AN EAST Huntspill wildlife rescue charity has warned of a public outcry after the government gave permission for a badger cull in West Somerset.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson confirmed last week Natural England gave permission for two pilot badger culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire to go ahead as early as June 1.

But Secret World founder Pauline Kidner, who is also a spokesperson for the Badger Protection League (BPL), said: “I think the government has underestimated the reaction there will be when the public realise 3,000 badgers are going to be slaughtered in Somerset.

“This will include nursing mothers, leaving badger cubs to die of starvation in their homes.

“We knew the culls had only been postponed. It’s a purely political argument and there’s no science behind it.”

The Weekly News reported how Pauline was supporting on-line petition against the cull, most notably publicised by Queen guitarist Brian May, which was signed by more than 170,000 people.

But she says if the culls were deemed successful, more would be rolled out across a further ten areas in the South West, including more in Somerset, over the next four years.

A third area in Dorset is already being prepared for a possible cull, should there be problems with either of the first two.

Mr Paterson said: “This confirmation is an important step towards taking the action we need to tackle the spread of TB in wildlife.

“We are using everything at our disposal to get to grips with TB, including new tougher controls on moving cattle, increased herd testing and working to get effective vaccines ready as soon as possible.”

Pauline said the BPL has been working with the Somerset Badger Group to vaccinate badgers. They are seeking donations to allow farmers to choose to vaccinate and secure their land as a ‘no-cull zone’.

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