A LIBERAL Democrat Parliamentary candidate for the Cotswolds has hit out at this week’s announcement that a second badger cull is to take place in Gloucestershire.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson has written to the secretary of state for the environment calling for a halt to the cull.

This follows the announcement that Natural England had authorised the killing of up to 1,091 badgers in Gloucestershire and 785 in Somerset in an effort to halt the spread of bovine tuberculosis.

In a letter to Elizabeth Truss Cllr Hodgkinson said he recognised the disease was a problem, but did not agree culling badgers was the answer.

“The pilot cull in Gloucestershire was a disaster,” he wrote.

“It was both ineffective and inhumane.

“There was public protest, concerns over public safety, a lack of independent monitoring and no idea of badger numbers.

“Yet despite that experience the government is intent on restarting the cull.”

Calling the government’s estimate that it was costing £1,000 to kill each individual badger “ludicrous”, Cllr Hodgkinson said he believed a vaccination programme was a reasonable alternative.

“I’m very concerned that local voices in Gloucestershire are being ignored,” he said.

“The county council’s Badger Cull Task Force Report was shared with you yet the response from your department was limited to a short letter which did not fully address the real concerns raised.

“My Liberal Democrat colleagues on Gloucestershire County Council all voted to stop the cull and are opposed to a resumption of it.

“Could you please listen to and acknowledge the depth of feeling on this issue in Gloucestershire and now stop the impending cull in the county?”

The minimum number of badgers that can be killed this year has been set at 615 in Gloucestershire and 316 in Somerset.