Your headline “3,000 badgers are culled in county” (December 19) reflects the killing of badgers which has been ordered by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and monitored by Natural England.

The report [1] is disturbing for a number of reasons.

It notes that wounding of badgers (rather than a direct kill) can result from a number of reasons, the most common being “movement of the target species simultaneously with trigger release”.

Clearly it is the badger's fault that it gets wounded!

The report continues the obfuscation by Defra scientists which they find necessary because of a lack of a proven relationship between killing badgers and consequent reductions in TB in cattle in the cull areas.

We are told that Christine Middlemass, the UK Chief Veterinary Officer, states that in two areas (not in Dorset) “the number of new confirmed bovine TB incidents has dropped by around 50 per cent.”

Yet there are 29 cull areas, so she should be admitting that in the vast majority of cull areas (27 out of 29) there is no evidence for a significant improvement in bovine TB outcomes.

Had there been further evidence to this effect, she would surely have reported it! Such manipulation of results is both unscientific and dishonest.

In one cull area of Dorset, for the three years before the cull started there was on average 15.5 per cent prevalence of TB in cattle, whereas over the two years since the cull the average figure was 19.3 per cent [2]. Rather than improving matters, the cull has resulted in almost four per cent more TB in cattle.

Such a result should tell the protagonists of badger culling that they need to reconsider their hypothesis that killing badgers results in decreases in TB in cattle. The killings must stop.

The Government does no one any favours by continuing to make misleading claims about the effectiveness of the badger cull. The general public and beef and dairy farmers deserve to be treated honestly. The Government must call a halt to the badger killing immediately and introduce a comprehensive vaccination programme.

1 Summary of badger control operations during 2018, Defra December 2018

2 Animal & Plant Health Agency, Bovine TB in Cattle 2013-17, September 2018

DR GRAHAM LAMBERT

Hillside, Gypsy Lane,

Weymouth