The news that Gloucestershire is to stage a mass badger-culling trial has been met with ‘extreme sadness’ by Sir David Attenborough and Simon King OBE.

Campaigners against the culling of badgers claim the Coalition Government’s decision goes against overwhelming scientific evidence against culling as a solution to bTB in cattle.

Natural England have issued the first licence for a pilot badger cull in Gloucestershire, and plan to issue a second for Somerset shortly.

The Chairman of the Badger Trust, David Williams, stresses: “Badgers have been killed since 1975 to stop the spread of bTB and the scientific data shows, repeatedly, that it just does not work”.

Sir David Attenborough and Simon King OBE say: “We There are alternatives that could reduce bTB in badgers and cattle AND prevent the unnecessary killing and maiming of one of Britain’s best loved wild mammals”.

Chris Packham, the broadcaster and naturalist, has recently joined the Badger Trust’s campaign and says: “This is the darkest day for badgers in Britain and a shameful one for all of us.

"Britain prides itself on its excellence in the field of science and technology, and yet science is being forsaken and badgers are about to be sacrificed for no apparent sensible reason. It’s simply unforgivable.”