MADAM – Recent ‘contributions’ to this 40-year fantasy debate from senior vets, The Princess Royal and former MP David Drew should have been entitled ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ – suggesting cull/gassing or vaccine magic solutions are pure nonsense.

Unsurprising that senior Cambridge vet James Wood’s knee-jerk reaction has been that of course it ‘is proven’ badgers are the problem; because the RBCT/Krebs cull achieved a 50-60 per cent reduction in cattle TB.

Absolutely wrong on both counts.

Prof./Lord Krebs 1997 Review found a circumstantial ‘link’; but carefully stated “it is not known if, how, or to what extent badgers might give cows a respiratory lung infection”.

What has been proven is that badgers are still catching TB from cows.

And if 50 per cent of the problem is due to badgers there should have been half the number of new herd breakdowns accumulated during the eight-year study in cull versus no cull areas, ie 834 vs 1,668; whereas the cull of 11,000 badgers made nil difference, 1,562 vs 1,668 new breakdowns.

Bravo to Cllr Drew, a clever wheeze to invite new shadow minister Maria Eagle to “see for herself” the Woodchester study and vaccine HQ; Labour policy is sadly now brainwashed that badger vaccines will be the answer.

But since a cull of 11,000 badgers had nil effect on cattle TB, vaccinating a few thousand will have even less effect.

Even The Princess Royal has put her foot in it.

She reckons we should eat horses and that gassing badgers is the “kindest way to cull them.”

Pity she does not know what she is talking about.

The Zuckerman 1980 review found even power gassing did not reach lethal concentrations in diffuse setts.

It is tragic that the two pilot badger culls are to be continued this autumn; a total waste of money.

M Hancox (MA Oxon)

Ex-government TB panel