AN East Huntspill wildlife charity has opposed government plans to tackle bovine TB by culling thousands of badgers across the country.

The Bovine TB Eradication Programme for England was unveiled on Tuesday and includes plans to introduce licensed groups of farmers and landowners to carry out controlled badger culls in areas worst affected by the disease.

Pauline Kidner, founder of Secret World Wildlife Rescue, claims Gloucestershire and Devon will be used as pilot regions where badgers will be cage trapped and shot over 150 sq km areas.

She also said plans are an “experiment”, claiming the shooting of free running badgers will be included in the programme.

She said: “Badger culling has to go on for four years to see any decline in the prevalence of the disease and, indeed, it will increase the incidence of the disease on the surrounding farms.”

Ms Kidner added: “We are fighting against ignorance, cruelty, political insanity and sadly it is the badger who yet again has to die for a crime that has been brought in to our wildlife by cattle.”

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said bovine TB is a terrible disease that has a “devastating impact” on farmers and rural communities.

She said: “Bovine TB will cost us £1billion over the next decade in England alone if we don't take more action.

“First we need to stop the disease spreading even further. Then we need to bring it under control and ultimately eradicate it.”

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