The government will have abandoned cattle and wildlife politically and morally if it refuses to cull badgers, according to the National Beef Association.

Jilly Greed vice chairman for the NBA in the south west of England told Farmers Weekly: “It’s not just cattle, but badgers, deer and other wildlife that will have been condemned to a cruel and wasting existence through fickle political prevarication.”

“It’s not a question of TB being out of control, it’s going beyond control.

“Almost 39% of badgers tested in the Krebs Trials had visible TB lesions but science shows twice as many will have had the disease prior to producing lesions. That means an estimated 70% to 80% of badgers are TB infected, in the worst hot spot areas in Devon,” said Mrs Greed.

“You cannot vaccinate an infected badger only healthy ones – and a credible vaccination programme for badgers will not be available for many years,” she said. 

“Very soon we will have no healthy badgers in this county which is a terrible indictment of a flawed disease control policy.

“The only route now is Brussels and the EU to find solutions to eradicate a notifiable disease, out of control in the wildlife,” she added.