Campaigners fearful of badger culling next month following leaked documents

There are concerns that thousands of badgers could be culled next month.

It's after government papers were allegedly leaked showing plans for culls in several areas across the country including Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.

Up to 2785 badgers could be culled in Derbyshire alone.

It follows a Judicial Review earlier this year which ruled that culling plans should be cancelled while the government considers how best to cull and vaccinate badgers.

Derbyshire has the largest badger vaccination programme in the country, run by the  Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.

The Trust is now concerned that a cull will result in vaccinated badgers being shot and disrupt the ability of the programme to expand.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has refused to comment on the leaked papers and says it has not issued any cull licenses this year.

The badger cull is part of DEFRA policy to reduce bovine tuberculosis in cattle. Badger culling has taken place in specifically licensed areas in an increasing number of counties since the initiative began in 2013.

Forty-three cull zones were licensed across the UK last year, with a total of  35,034 badgers killed.

Credit: PA Images

The disease control policy has been met with opposition since the beginning.

Nottingham Wildlife Trust also opposes culling, they said: "The science used to justify the killing of thousands of badgers every year in the UK is flawed. Evidence shows that bTB is primarily a cattle problem, not a wildlife one. The main route of bTB transmission in cattle is between cattle."

Tom Browning from Derbyshire Against the Cull told ITV News how his team have been campaigning to put a stop to badger culling.

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