League launches petition against the cull
The League Against Cruel Sports is asking the public to sign up to its new petition opposing the proposed badger cull in England.
The government is understood to support a cull to tackle bovine tuberculosis in cattle. Badgers are widely blamed for transmitting the disease.
The cull plans, expected to be announced by farming minister James Paice MP in the next month, are expected to allow groups of volunteers to shoot free-running badgers. This is despite evidence from research by government department Defra that culling can actually increase incidences of bovine TB.
Steve Taylor, the League's head of campaigns and communications, described the suspected plans as "ludicrous".
"For a government to even consider such a cull when their own evidence suggests it won't work is ludicrous. Furthermore, allowing gun-toting volunteers to roam the countryside taking pot-shots at wildlife just creates a new bloodsport, and the public won't be up for that," said Mr Taylor.
"It makes you wonder what their next move will be," he said. "Badger culling as a stag weekend activity?"
The League has published graphic footage of badger baiting to demonstrate to the public the cruelty to which it objects.
The petition can be found on their website.