THE second year of the badger cull is set to begin in Dorset.

Wildlife lovers are calling on people to join in a peaceful way of protest as farmers emphasise the need to cull as one of a number of measures to control the spread of bovine TB.

Last year much of the culling took place in north of the county, but Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare (DBBW)claimed this year it could also take place in parts of west Dorset.

A spokesman for Defra said Natural England is currently considering applications as part of the usual licensing process.

The four week cull began at the end of August last year, with licensed marksmen aiming to cull at least 615 badgers. 

Defra declared the first year of the four year cull a success, with 756 badgers culled. The cost to Dorset Police of policing the badger cull was £694,727.50 – or £918 per badger killed.

Around 1,000 cattle were slaughtered last year in Dorset due to the disease.

A spokesman for the NFU said: “Farmers remain plagued by the scourge of bovine TB. Our ‘toolbox’ approach includes enhanced controls on the movement of cattle, including biosecurity and reducing the incidence of cattle coming into contact with badgers. Our method of doing this is culling.”

DBBW will be walking footpaths during the cull, which they say is a law-abiding way to show opposition.

Karin Snellock of DBBW said: “It beggars belief that the government are not only continuing with this travesty of a policy for a second year in north Dorset, but are actually rolling it out to a second area. We think that farmers are being conned into believing that this cull will help, whereas independent scientists say it is more likely to do the opposite."