculosis in cattle.

"The scientific consensus is that a badger cull can lead to a slight reduction in the incidence of bovine TB, but only if the cull is carried out professionally and thoroughly, using experienced field staff to trap the badgers in cages before shooting them.

"Anything less cannot be relied on to reduce the spread of bovine TB, and may well increase it, because the badgers that survive move around more and so have a greater opportunity to catch bovine TB or to pass it on."

The charity continued by saying that there was 'no rational sense' to justify the proposed cull in Dorset and it was 'therefore unlawful'.

It said: "Natural England has thus far done the Government's bidding when it comes to issuing licences. The letter from the Save Me Trust sets out the reasons why the cull as it has licenced it cannot with any confidence be said to prevent disease.

"It also sets out ways in which Natural England has failed in its duty to consult the public before issuing licences."