Farmers claim the cull is necessary to deal with bovine tuberculosis (TB) – a study found that culling badgers could reduce TB in cattle by 16%.

In 2011, 26,000 cows were slaughtered in an attempt to control TB. The planned cull could result in up to 100,000 of wild free-roaming badgers in the UK being killed off.

Professor Lord John Krebs, who carried out reviews in the 1990’s for the government advised last week that culling was “ineefective” and “not an effective policy.” He suggested developing new vaccination programmes would be more effecive in the long term.

Protesters last week in Bristol (Getty images)

Shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh said that she is firmly opposed to the cull “The Government is pressing ahead with a badger cull despite their own official advice that it will cost more than it saves, put a huge strain on the police, and will spread bovine TB in the short term as badgers are disturbed by the shooting.”

“It could lead to badgers in cull areas being wiped out totally, in contravention of the Bern Convention. Ministers should listen to the scientists and can this cull which is bad for farmers, bad for taxpayers and bad for wildlife.” she said.

Queen guitarist Brian May joined ‘Save Me’ anti-cull protesters on September 11 2012 (Getty images)

Campaigners recently lost their High Court battle to prevent the cull.

Tuberculosis is a disease that affects the lungs spread through the air in saliva through coughs and sneezes.