I was horrified to hear of Defra's plans to cull untold numbers of badgers. Nothing symbolises British wildlife better than Brock, our beloved badger.

Most love our wildlife and are proud of the countryside and badgers are a supposdly protected species.

I understand that TB is an increasing problem in cattle but with no scientific evidence which identifies badgers as the cause how can slaughtering them be justified?

Of course farmers would prefer to exterminate a native species rather than addressing issues of poor animal husbandry, restricting cattle movement or expensive vaccination programmes. However to the rest of the UK population using the shy and gentle badger as a scapegoat is entirely unacceptable.

I am shocked that Defra prefers to listen to the ramblings of Prince Charles rather than the evidence that past culls have not been effective and that almost 90 per cent of badgers culled are not even infected with TB.

Respected animal groups including the RSPCA are wholly against this policy of culling - such an innocent word used to hide the brutal reality.

Why is bloodshed the first tactic employed? Killing badgers is wrong in so many ways not least that native wildlife is a key tourist attraction.

Leave this quiet, shy animal alone. What will be next - deer, otters, polecats, maybe hedgehogs? Where will the killing end? When the only creatures to grace the English countryside are farmed? When only animals which are profitable are allowed to live?

Kierti Vaidya, Apex Close, Beckenham