MADAM - Your headline and Comment recently in the Stroud News & Journal may give a sense of relief to those opposed to the government’s badger cull.
But make no mistake, ministers are fully intending to resume the slaughter next year.
Both Mr Paterson and Mr Eustice have drawn reference to earlier trials, where some treatment areas were estimated to have a low culling efficiency, as justification for carrying on with the current culls.
As a co-author of the scientific paper they have referred to, I have to warn that this is an entirely unjustified, indeed dangerous, position to take.
The recent shambolic pilot culls have departed so far from the scientifically controlled conditions of the previous trial, that using past results as a model to predict a beneficial outcome of the current culls frankly beggars belief.
Expert opinion believes that the protracted, poorly conducted recent culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire will have actually helped spread TB in both badgers and cattle. 
The latest research has estimated that just 5.7 per cent of cattle TB outbreaks are directly due to badgers.
The biggest problem is the spread of the disease among the cattle themselves.
There are sustainable options, such as rigorously improved cattle testing, better farm biosecurity and the development of vaccines.
Defra should focus on these and stop the misguided culling of badgers permanently.
People must lobby the government to make this happen. In this regard it should not be forgotten that Stroud’s own MP, Neil Carmichael, is a staunch supporter of badger culling. If we don’t act now thousands more badgers will be killed next year for no good at all.
Incidentally, the cost of policing the pilot culls alone could have paid for a badger vaccination programme.
Dr Chris Cheeseman Brownshill