WILDLIFE campaigners will be coming together in Dorset to mark National Badger Day.

Anti-cull groups have said the extension of the trial scheme to Dorset this year has turned the annual event, usually a celebration, into a ‘sad occasion’.

Campaigners hope to see wildlife lovers at the protest events, which take place on Tuesday, October 6. The first will be held in Station Road car park in Sturminster Newton at 1.30pm and the second will be held in Tesco car park in Blandford at 7.30pm.

Peter Martin, chairman of the Badger Trust, will be attending.

Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare spokesman Karin Snellock said: “People can just turn up at the meeting places, after which they will be invited to walk footpaths and lanes in the cull zones to protest against the cull and look out for any wounded animals, either badgers or other creatures caught up in the crossfire. We are running these walks, known as wounded badger patrols, every evening during the cull, which still has a couple of weeks to go, and anyone is more than welcome to come along.

“There will be a choice of different lengths of walk to suit different levels of fitness and ability.

“Many ordinary people have given their time to join us, feeling as we do that the government have persisted with this extremely unpopular measure against all scientific evidence which shows it is inhumane, extortionately expensive and completely ineffective.”

Defra announced at the end of August that Natural England had granted a licence for badger culling to begin in Dorset. Licensed marksmen began shooting just days later.

It is one of a number of methods being used to control the spread of bovine TB, which the National Farmers Union says has devastated Dorset herds.