The Royal Society, the independent scientific academy, has expressed its concerns over the lack of suitable scientific evidence available to inform government on badger culling.

In its response to the government consultation the Royal Society recognised that, despite the best efforts of the scientific community and DEFRA, the scientific base relating to the spread of TB is limited.

“The case for badger culling is not clear cut,” said David Read, vice-president of the Royal Society.

In light of this, ministers will have to make policy decisions driven more by social, economic and political considerations rather than perfect science, he says.

“The introduction of culling could result in an increase or a decrease of bTB.

Which of these will predominate is likely to depend upon the details of the culling regime adopted,” added Prof Read.