THE Badger Trust has warned that the government is planning to cull more than 2,500 badgers in Dorset.

The trust said this year’s licence data, released by the government, shows that up to 53,234 badgers could be killed this year.

Defra figures show 2,532 badgers will be culled in Dorset.

This would take the total number of badgers killed to more than 260,000 since culling began in 2013, the trust said.

The Badger Trust said the culling was an ‘unscientific onslaught’, with badgers killed not tested for bovine TB, when cattle that are killed are tested for it.

Peter Hambly, executive director at the trust, said: “The local extinction of badgers is happening right here, right now. [The] 260,000 badgers represent over half of Britain’s badger population – there has never been an assault on nature like this over a decade in our history.

“The government won’t even test the culled badgers – they know most wouldn’t even have bTB. Every cow slaughtered has the disease, but with badgers, it’s so different.

“Even worse, as the latest study shows, any that do have bTB are 800 times more likely to have caught it from cattle.

“The same study found that transmission rates from badger to cattle is negligible. The best way to deal with bTB is through cattle-based measures – enhanced biosecurity, such as restricting cattle movements and effective cattle testing and vaccination.”