I WOULD like to inform wildlife-loving readers of the Daily Echo of the government’s plans to use Dorset as a ‘reserve’ in their planned cull of badgers.

Many may have believed the plans to slaughter thousands of badgers had been consigned to the scrapheap but this isn’t the case; it is set to begin in earnest in June, to be trialled in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

This is despite evidence that suggests the badger may not be the guilty party in spreading the horrendous disease Bovine Tuberculosis (bTb); they may well in fact be the victim and are catching TB from cattle!

Various countries around the world have a bTb problem. In New Zealand, for example, the introduced possum is blamed for its spread and in the USA deer are implicated.

We don’t have possums here in the UK but we do have deer – lots of them. So, what are we to do when this cull has proved to be ineffective? Turn the guns on them? Mice, rats, cats and birds are also thought to spread the disease – are these also next for the chop?

Jersey and the Isle of Man have no badgers but they have bTb. However, this government has a happy knack of ignoring awkward truths and reams of research from scientists and world renowned naturalists because it doesn’t want to face the prospect of yet another embarrassing u-turn and so it sees fit to ‘cleanse’ our countryside of this beautiful and iconic animal.

Indeed, environment secretary Owen Paterson has described any opposition to the slaughter as “sad sentimentality”.

Dorset prides itself on its diverse wildlife and it is a great attraction and draw to the many that holiday here. It would be a terrible, bloody stain on this county’s image if the cull was trialled here.

I’m sure the hard-pressed hotelier and caravan park trade could well do without the bad press and boycotts planned for Somerset.

I hope nature lovers countywide make their feelings known before the badger has to pay the ultimate price all for the sake of a few politicians’ pride.

LEE CONNOR, West Parley, Dorset